278 new downtown rental units get green light from Victoria Council

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Victoria Council has given the green light to a development of 278 rental units in the downtown area.

The Denciti Development Corp. and Vancouver-based Nicola Wealth Real Estate will see two buildings on 1.5 acres lining Government, Herald and Chatham streets, at the crossroads of Chinatown, the Old Town District and the Rock Bay Innovation District.

The 196,170 square foot project will be built on nine lots, including the site of the current Fountain Tire store, two older commercial buildings and a patchwork of parking lots.

The construction is valued at $ 64 million.

Council unanimously approved a development permit with height deviations as well as an agreement with the developer to keep the units rented for 60 years.

Advisors encouraged the developer to make design changes to the buildings, which range from four to six storeys and will be built above an underground parking lot and linked together by an interior courtyard.

Mayor Lisa Helps said that 278 rental units in the downtown core “are critical… people need a place to live.

She commended the developer for taking into account staff and board recommendations after a full committee meeting in June.

“The application is more solid and better adjusted. Hopefully, between you and our staff, we can do everything we can to get the building permit in your hands, put shovels in the ground, and have these units built.

Com. Charlayne Thornton-Joe praised the developer for incorporating designs that harmonize with heritage buildings in the Chinatown area. “I think the work that has been done is very sensitive to the region. The design and the quality of the architecture are very high, ”she said. “By bringing more housing north of the downtown core, it attracts more people and more businesses, especially to Chinatown. And businesses in Chinatown could use the additional support.

Sections of the buildings, clad in different colored bricks, are designed set back from the street to provide small gathering areas. Contemporary canopies will cover the entrances to the buildings and the sidewalks surrounding the project will be covered with colored tiles.

A total of 20,000 square feet of new retail space on the ground floor will extend to all sides of the buildings.

Garry Fawley, director of Denciti Development Corp., said Thursday evening in a public hearing that the property was underutilized and in need of improvement and transformation.

He said the project would benefit the city center, where people “can both live and work”.

The plans provide for 185 underground parking spaces for residents and 23 for commercial tenants.

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