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Victoria moves ahead with seniors rental housing

Victoria council has moved forward the second phase of a seniors housing project near Royal Jubilee Hospital
Artist’s rendering of the project, which includes a five-storey building and a seven-storey building behind it. VIA MILLIKEN DEVELOPMENTS

Victoria council has moved forward the second phase of a seniors housing project near Royal Jubilee Hospital by rezoning five single-family lots to allow for a seven-storey seniors rental building.

Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning, saying it was a chance to revitalize the neighbourhood and establish a sister building to a five-storey, 167-unit assisted-living and memory-care facility currently under construction at 1900 Richmond Rd.

“This is becoming a health-care district,” said Coun. Matt Dell, noting the hospital sits just across the street from Phase 1. “And I think it’s important that this type of building, with folks who are kind of aging in place here, have close access to the hospital. So that’s the number one thing I like about it.”

Dell said he also liked the fact the 88-unit housing project comes with a $1-million community amenity contribution, $700,000 of which is to be directed to the local amenities fund and the rest to the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund.

“It will add badly needed seniors housing into a district that is densifying,” added Coun. Jeremy Caradonna. “I think it’ll pair really nicely with the Phase 1 part of this development. I think it’s going to help to create a new urban village.”

Coun. Marg Gardiner said she has heard the concerns of some neighbours who don’t like the size and scope of the project, but she noted the “grey tsunami” the province was warned about years ago is starting to turn white.

Gardiner said the impact on the neighbourhood could be mitigated by the size of the garden space, which will be publicly accessible.

The project — Phase 2 of a two-building project from Vancouver-based Milliken Developments — envisions a seven-storey rental building on Ashgrove Street for seniors to be built directly behind the Phase 1 Amica Jubilee House. Currently, the sites for the second phase are single-family homes at 1921, 1929 and 1935 Ashgrove St., as well as a duplex conversion at 1931/1933 Ashgrove St.

Milliken Developments, which is behind both projects, does not yet own the homes on Ashgrove Street, but council was assured the sales were imminent and contingent on the rezoning going forward.

Because the development company does not yet own the properties, it has been unable to approach existing tenants to consult on rehousing plans. The company has told the city it intends to reach out to tenants within a week of purchasing the homes.

The two development projects will be consolidated and the two buildings will be connected by a corridor, as well as an underground parking garage.

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