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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 04:06 PM

640 Michigan, a six-storey condo or rental proposal, is once again in the planning stages. Originally proposed in 2005/2006 and canceled after the James Bay Community Association stood against it, developer Dave Chard (Corazon, Juliet, The 834) is giving it another try.

At one point I believe the property was up for sale.

There is a community meeting for the project today at the New Horizons centre in James Bay (I think it's at the NH centre).


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#2 Caramia

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 05:23 PM

Well now we get to see what the JBN will do. Kill another entry level housing project in their neighborhood? I sure hope not.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#3 Mike K.

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:49 PM

Has anyone been told of the reaction to this project at the JBNA meeting?

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#4 Baro

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:59 PM

If it's anything like my 4 story rental, no hope in hell. Only "house like" things are allowed in james bay without massive uproar.
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#5 Barra

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 07:50 PM

This proposal was not presented to the JBNA members in June. There was a preliminary meeting between Chard and the JBNA's Development Review Committee around that time. This is not a public meeting, but is the preliminary meeting, as outlined (nay, required) in the city's CALUCs process. At that time he had only a concept, which was to provide 2 buildings, one with market rental and the other as low income housing. His plan was to have the market housing subsidize the low income housing. We told him this was an interesting concept, but could be difficult for him to finance. Said we'd be interested in finding out what he discovered once he'd done his numbers.

I am curious how you know about these meetings, since they are not public and are arranged between the developer and the Executive of the organization. Similarly, there has again been contact from Chard, who has recently asked for another meeting with the Executive of the JBNA, but a date has not been set. This has only been in the last few days. Who the heck are you that you would know that??

Apparently he still wants to include affordable housing, but some politicians (?) (we don't know who) have advised him against it. I have no idea what is going on.
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#6 G-Man

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 06:37 AM

JBNA knows more about financing projects than a developer?

#7 Barra

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:27 PM

Give me a break, here. When it comes to financing projects I know - straight from a developer who spoke at an affordable housing seminar - that it is not in their interest to build "affordable" housing since it costs more to build than they will ever get their money back. The notion of having one component of a project (market rental housing) subsidize another part of the project in order to make the latter "affordable" has not often been done.

As far as knowing about financial feasibility of projects, I have been involved in land use planning in Victoria for close to 30 years and have served several terms on the Advisory Planning Commission, as has my colleague who is the Chair of the JBNA. I have friends and colleagues who are architects and developers. For all the dissing of neighbourhood associations that goes on on this site, many of us have a pretty good grasp of how the business works. Funny how only the ones that we may disagree with gets coverage (i.e. the abysmal proposal for a Hilton Hotel on Belleville st which did not take any advantage of its site and situated the building as if it was on a highway with no view across the street) but the projects where we have fruitful discussions with developers (you can pull yourself off the floor now - I know you're killing yourselves laughing) don't get any coverage.
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#8 Holden West

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:22 PM

Here's an except from the Council minutes from Sept. 14, 2006 referring to an older proposal for the property:

Timothy Van Alstine – 640 Michigan Street Committee of the Whole Report
Council Meeting
September 14, 2006
Further to the James Bay Neighbourhood Environment Association’s (JBNEA) letter, he wanted to clarify
some items for Council. The JBNEA never accepted to ratify this application under the 1995 Density
Bonus Plan. This building is different in design and the names on the application forms are different. He
also questions the $7 million construction cost on the second application. He has taken the time to
consult and this figure is short by $6 million.
He wanted to also bring to Council’s attention the
negotiations between the JBNEA and the developer. The developer advised they would protect the
adjacent neighbours. Some changes they made were innovative. When the plan was brought back to
the community, the foot was still too large for the boot. The only consensus reached by the
neighbourhood was that something could be built there. He advised Council that the JBNEA and James
Bay community do support proposals. We support proposals that may not completely comply with
regulations but ones that were not at great odds with the neighbourhood plan. All the controversy
projects in James Bay have involved Density Bonus applications. The JBNEA wrote a letter in 1995,
actually he wrote it, to advise Council the JBNEA disagreed with the policy and that it was corrupt. Our
neighbourhood has suffered more than any other neighbourhood from this policy.
Councillor Coleman advised Council will seek advice from our solicitors as legal implications have been
raised this evening.

Sounds like more financial armchair quarterbacking.
"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

#9 gumgum

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:39 PM

What went down with this old proposal makes me think the JBNEA would prefer surface parking to actual people.

#10 Mike K.

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:47 PM

Funny how only the ones that we may disagree with gets coverage (i.e. the abysmal proposal for a Hilton Hotel on Belleville st which did not take any advantage of its site and situated the building as if it was on a highway with no view across the street) but the projects where we have fruitful discussions with developers (you can pull yourself off the floor now - I know you're killing yourselves laughing) don't get any coverage.

Unless something has completely slipped under the radar, this site covers just about every project, including:

- Municipal House

- Oswego hotel

- Townhomes at Douglas and Superior

- Vicino

- Redstone townhouses

- The Breakwater townhomes

The claim that VV cherry picks topics is getting pretty old...

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#11 Koru

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 01:22 PM

The very fact that Chard encountered resistance from the JBNA on this project is completely ridiculous and shows how out of wack this association is. Consider this ONE simple fact, the TALLEST building in greater Victoria is directly across the street and Chard's project was by no means out of wack with the neighborhood. Just like Crystalview was killed, showing JBNA has no concept of business, environmental impact or increasing the density of the neighborhood. Of all neighborhoods in Victoria, this is one that should have its density increased 10 fold as it is, next to downtown one of the most accessible neighborhoods in regards to walking and biking to downtown. I truly hope Dave gets this project through.

#12 concorde

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:54 PM

Do you know how many times I've heard that from Vancouver developers about the bureaucracy about doing business in Victoria? I remember talking to Bruno Wall (of Vancouver's 48 storey Wall Centre fame), and he got fed up with the hoops he had to junk thru and said goodbye to Victoria and promptly built three 35 storey towers in Vancouver instead.

Do you honestly think Chard is going to have any better luck?

#13 Koru

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:10 PM

Do you know how many times I've heard that from Vancouver developers about the bureaucracy about doing business in Victoria? I remember talking to Bruno Wall (of Vancouver's 48 storey Wall Centre fame), and he got fed up with the hoops he had to junk thru and said goodbye to Victoria and promptly built three 35 storey towers in Vancouver instead.

Do you honestly think Chard is going to have any better luck?


In that neighbourhood? hell no, I doubt he will, but a little wishful thinking doesn't hurt :) - Victoria has lost out on so many class act developers and developments as a result of the hoops that are required.

#14 Barra

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:54 PM

The very fact that Chard encountered resistance from the JBNA on this project is completely ridiculous and shows how out of wack this association is. Consider this ONE simple fact, the TALLEST building in greater Victoria is directly across the street and Chard's project was by no means out of wack with the neighborhood. Just like Crystalview was killed, showing JBNA has no concept of business, environmental impact or increasing the density of the neighborhood. Of all neighborhoods in Victoria, this is one that should have its density increased 10 fold as it is, next to downtown one of the most accessible neighborhoods in regards to walking and biking to downtown. I truly hope Dave gets this project through.


Not so fast, my friend! The JBNA Executive was interested in his idea of building a 14 storey building which would offset the cost of building affordable housing elsewhere on the site. He came up with this concept in response to the association's desire to have affordable family housing built in the neighbourhood. We wanted to see how he was planning to approach it. We had a second meeting scheduled where he was going to present the drawings. Then he met with the Mayor and a City Councillor, and they told him that they would not countenance the idea of 14 stories on that site, and that Chard had to come back with a lower profile proposal. So he canceled the meeting with the assoc. Executive, and has had to spend even more money on architect's drawings.

Quite frankly, there are a number of JBNA members who have sympathy for Mr. Chard, considering the number of proposals that he has come up with for the site, his willingness to present a unique approach, and a new configuration on the site. Its the elected people that have thrown the latest wrench in to the works on this site.
Pieta VanDyke

#15 AllseeingEye

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:22 PM

Have to chip in here Barra; I lived in James Bay from 2000-02 and again from 2003-07 (Goodacre Towers, both times). I remember very well the complaining and the whining and the moaning from the JBNEA virtually anytime any contemporary development whatsoever was ever presented in that community.

If it was more than 4 stories then by God it was as if Lucifer himself was returning to reign on earth insofar as that association was concerned. They seem to hate anything that doesn't resemble a rip off of a medieval castle and especially if its more than 24 feet in height. And yet just look at the ridiculous amount of space there devoted to PARKING LOTS of all things.....

I've never experienced anything like it anywhere. That group doesn't like "new". It (most certainly) doesn't like "tall". It doesn't like "modern". It doesn't like cruise ships. It doesn't like the possibility of development on that massive waste of space and asphalt known as Ogden Point. As I recall it didn't like the proposal for the Art Gallery to replace that cruddy and dilapidated motel - an eyesore if there ever was one. Since you seem to have some inside knowledge perhaps you could articulate exactly what it DOES like? You know, aside from faux pas pseudo-fake "British" imitation tudor style castles? I'd seriously like to know.

Thank goodness I am in IT - I'd hate to make a living in this town as a developer.

#16 Holden West

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:37 PM

Victoria News, Jun 21, 2006:

As council prepared for a final vote to send the project to public hearing, Coun. Dean Fortin moved to table the application for further discussion. With eight councillors at the meeting, the vote was deadlocked 4-4, effectively killing Fortin's motion. Council then voted on the initial staff recomendation to send the project to public hearing. That vote was deadlocked 4-4 as well, with councillors Fortin, Pam Madoff, Sonya Chandler and Charlayne Thornton-Joe voting against.

[...]


"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 Koru

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:51 PM

Thank you Holden, I rest my earlier point about the JBNA and the overall attitude towards this project in the past.

#18 aastra

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 09:02 AM

...Of all neighborhoods in Victoria, this is one that should have its density increased 10 fold...


It would be pretty neat to have the most densely populated district in North America right here in Victoria. Manhattan, eat your heart out. Heck, Hong Kong could eat its heart out, too.

Seriously, I think a 15% increase could conceivably be had in James Bay by putting midrise buildings and maybe a junior highrise or two on the various eligible parking lots.

#19 G-Man

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:10 PM

One thing that i have found surprising is how short a time those parking lots have been there. I mean as late as pictures from the 1960's this parking lot and the one at Menzies and Superior were houses. How did that ever get passed.

That said i think that there is room for a lot more density in James Bay. I would like to see a few more buildings in the 12 - 14 storey range but mostly in the 4 - 6 storey range.

#20 aastra

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:26 PM

Everybody likes to give James Bay heck (myself included). But when you get right down to it, James Bay demonstrates way more diversification in built form/uses than any other neighbourhood in Victoria. James Bay has highrise buildings (including Victoria's tallest), SFD neighbourhoods, cheap rental apartments, reasonably large office buildings, luxury condominiums, a commercial village, hotels and motels, the RBCM...

Although I still think the lot across from Orchard House would have been an ideal spot for a highrise a few stories shorter than Orchard House.

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