Affordable 21-storey condo building coming to downtown Victoria

Affordable 21-storey condo building coming to downtown Victoria

WATCH: Victoria City Council has approved a 21-storey condo development, that would appeal to households making below $69,000. April Lawrence reports.

Heavy equipment is making way for another condo project on Johnson Street in downtown Victoria, but with the average one-bedroom running around $400,000, for many, buying a condo is out of reach.

A college student and restaurant server, Michelle Fuller says she’ll likely have to move out of the city to buy her first home.

“The market is just so so high and is catered to people that make a lot more money than I’m ever going to, or in the near future be able to,” said Fuller.

But a decision by city council Thursday night may just change her plans.

They gave the green light to a 21-storey twin tower project slated for a parking lot in the 800-block of Yates Street.

The plan for one of the buildings is to partner with BC Housing and make the units only available to middle income earners.

To buy a one bedroom, you would have to have a household income below $69,000 a year.

Two buy a two bedroom, it would have to be under $99,000.

“It serves people working in tourism industry, it serves teachers, it serves nurses, it serves people building our city and who keep the economy going,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.

The developer is still working out the details with BC Housing, and doesn’t know what the condos would be priced at yet.

But one realtor says he’s curious to see what kind of demand there is, since it serves such a niche group of buyers

“Who have just sort of sat on the sideline because they feel they can’t afford something so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly it’s absorbed,” said Tony Zarsadias, co-owner of The Condo Group.

Some at council voiced concerns about the 21-storey height of the two buildings.

“It feels like a lot of the Vancouverization of downtown and I don’t think that’s the direction we have to go,” said Councillor Jeremy Loveday.

But Helps says it’s the only option.

“We have a very tiny handkerchief of land here in the city, 21 square kilometres, and we need to maximize the use,” she said.

Fuller says the affordable condos are something she’ll consider.

And she will have time to decide ? the condos won’t be ready for a few more years.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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