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Victoria council to hear developer’s counter on Harris Green rental housing proposal

Starlight Investments project would bring 1,500 rental units and commercial space to Yates Street
A rendering of Starlight Investments’ proposed Harris Green Village redevelopment. (Rendering courtesy of Starlight Investments)

Victoria council will get an update today on changes a developer is willing to make to its proposal for a complete overhaul to a block and a half in the Harris Green neighbourhood.

This summer, council decided Starlight Investments has to meet additional requirements with their proposal, which includes 1,500 rental units along with commercial and community spaces. Those requirements include upping the number of affordable units, an increased emphasis on green space and more room for child care.

If approved, construction would be phased as it would alter the two blocks south of Yates Street, between Quadra to Cook streets, excluding the two existing residential towers there. Phase one would develop half of the 1000-block of Yates that currently houses Harris Victoria Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep lot, and phases two and three would rework the 900-block.

Starlight had originally planned for 23 affordable units and said providing the 100 that council wants to be included would put a significant burden on the project’s overall viability. Instead, its compromise is 80 units, with 64 being studios and the remaining 16 being split evenly between one- and three-bedroom units.

The updated application also commits to about one-third of all units in the 1000-block being two bedrooms or larger and no less than 300 family-sized housing spaces in phases two and three. Five per cent of all units would be accessible.

The square footage designated for child care, a part of phase one, has been increased to 450 square metres to match council’s request. That’s about two-and-a-half times the developer’s initial proposal.

Starlight has also agreed to ensure that the 900-block’s public plaza will be mostly park-like green space. That plaza will be centrally located between Yates and View streets and be at least 1,600 square metres in size.

The application has also been updated to include that the city lease a 930-square-metre indoor community space that would be accessed from the central plaza. The developer requested that this space not be used for things like medical services, temporary accommodation and food sales. Victoria staff said the proposed space being used for things like arts and culture events could be an asset.

The unfinished space would be offered to the city for no base rent, but staff noted the there would be costs coming from fitting out the space and its ongoing operation and maintenance. Starlight said that space would be provided within 10 years of phase two’s completion.

READ: Harris Green Village redevelopment could see Victoria’s highest building

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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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