Residential tower pitched as downtown building booms

A 12-storey residential building on Fort Street is one of the latest proposals to arrive at city hall as developers increasingly invest on the east side of downtown Victoria.

Developers Dan Robbins and Fraser McColl have submitted a rezoning application for 930 Fort St., on the block between Quadra and Vancouver streets. They hope to put up a 62-unit, strata-titled project with retail on the ground floor. The units would be rented out, not sold, Robbins said. “We intend to hold the building for the foreseeable future,” he said. “It’s just a nice asset.”

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The project is intended to dovetail with plans for bike lanes on Fort Street. The intention is that many building residents would ride bicycles or walk to work, Robbins said.

The location is two-and-a-half blocks east of Douglas Street.

Initial plans call for about 88 bike parking spots and 30 vehicle parking spaces. Details in the proposal are still being fine-tuned as the project receives initial input from the municipality.

Now a parking lot, the site is designated for housing in Victoria’s official community plan, Robbins said. The upper floor would be stepped back.

The application states that one-bedroom units would be an average of 555 square feet and two-bedroom units would average 802 square feet. The aim is to create an architecturally significant building, Robbins said, adding “design is very important to us.”

Robbins and McColl have completed other local projects, including 777 Fort St., 838 Fort St., and 844 Courtney St., as well as 10 single-family houses on Fourth Street in Sidney.

The east side of Douglas Street has been a hot construction area in recent years as rental and condominium projects go up to respond to strong demand for multi-family housing in and near downtown. More than 1,000 units are either under construction or about to be started in what is known as the Harris Green area, designated as suitable for higher-density housing.

Cranes tower in the skyline on construction sites such as the corner of Pandora Avenue and Vancouver Street, where BlueSky Properties is building a 209-unit rental development. Also in the works is 819 Yates St., where Chard Developments is building a 209-unit rental project that has been pre-sold to another investor. Chard is also putting up two towers of 21 storeys each, one with 111 condo units.

Cox Developments is putting up the 206-unit 989 on Johnson Street where condos are going into buildings with 15-storey and 17-storey towers linked by a six-storey podium. Nearby, the 88-unit Legato at 960 Yates St. is a condo project by Alpha Project Developments.

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