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[Downtown Victoria] View Towers | 19-storeys | Built in 1960's

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#1 2F2R

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:38 AM

Sure the View Towers gave tall buildings a black eye in Victoria - - it’s so bland and stands out so much obviously as it the only one - - how about we let four or five tall buildings go up all around it - - two or three of them taller than the VT - - insure strict architectural standards - - take the money that the new buildings “kick back” and give the View Towers a make over - - I’m sure some cleaver architects could turn the look of it around - - how about a brick covering and colored balcony facing - - heck, how about putting some vinyl siding on it - - how about some vision!



#2 Caramia

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:47 AM

Paint it a grey-blue with puffy clouds...

#3 amor de cosmos

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:00 AM

VT is big & obvious now but I think if other tall buildings went up in the area it wouldn't stick out so much imo.
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#4 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 11:02 AM

...I’m sure some cleaver architects could turn the look of it around...


Heh-heh, chop it down, cleave it in half? Just kidding, 2F2R. I think VT serves its purpose (affordable rental, for one thing), so I'm not suggesting we do that. But the typo (cleaver architect) is weirdly fascinating! :-)
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#5 2F2R

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 12:43 PM

>> (cleaver architect) <<
yes, probably a cleaver would do in Victoria but so would a CLEVER one ...

>> I think VT serves its purpose <<
I totally agree - - and we need more - - I was just trying to suggest a way to perk up the look of it - - I mean anytime anybody speaks of it - - they say it's an eye sore - - a make over could change all that.

#6 Mike K.

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 12:51 PM

The biggest hurdle to any makeover is the owners reluctance to do anything to the exterior of the building. He's still upset over having the adjacent parcel down-zoned after he secured a rezoning for a second "View Tower."

So the question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not we would have been happier with two VT's with more frequent paint jobs (afterall there's not much you can do with exposed concrete) or the current single VT with sporadic maintenance.

#7 Nparker

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 01:42 PM

Does anyone know to what earthquake standard VT was constructed? I am assuming that since it was built around 1970, that codes of the day were not so stringent as today. I am hopeful therefore, that when the "big one" hits, there is a good chance that VT will be damaged beyond repair and finally become the smouldering pile of rubble it deserves to be. All apologies to the residents who live there, and of course I will want them all to have adequate warning to vacate the structure before Mother Nature finally makes things right with this monstrosity.

#8 Rob Randall

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:09 PM

There's already a VT thread somewhere.

My building (The Mosaic) was constructed as an office building in 1963. It was five storeys, concrete construction. It was said to be the most earthquake-resistant building of the time. In 2000 it was converted to residential and seismically oufitted with a steel skeleton and a sixth floor penthouse level was added. I believe I was told in 2000 that it was somewhere around 80% of earthquake code.

#9 Phil McAvity

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 07:50 AM

I still think View Towers looks a lot better than it did about 10 years ago, before it got a makeover. Until the late '90's, it was Victoria's shining beacon of brutalism.

#10 aastra

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 06:33 PM

A brand new View Towers in Calgary called "Vantage Point." This is a textbook example of how a reasonably decent design (somewhere in the middle section there) was ultimately destroyed by the sheer width and bulk. The extreme left and right sections really give off a View Towers vibe:



picture by thivierr at flickr.com

#11 gumgum

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:15 PM

Wouldn't be such an offensive building in Calgary, seeing as it's so much more open and spread out.

#12 aastra

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:27 PM

Wouldn't that make it more offensive? That's why View Towers offends so much in Harris Green, no? Because it's flat there and there aren't other tall buildings in close proximity to VT?

I think a big wide building like that does much less harm in Calgary than in Victoria because Calgary has plenty of huge buildings. Consider this pic by eyebex at Flickr.com. That appears to be our suspect there just above the top of the skyscraper in the center of the picture. Looks pretty insignificant (taking into account the fact that it's also the furthest from the camera). Anyway, methinks Calgary can get away with a monster like that because it has so many genuine skyscrapers that are so much larger.



http://www.flickr.co...isak/574141249/

#13 aastra

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 08:23 PM

There was a fire in View Towers the other day. According to the article, there are 325 units in View Towers. So how many residents would there be? At least 500, you think?

Still, explained Matthews, firefighters are well prepared to battle highrise fires in downtown Victoria.

"We follow standard operating procedures in highrise buildings. There's no difference between a fire on the third floor and a fire on the top floor, except if you're on the third floor you might be there quicker.


Hmm. So View Towers is in downtown Victoria after all. I always suspected....

http://www.canada.co...d0-ff83a7014bb5

#14 Holden West

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:21 PM

REAL ESTATE PLUS
- TOP STOREY -
Gene Miller


Kool move made View


Times-Colonist Sep 28, 1996

Towers palatable KNOW where you live"[sic] was something you said to a friend. It suggested neighborliness, community, common ground, connection.

Now, it's your worst nightmare: some menacing hiss over the telephone, the ultimate threat that you are vulnerable in your home, exposed to predatory strangers.

For some reason - maybe because the building heads my creepy real estate list - I was put in mind of this as I regularly walked or drove past View Towers which, over the last week or two has been slowly growing a skin of cream and light green paint - the first paint ever to grace the brutal grey cement walls of this enormous apartment block in its 30-plus-year life.

The story everyone loves to tell is that the building's owner, George Mulek (recently deceased), locked horns ages ago with then- mayor Peter Pollen over the building's looks or some related concern (it was built under a federal housing program of the day), Mulek, as I remember (I met and chatted with him a few times), was taciturn, with an ice-cold demeanor, flinty, emotionally opaque. In other words, a perfect businessman. He lived in Edmonton and was rumored to own an inventory of more than 7,000 rental suites in Canada and the Southwest U.S. Under no legal obligation to paint or in other ways improve the complexion of View Towers, he left it unadorned and ugly as sin as a permanent, daily reminder to Pollen, successive mayors, and the City of Victoria. "Up yours forever," it said.

Of course, nothing lasts forever. But, if you don't get the inside story from me, you might spend the rest of your life plagued by unanswered questions, bedevilled by clueless riddles like: Did George's heart soften, did he relent in his last moments? As he heard that distant voice call: "Next," did he hope to expiate the sins of a hard life with a magnanimous gesture? Perhaps this paint job was George's way of saying: "Victoria, I have for years lessened the quality of your civic life with a meanspirited, punitive gesture. I am truly sorry. I apologize and hope you can forgive me." Or maybe: "Through my actions, hundreds and hundreds of tenants in View Towers have been given a reason to think less of their lives as they return to this ugly barracks. Where, with a simple coat of paint, I might have induced modest pride of place and shown my appreciation for the stupendous wealth their rent payments brought me, I chose selfishly and wrongly."

Is it possible that George went to the Great Landlord in the Sky hard-hearted and entirely unrepentent, and that his family - let's imagine a sweet little widow and three grown children with careers in modern dance, forest ecology and early childhood education respectively - couldn't wait to make amends; and that they, not he, made the decision to clean up the building?

Well, let's try to get inside George Mulek's head. If we put a not unreasonable market value of $50,000 per rental unit on his holdings, his real estate empire was worth $700 million. And if I'm off by a couple of hundred million, you still get the idea, the, uh, order of magnitude. George was armor-plated and bulletproof.

George was big, real big. George was royalty. George was the king.

The history of entreaty and blandishment is lengthy. Mayor after Victoria mayor, directly or through intermediaries, tried to mollify, cajole, provoke or persuade Mulek to clean up and prettify View Towers. He was even granted bonus density on the other half of the site (the vacant lot on the Fort/Quadra corner) as an incentive and inducement to dress up the building. He and the building were the objects of excoriation by politicians, the press and the public for nearly three decades. Mulek had a thick hide; the building is made of concrete. The terms of the bonus density obliged him to clean up View Towers as a condition of further development. He took the bonus density, didn't develop the corner, and did nothing to View Towers.

Do you know Art Kool? He's a full-figured little Dutchman with an addiction to schnitzels, who dresses modestly and smokes too much.

If you walked by him on the street, your first impulse might be to press a loonie into his hand with the suggestion that he get some hot food. Thing is, Art Kool is the president of First Island Financial which does a staggering volume of construction financing on and off the Island, co-owns the office towers on Fisgard that carries its logo, owns Aral Developments and Aral Construction, owns the city block that includes the Wilson Centre (downtown home of London Drugs) and, for all I know, has a controlling interest in the Hopjes candy company.

Kool, a major property owner beside View Towers, elected himself a delegation-of-one after a conversation with Mayor Bob Cross, and went to Edmonton to meet with Mulek less than two weeks before his (Mulek's) recent death. To listen to Kool tell it, the conversation was like lock-picking. Mulek's response to every argument was granitic until Kool, either by intent or inspiration, pointed out to Mulek that the appearance of View Towers, was a gigantic obstacle to other developers and area property owners wishing to create anything of value near the building. Kool recounts that only then did Mulek make a visible, emotional response.

An argument that had silently waited for almost 30 years finally found its voice, 10 days before Mulek died. George Mulek understood value.

And even if you're not religious, you might want to consider it a latter-day example of transubstantiation: when flesh became paint.

Next time you walk past View Towers, you might want to genuflect and silently praise Art Kool.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#15 aastra

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:36 PM

Interesting. So what's the deal with the first line of that?

#16 Holden West

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:41 PM

According to the article, there are 325 units in View Towers


Other sources give a figure of 357 suites.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#17 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:49 PM

^^ (@aastra): I'm guessing the "I" got cut off the start of the sentence, it should read "I know where you live", which used to be neighborly and all that and in some hard-core urban context not typically associated with Victoria means you're gonna get killed.

If you live(d) in View Towers, everyone knows where you live, I guess.

Hmm, "enormous," eh? That's just a smidgen away from "massive." Must be something about working at the T-C... ;-)
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#18 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:52 PM

Praise be to Art Kool, but I'm staggered that previous politicians never thought of making the business case to the mulish Mr. Mulek. Jeepers, that's all it took, pointing out to him that it was killing other businesses / property development potential in the vicinity? So why couldn't the politicians think of that? Is business an off-limits subject for them?
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#19 Baro

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 07:44 AM

Because the role of a victoria city official is to do everything to retard any and all growth since we're obviously far too small for it.

#20 gumgum

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 09:40 AM

Sounds like he would only listen to another fellow business-person anyway,no matter how much sense a municipal politician would make. It's a case of the medium as much as the message I'm guessing.

So who owns VT now? Has anyone approached him or her?

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