Groundbreaking for 153 units of rental housing in Burnside Gorge

Construction is expected to get underway next month on a ­five-storey, 153-unit ­building in the Burnside Gorge area that Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says is needed in the city’s tight rental market.

The development at the ­corner of Gorge Road and Irma Street is expected to be ready to rent by late 2023.

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“In Victoria, three out of every five people rent their home, so enhancing the rental supply provides more housing choice and more homes for our residents,” Helps said during a groundbreaking event Friday.

“We welcome the addition of more purpose-built rental ­housing to help us to achieve our housing targets.”

The rental vacancy rate in Victoria is about 1% and ­purpose-built rental housing stock is in short supply.

The new development is aimed at middle-income ­earners, with ground-floor commercial space for a coffee shop or other retail.

It will also feature ­beehive apiaries to support ­sustainability, Modo car-share vehicles and free memberships, along with EV Level 2 charging stations.

The wood-frame building will have a public plaza, children’s play area, rooftop amenity and public art.

About half the units will be two- and three-bedrooms.

The development replaces six older single-family homes in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood.

Traffic-calming measures will be added on Irma Street, as well as connections to cycling and pedestrian pathways.

The building is a ­partnership between Vancouver-based PC Urban Properties Corp. and Fiera Real Estate, an investment fund owned by Fiera Capital Corp. and based out of Toronto.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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