Major development planned for Harris Green neighbourhood in Victoria

WatchThere are big changes on the way for Victoria's downtown core. Two blocks in the Harris Green neighbourhood could soon feature more than one-thousand new rental units, along with retail space. Some, though aren't sure the proposed changes will be good ones. Julian Kolsut reports.

Victoria’s Harris Green neighbourhood is slated for some big changes after a Toronto developer unveiled new plans to the community.

Starlight Development’s plans to clear the entire 900-block of Yates Street, along with a section of the 1000-block where Harris Victoria Chrysler sits.

In their place will be five towers in total, with 1,500 residential rental units in five towers, the tallest at 25 stories.

“We are looking at a substantial amount of purpose-built rentals units for both sites, the important part of the proposal is a half-acre of green space for the community, it will really be a signature public space,” said Starlight’s Mark Chemij.

Victoria city councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe is excited that there will be more rentals coming to the city, she was at the reveal to the community earlier this week —  she is the council liaison to Downtown Victoria Residents Association.

“1,500 rental is very very exciting, and of-course its all different sizes, to provide for families, the amenities space was something I was pleased to hear,” she said.

But there are still concerns about the project.

“Some are concerned if 25 stories is something that was supportable, some view corridors are blocking of peoples sunlight, of views…  the amount of parking, what I heard really clearly was construction fatigue in the neighbourhood,” she added.

“In the last 10-years I live in a building, and there has been buildings put up around it,” said resident Wendy Welch.

“I think the people who live in this neighbourhood are really getting construction fatigue.”

There are also worries that businesses would be forced out.

“We’ve been in the Harris Green area for 31-years,” said Rob Reid, the owner of Frontrunners.

“We really love it there, but as any business goes you don’t want to move to far from where you are. We are fortunate starlight has been accessible with discussing things with us.”

Starlight says the plans are only in the early-stages. They will be submitting more formal plans to the city in early 2020 for re-zoning.

More details on the project can be found here.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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