The City of Victoria has greenlit the construction of three new rental towers which will bring more than 1,500 new rental units to the downtown area.
The project, launched by Starlight Developments, was first pitched in 2020 and went through a round of public hearing in February.
Approval of the project was stalled, however, when city council requested that the developer include fewer parking spaces while increasing the amount of bike parking and car share parking on site, as well as other environmentally-oriented stipulations.
Starlight pushed back against some of those requests, leading to concern about if the project would move forward.
On Thursday, Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto confirmed the project had been approved, though parking may remain an issue in the future.
The project, dubbed the “Harris Green Village” development, will include three towers along the 900 and 1000 blocks of Yates Street.
Construction of the project will unfold in three phases. The first phase was approved on Thursday after Starlight agreed to several of council’s requests, including changes to bike access, eliminating the use of natural gas as a fuel source for residential units, and creating dedicated car share parking spots.
“The current council asked for some additional changes over and above what the previous council had initiated,” said the mayor.
“Almost all of those changes were accommodated by the applicant, which I think was quite remarkable.”
One request that was not accommodated, however, was a reduction in parking.
“There was a request, essentially, for parking to be virtually eliminated in the first phase,” said Alto.
Developers pushed back on that request and the mayor says the amount of parking included in the first phase of construction is “essentially left unchanged.”
PHASES 2 AND 3
Starlight says construction of the first phase of the Harris Green Village project will begin later this year.
The first phase is located on Yates Street between Cook and Vancouver streets.
It will include 526 homes, 80 of which are reserved as “affordable suites,” and a new Market on Yates grocery store, according to Starlight.
The second and third phases of construction are located on Yates Street between Vancouver and Quadra streets.
This area will include more than 1,000 rental units, as well as a community park and 70,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
Alto says the second and third phases of construction won’t begin until the first phase is complete, which could take several years.
Before the second and third phases begin, the developers and council will have a chance to discuss design issues once again, including parking.
A rendering of the proposed development is shown:(Starlight Investment)“I think the final approval of this project really does demonstrate the remarkable commitment on the part of this council to consider what can intentionally transform the face of this city,” said Alto.
“Fifteen-hundred units of rental housing is a remarkable dedication and will have a profound and positive impact on housing availability in the city,” she said.
In total, the three towers will include more than 1,526 rental homes, including apartments and townhomes, as well as a daycare and community park.
New retail space will also be included in the development, including room for restaurants, shops and other retail services.
“Harris Green Village represents a unique opportunity to create a vibrant, urban, mixed-use community that is both diverse and inclusive,” said Shauna Dudding, executive director of developments for Starlight.
“Purpose-built rentals are a critical aspect of the revitalization of this neighbourhood and we are honoured to be an integral part of the process,” she said.