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‘This is how you revitalize’: Victoria rental towers plan called ‘spectacular’

Nearly 500 units would replace an old car dealership

A proposed downtown development of a former car dealership into nearly 500 units of rental housing is earning some praise as it works its way through the approval process with the City of Victoria.

Coun. Matt Dell posted some images of the project, which was up for discussion at council’s committee of the whole on Thursday (Dec. 7), to his X social media account, asking for feedback from people.

The proposal is for a site at Cook and Yates Streets and would include two towers of 15 and 25 storeys, fully electric, with a 4,900-square-foot plaza, plus a rooftop running track.

The account Homes For Living said it is a textbook example of breathing life into a downtown area.

“It’s always a good day when a car dealership is turned into housing,” they posted in response. “How do you revitalize a downtown core? This is how you revitalize a downtown core.”

During the meeting, council voted 9-0 at the committee level in favour of the project, with Mayor Marianne Alto calling it “spectacular,” according to Dell.

A staff report said council might want to take advantage of new provincial rules to speed up the approval process.

“Council may wish to allow this project to advance to the point of final Council consideration by waiving the formal opportunity for public comment while continuing with the practice of allowing for written comments,” the report said.

“This is my neighbourhood and I think it’s good - much better use of the property than a car dealership, and the increased density here will mean more walkable services for others in the neighbourhood like me,” said Lesli Boldt on X.

As with other recent Victoria housing proposals, there will be a variance from the normal amount of parking required for a residential building, with an emphasis on transit, car-sharing services and cycling amenities.

Not everyone was enamoured by the project, as some questioned Dell over the appearance that council “rubber stamps” all developments.

“Let me take a wild guess….very few parking spaces,” replied one person. “So all the construction people building it won’t be able to live there…as well as the disabled and elderly that depend on vehicles for their independence. But bike storage for all the young able-bodied hipsters.”

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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