A rental building atop three commercial/industrial units would replace a large parking lot in the 400-block of Esquimalt Road as part of a development to be considered by Victoria council on Thursday.
The 85-unit Aryze Development project at 480 and 492 Esquimalt Rd. would bring much-needed rental housing to Vic West, the company says.
Aryze principal Luke Mari noted the city’s own housing strategy review — which will also be considered Thursday at council’s committee of the whole meeting — notes no rental units were approved for Vic West in 2021.
“We need rental housing across the city,” he said. “We have a one per cent vacancy rate and we haven’t had a healthy vacancy rate in Victoria since 1996, when it jumped to four per cent.”
Mari noted research has shown a direct correlation between affordability and vacancy rates. “Projects like this really do advance many of the city’s housing goals.”
The six-storey project over two separate buildings was first submitted to the city last fall, but was later overhauled in response to feedback from area residents, who raised concerns about parking in the neighbourhood and how the design of the building would block the sun from neighbouring homes.
Mari said there is now more underground parking, along with parking for a vehicle-sharing service.
As for the shading concerns, Mari said in the original design, the building ran the length of the property east to west, while now it’s split into two thinner structures that run north to south, with an 18-metre gap between them to allow sunlight to pass though.
“It’s a completely new project,” Mari said.
The building will have 25 studio apartments, 30 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units with 62 parking stalls and short and long-term bike parking. There is also 13,000 square feet of commercial space at grade.
Mari said if the planets align, they may get to start on the project next summer with an 18-month buildout after that.
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