Victoria company plans 200 rental units in three projects

A Victoria development company is planing to build about 200 rental units in three projects at a time when the capital region’s vacancy rate is less than one per cent.

Nvision Properties already has a 95-unit building on a sloping lot at 433 Boleskine Rd. in Saanich under construction. With ground floor commercial, the Boleskine side of the project will be five storeys tall.

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Submissions have also been made for rezonings for two more proposals, each on former gas-station sites.

A proposal in Victoria for 1301 Hillside Ave. would see a 46-unit, six-storey building with a small “pocket park” facing Cook Street, Nvision development manager Adam Cooper said Tuesday.

Another plan has been submitted to the municipality of Saanich for a 78-unit, six-storey building at 3949 Shelbourne St.

For each of those projects, Nvision is waiting for a certificate of compliance from the province. Previous owners were responsible for environmental cleanup of the gas-station properties, Cooper said.

Underground development is not permitted on these sites because of past use. That is why the developer is seeking permission to have fewer than the required parking spots for those projects.

The Hillside proposal is for 25 parking stalls for tenants of one and two-bedroom units. The remaining 24 bachelor units would be for car-free residents. Extra bicycle parking is planned. The site, adjacent to the Cridge Centre for the Family, is near transit stops and close to Hillside Shopping Centre and Quadra Village.

Arched windows and brick would be part of the Hillside project’s design to reflect nearby older buildings.

On Shelbourne Street, the proposal is being geared toward students, who would be a short walk away from the University of Victoria, Cooper said.

Modular housing is being considered for those two projects, he said.

Numbers are being crunched to see what works best for the proposals.

If modular units were put in at Hillside, it would take just three to four weeks to assemble the building. They are stacked up like “Lego bricks,” Cooper said. This option would reduce construction time by about six months, leaving work such as exterior finishing, development of a small community park and a library where books could be donated and picked up.

Nvision is a sister company to Abstract Developments, which specializes in single-family and multi-family construction. Cooper said the goal is for Nvision to develop one rental unit for every housing unit built by Abstract.

Greater Victoria’s low vacancy rate has prompted a building boom in rental housing. A total of 6,000 rental units are underway or planned throughout the region in response to the strong demand.

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