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Langford reaches for the sky: 18- and 24-storey condo towers being built, more are planned

“This is the only way out of the affordability crisis,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “We’re making buildings higher and housing affordable.”

Langford cut a ribbon Friday on what will be its highest buildings and a ­project that will change the skyline on the West Shore.

The Scene by Evantra Developments will have 270 condominium units in two towers — 18 and 24 storeys high — to be built over the next two years.

The concrete towers, at Peatt and Scafe roads, will be built near ­downtown where wartime houses once stood. The development clears the way for ­Langford to become a “modern city,” said Mayor Stew Young.

“It changes the skyline and it changes things for home ownership for many people,” he said. “I’ve always said this, and I’ll say it again, you can’t have a modern city with 1940s tear-down ­housing in your core.”

The two towers will be connected by a four-storey parking podium with ­commercial space, a daycare facility, yoga studio and ground-floor retail shops.

“Our developer wanted to create a mix of floor plans so people could be offered attainable housing,” said Michael Sikich, president of The Agency Real Estate Marketing Group.

“This development offers a unit mix that will appeal to first-time buyers, young families, and downsizers. It’s a good diversification of unit types.”

The Scene will have one-, one-plus-den and two-bedroom units. Penthouse suites have three bedrooms.

It features just over 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor spaces, including gardens and garden plots and gathering areas for events and social gatherings.

Young said nearly 3,000 inquiries have been made about the condominiums.

He said some units will be going for between $300,000 and $500,000, making home ownership a reality for families currently renting and priced out of the market in the capital region.

“This is the only way out of the affordability crisis,” said Young. “We’re making buildings higher and housing affordable.”

Young said the only place left in Langford to provide affordable home ownership and “vitality to our core” is through height and density, as outlined in the official community plan.

“At $1.4 million, or whatever it is now, nobody can afford a single-family home anymore.”

Two blocks away, Langford ­Gateway Developments is planning to build ­22- and 18-storey towers on land ­bordered by Arncote Avenue, Peatt and Sunderland roads.

The project envisions 269 units and a large daycare centre in the initial two towers, and two more buildings of smaller or equal heights in a future phase with about 200 units and office space.

Young said additional “land assemblies” are underway where developers are buying wartime houses near the core for future high-density developments.

The Scene will be among the first major developments using low-carbon concrete in construction, a mandate Langford council approved last year and comes into effect on June 1. Langford is the first city in Canada to adopt the bylaw.

All concrete supplied for public and private construction projects in the city that require more than 50 cubic metres of concrete will have to be produced using carbon dioxide mineralization technologies, or an equivalent that offers concrete with lower embodied carbon dioxide.

That means virtually all projects requiring concrete must use a greener form of the material. A 2,500-square-foot home with a basement, for ­example, uses about 60 cubic metres of concrete during construction.

Carbon mineralization technologies inject captured carbon dioxide into ­concrete during the mixing ­process, where it becomes permanently ­embedded, improving the concrete’s strength so less cement is needed in the mix to achieve the same performance.

Carbon is captured during the cement production process. Cement is the key ingredient in concrete and its ­production is responsible for about seven per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

— with files from Andrew Duffy

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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