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Rentals, ‘co-living’ units in design of proposed 16-storey development in Victoria’s Harris Green

Proposal for tower at Vancouver Street and Pandora Avenue moves to public hearing, no date set yet

A proposal for a 16-storey mixed-use building that would bring rental apartments and co-living units to the border of Harris Green and North Park has been moved to a public hearing.

Townline, a Vancouver-based development company, hopes to build on two properties on the southwest corner of Vancouver Street and Pandora Avenue. The tower would have 121 rental units and almost 4,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

The proposal was moved to the public input stage at council’s Dec. 9 meeting, after city staff said they were satisfied with Townline making some minor revisions to its plan since last spring. Those revisions mainly focused on requested streetscape changes, which included certain paving patterns, street furnishings and trees, an irrigation system and utilities.

Legal agreements between the city and Townline will secure all of the residential units as rentals for the life of the building. They also ensure streetscape design would be consistent with the city’s New Town District guidelines, that improvements be done to the protected bike lane along the Vancouver Street frontage, and that a filtration system be installed in the Vancouver Street boulevard for treatment of road runoff.

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The design calls for 67 rental apartments ranging from studios to five-bedroom spaces, as well as 54 co-living units, described as a system where residents rent their bedroom, but share communal living spaces with others in a “pod.” A sample four-bedroom pod shows a large communal kitchen, a shared bathroom for two of the tenants and two bedrooms with ensuites.

“Now more than ever, people crave human connection, community and flexibility, three foundational tenets of the co-living lifestyle,” states a Townline presentation to council.

The housing model suits everyone, Townline said, but is especially appealing to younger demographics – with the developer highlighting how that age group is attracted both to co-living’s affordability compared to traditional units, and its sense of community.

The development proposes including 116 parking stalls with 100 for residents, 12 for visitors and four commercial spots. It would also have 301 bike storage spots.

No date had been set for the public hearing by the time of this writing.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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