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

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#41 Bingo

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

The 18 story building has no sprinkler system. Does it need to be condemned?

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#42 Sparky

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:35 PM

^ You would be surprised as to how many older buildings in this city were built before there was a requirement to have a sprinkler system. Both highrise and 4 story.

#43 sebberry

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:39 PM

^ You would be surprised as to how many older buildings in this city were built before there was a requirement to have a sprinkler system. Both highrise and 4 story.


Can the city strong-arm older buildings into bringing them up to current code? (Install sprinklers, in-suite fire bells/sirens, etc...) or once they're built to the code of the day can they no longer be forced to upgrade?

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#44 Sparky

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:57 PM

There is a very political answer to that question Seb. A fire marshal can under the powers of the BC Fire Code direct an owner to comply with an order.

That is easier said than done. That order may need to be consistent with all buildings instead of just one, a judge may need to decide that answer.

The Victoria Fire Department has recently written a directive to remove all fire hoses within the city. Some owners are reluctant to do so. So, if you have a standpipe system and 1 1/2" hoses connected to that system......because of water pressure issues...they are required to be removed and capped off. The fire department wants to use their own hoses. When the owner has the 5 year flush and flow test performed (even with the hoses removed) and the system is deemed to not have the appropriate water pressure, thou shalt remove that 1 1/2" system and install a 4" standpipe system.

The water pressure is continually reducing due to increased building.

I appreciate that my response does not answer your question regarding increasing life safety protection, my point is that Fire Marshals do have the authority to issue an order that must be complied with.

#45 sebberry

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

That makes sense. Long story short: Don't look at the Fire Marshal the wrong way. Got it :)

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#46 Sparky

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

^ In all fairness Seb, some of us in the industry are a little confused about the requirement to remove a life safety piece of equipment.

#47 sebberry

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:26 PM

Well I can understand the removal of the hoses if the pressure tests show that they wouldn't work very well, but I'd be more worried if the Marshal was having a rough day and ordered a large building to run sprinklers to every unit.

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#48 Sparky

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:32 PM

Seb, I have not yet experienced a situation whereby any Fire Marshal or building inspector has ordered an owner to install a sprinkler system in a building that did not require such a system when the building was constructed.

#49 Nparker

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:16 PM

The 18 story building has no sprinkler system. Does it need to be condemned?


In a word, YES. View Towers should be condemned and immediately imploded; not because it doesn't have sprinklers, but because it's an aesthetically atrocious, Soviet-Russia-style monolith that since being constructed has left a 4-decade long bad taste in the mouths of locals leading to an irrational fear of all structures over 4-storeys in height.

ps: It also blocks the views of the Sooke Hills from the windows of a certain city counsellor's car as she drives around town.

#50 Sparky

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:23 PM

^ If were demolished, who is going to write the owner a cheque?

#51 Baro

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:15 AM

I'd love a crack at "fixing" view towers. Make it part of a package to develop the adjacent lot.
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#52 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:47 AM

I'd love a crack at "fixing" view towers. Make it part of a package to develop the adjacent lot.


Me too.

Take the very top floor. Make the suites awesome. Give them a dedicated laundry room.

Make the lobby and at least one elevator nice (the one that mainly only goes to top floors, if you can rig it that way).

The suites are not a bad size, but they lack dishwashers and laundry, I presume. Is there a work-around for dishwashers, so they can be installed? Laundry might be tougher.

But the top floors have killer views, surely they can be converted into suites that'll bring a good buck.

#53 Bob Fugger

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:01 AM

ps: It also blocks the views of the Sooke Hills from the windows of a certain city counsellor's car as she drives around town.


Thanks for this, I just snorted hot coffee out my nose I laughed so hard!! :D

#54 sdwright.vic

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:06 AM

Build about five more with nothing around it and you got the projects in the lower east side of NYC!
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#55 Holden West

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:09 AM

VHF, I'd be willing to bet re-plumbing VT for dishwashers and laundry and perhaps sprinklers would run into the multi-millions. The drawback is the cost would rival new construction. The flip side is you'd never get permission to build another tower so high with those views.

I've seen Soviet-era commie-blocks that are nicely decorated so I'm confident a skilled architectural team could make it the jewel of Harris Green by replacing the View parking with townhouses, recladding the exterior and developing the corner lot.

However, I know there are decent, working class folk young who are not crackheads who live there and their presence in downtown is vital to its livability.
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#56 aastra

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:52 AM

I've wasted many a spare moment wondering if it would be feasible to build less monstrous rental buildings on the various empty properties on that block and adjacent blocks, move the renters into the new units, and then demolish View Towers and replace it with a couple of condo towers and maybe another small rental building.

Even if it were feasible, I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't like the idea because a lot of people believe rental apartments for low income folks are supposed to be ugly and intimidating and unsafe and all the rest.

But it sure would be a good thing for the area and for Fort Street.

#57 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:23 AM

VHF, I'd be willing to bet re-plumbing VT for dishwashers and laundry and perhaps sprinklers would run into the multi-millions. The drawback is the cost would rival new construction. The flip side is you'd never get permission to build another tower so high with those views.


Do you think so?

Well, I'm not sure at what point of improvements the need for sprinklers kicks in. A dishwasher only needs 120v, a single hot water input tapped off the main sink line, and drains upwards into the existing sink trap or garberator. I think if you are replacing the kitchen cabinets anyway, it can be worked.

I mean, what can the cost be to completely gut a suite there?

New flooring and paint throughout, plus new cabinets and fixtures in kitchen and bath, new appliances, and maybe some nicer baseboards, cove ceilings or similar, and window treatments.

If that costs more than $20,000 for a one-bedroom suite I'd be surprised. Now if you can get an extra $400-500/mo. for that suite, the return (less than 4 years) is awesome.

Make an ultra-secure (electronic recorded entry, security cameras) laundry room with lots of top-end machines for this floor, and you might get past the objection of no ensuite laundry. I'm guessing most apartments have s x s machines, so theoretically if electric supply allows, you can double the capacity of that room with European stackers.

#58 sebberry

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:28 AM

I mean, what can the cost be to completely gut a suite there?


If the damage estimate from yesterday's fire is accurate, then about a hundred grand.

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#59 cakeman

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

While not specific to View Towers, it's apparently not as simple as just plumbing the suites themselves for these amenities. Mother in law owns a suite in the apts across from McDs in Esquimalt. As a guess the building is from the 50s or 60s, over time people have installed laundry and dishwashers in their suites. I guess last year a few people on lower floors complained of water backing up into their sinks. Next thing you know the health inspector is in, inspecting all suites and demanding everyone not just remove all this equipment, but completely remove all signs they had ever been there..

Figure it would be quite a job to upgrade a building the size of VT..

cakes..

#60 martini

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:49 PM

I got a postcard style advertisement for View Towers in my mailbox yesterday.

Has hours for showings.
Mon-Fri 9am to 8pm
Sat-Sun 9am to 5pm

*well maintained downtown hi-rise.
*sauna and hot tub
*underground parking
*free heat and hot water
*close to bus routes
*2 blocks from downtown
*affordable rents from $580
*spacious bachelor and 1 bedroom all with balconies

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