‘The more building, the better:’ Victoria council approve 162-unit rental building for Harris Green neighbourhood

WatchA new six-story rental building has been given the green light by Victoria council. While most are happy with more housing, downtown parking may become a bigger challenge.

A purpose-built rental building is coming to downtown Victoria.

Victoria city council on Thursday unanimously approved the development of a six-story, rental-only building for the corner of View and Vancouver streets.

Developed by J. Gordon Enterprises, the building will add 163 units — studio, one-bedroom units as well as 36 two-bedroom and three-bedroom units — of much-needed rental housing to the city’s downtown once completed.

“We’ve got a huge shortage of rental housing,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “This is 160 new units of rental housing, right in the downtown. So, that’s very exciting.”

The dog-friendly building also includes more than 200 spots for biking storage, a car share membership for every unit and a rooftop putting green. There are also plans for 30 residential parking spots.

During Thursday’s council meeting, a representative from J. Gordon Enterprises labelled the development as a rejuvenation project for the area.

However, nearby business owners and neighbours have voiced their concern about the lack of residential parking spots in the building plan.

One nearby barbershop owner told CHEK News that many of his clients already have issues finding parking in the area and believes the lack of residential parking spots will result in homeowners and their guests being forced to park on the street.

Another business owner voiced a similar concern but says overall he’s happy with the project moving forward.

“I know there will be issues, obviously with parking and stuff like that,” said Nick Walker, co-owner of Frontrunners. “But we have a lot of staff who want to live in this area, don’t have a car, so it’s kind of an ideal situation for them.”

As for solutions to the parking dilemma, Helps says it’s not in the city’s vision.

“We’re not going to build any more parking in the city,” said Helps. “This building is here for the next hundred years. I know it’s very hard for people to imagine right now but a hundred years from now the way people move around cities is going to be very different.”

The development at Vancouver and View is the latest in a series of projects set to transform the landscape of downtown Victoria.

A proposal for a 10-story office building to replace Capitol 6 theatre is gaining steam, and a 20-story hotel is set to begin construction at the corner of Fort and Blanshard streets.

Helps says housing, however, remains her top priority when it comes to development projects.

“There’s a massive housing shortage,” said Helps. We saw over 6,000 new residents come into Victoria in the last five years in the census data released last week. Even before that census data, we already had between 4,500 and 6,300 units short, so the more building, the better in my opinion.”

The purpose-built rental project is expected to be completed by late 2023, according to the developer.

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Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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