IN APRIL 2018, NVision Properties initially proposed a 9-storey purpose-built rental complex with ground floor retail space along at 1010 Fort Street in downtown Victoria’s Harris Green neighbourhood. It provided for 55 units with 10 affordable ones and zero parking. Complaints about density, set backs (lack thereof) and parking were heard and City council rejected the application in October 2018.
The developer returned with a building of slightly less density and 7 parking stalls, but building height increased to 13 storeys. The staff report from June 2020 noted, “the subject site is not suitable for a taller building due to its size and context.” It also stated the proposal lacked a cohesive design and failed to enhance Fort Street through “high-quality architecture, landscape and urban design responsive to its historic context through sensitive and innovative interventions.” Staff recommended land assembly with adjacent properties to enable the best realization of development potential for the site.
The Downtown Residents Association’s Land Use Committee stated in a June 2020 letter to the City that, “While a land assembly would improve the development potential for this site, the building form and character as submitted would still not respond to the context of the Fort Street Heritage Corridor. As stated in the OCP (DPA 7B Corridors Heritage) the designation includes the objective of ‘high quality architecture, landscape and urban design responsive to its historic context through sensitive and innovative interventions’. The evolution of this application highlights the deficiencies in policy to ensure sensitive integration of new development along the Fort Street Heritage Corridor. This application reminds us of the imperative to complete the update to the Downtown Core Area Plan in a timely manner.”
At the June 25, 2020 meeting of the Committee of the Whole, council voted unanimously to decline moving the proposal to public hearing.
It might be back in some revised form. According to one news report, the developer will likely build a four-story market condominium that would fit with existing zoning.