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Your Ideal New Downtown Projects


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#1 G-Man

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:16 AM

Alright for something different I thought it would be interesting to see where in and around downtown forumers would like to see a new project. Here are the rules:

- Use google streetview to show the lot by link in your post
- Give a brief description of what you would like to see there
- Let us know why you think it will either improve the urban fabric of downtown or spur more development nearby
- Lot should be downtown or close to downtown
- No more than three

Here are mine:

Johnson and Quadra - North West corner

http://maps.google.c...315.29,,0,-1.12

I would like to see a 8 - 10 storey building here ala Juliet (corner emphasis). I don't think another 14 or so storey tower would look good along this street so something lower would be in order. Something taller would be alright too but I would doubt it would have any chance of passing given the proximity of the church.

I think this would hopefully encourage some work in the next east on Johnson and across the street. It would also provide som emore density to support the improving shopping area along Yates. I would expect perhaps one commercial space along Quadra but only ground floor townhouses along Johnson.

Chatham and Douglas - South West corner

http://maps.google.c...228.03,,0,-1.82

This lot is a real gateway location to downtown and it is currently very underused. I would be happy to see a new hotel go into this location or a combo of hotel and residential. Ground floor commercial along Douglas would be needed not so sure about Chatham. Due to the location something in the 14 - 20 storey range would be needed here.

This would solidify the move of direction North and would be in keeping with the new downtown plan approved a couple of years ago. Currently there is a real feeling of the end of downtown as you hit Herald and this would really shift that North a block.

Herald and Store - South East corner

http://maps.google.c...42.52,,0,-10.35

This parking lot really destroys what could be a vibrant area with the shopping along herald and store currently. A four or five storey building in the style of oldtown like the project planned for Herald and Government with ground floor commercial on both sides would improve this area of town which is doing its best depite being absolutely flooded with parking lots.

One could hope that this would be the catalyst for some major improvements to the design district and Chinatown.

#2 Holden West

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:12 AM

North-east corner of Cook and Johnson.

Technically a few steps from Harris Green and therefore subject to stricter height and density rules.

Five or six story medical office building with ground floor commercial (not necessarily retail). Terraced down toward the low-rise residential on Johnson.

Douglas and Hillside (Petrocan station)

Spectacular signature building at the entrance to downtown. Wedge-shaped; glassy. five to eight story office or residential. Bus depot on ground floor?
"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

#3 G-Man

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:39 AM

Douglas and Hillside (Petrocan station)

Spectacular signature building at the entrance to downtown. Wedge-shaped; glassy. five to eight story office or residential. Bus depot on ground floor?[/QUOTE]

Ooohh I like it. That would be an awesome addition. Office would be my preference there rather than bus depot but I could see how a depot could work especially for busses coming in and out of the lot.

#4 Holden West

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:51 AM

A depot has to go somewhere and I don't know if retail would work out there in no-mans-land. Office could go above the depot.
"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

#5 G-Man

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:57 AM

Retail could work depending on what happened to the street scape between there and Bay Street.

One of my concerns for the bus depot idea is that the site is just too small. Unless you combined some other lots to the south.

The best spot for a Bus depot remains the vacant lot across from the Times Colonist.

My second facourite option would be on top of the current BC transit yard. Since the yard is quite a bit below grade you build a ground level bus depot above it and it would be a good cost recovery mechanism for BC transit. It doesn't change the use of the area. And it would put a potentially nice building on top of a current blight.

#6 gumgum

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:11 PM

Anybody else find it strange that the Capital Iron people don't sell at least a portion of this gold mine? I'm sure having free parking provides a lot of business, but if they sold off a portion, I'm sure it would be worth it.

#7 G-Man

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:16 PM

No kidding especially considering that they have more parking down below that could be easily improved to allow for more spaces.

#8 Holden West

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 06:43 PM

Look down Pembroke from Store.

The makings of a great urban experience are here.

Can you imagine cafes, condos, funky shops, pedestrians? I can.

The new Knappet building beside the Steels lot is a great beginning. The old Kayak store on the corner was supposed to be finished by now. That will look great too. The BC Hydro lands have great potential.
"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 Holden West

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 06:51 PM

Herald and Store - South East corner

http://maps.google.c...42.52,,0,-10.35


This part of town is mind-boggling. Look at it on Bing.com.

There are six blocks in a row--most of which are derelict, begging for development, starting from the south:


  • The Bambu lot, proposal pending
  • The old Clicks Furniture building and lots. That's basically half of Chinatown right there.
  • The Chatham/Store parking lot. Lots of space near cool buildings like 555 Chatham and the old Leiser building.
  • The massive parking lot between Capitol Iron and Marks Workwear. An entire half block.
  • The Steels lot mentioned above, between Chatham and Pembroke. The bus depot was proposed here once.
  • The BC Hydro lot mentioned previously.

"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

#10 gumgum

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:16 PM

Filled out how much would the population grow in Chinatown and the Design District alone?

I really have no idea.

I suppose being that it's part/ close to Olde Town, there'd never be a tower around here. But you could see some significant density.

#11 G-Man

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:25 PM

I think I would prefer this whole area be in the 4 and 5 storey range but with zero setbacks. Still filled out I would expect it could have 2000 people at least.

#12 Dylan Leblanc

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:51 PM

You can link to the birds-eye-view page on Bing.com by clicking on the email icon at the bottom right of the pages and copying the link that comes up.

Here's the location you guys are talking about - http://www.bing.com/...e1=Victoria, BC

#13 Caramia

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:45 AM

1. The Bambu lot. With something shorter near Swans and to scale with the rest of the neighbourhood. Maybe do a sort of Dragon Alley live work type thing.

2. The Centienial Square Central Library.

2-5. A new, young and bohemian infill district between Government & Store North of Chinatown and slowly spreading around Rock Bay. Start along that row of surface parking lots from Clicks to the Capitol Iron parking lot, and then up Pembroke & Discovery Streets (preserving the old BC Hydro building.) Mid rise flexible, utilitarian, live work housing units with retail/industrial/studio space on the ground floor, in a modern style that references the barn roofs and other features of the older industrial buildings. Mix these with preserved brick buildings where possible. Price to attract a younger, more urban demographic who are more likely to celebrate the area as a Brewery District, made edgy and authentic by the great view of the working harbour.

Make the interiors innovative, to meet the needs of a city with a lower end rental housing crises, multiple universities and colleges, and a service economy. Create something where floorspace can easily be converted, perhaps with movable wall technology, perhaps only with lock off suites, into either a cluster housing model where several people share common space, to family space that is more enclosed and protected, to single apartments with a suite. These spaces could be bought or rented, or both, and would be perfect for students, working class singles, young renters, and artists.

Pay could be scaled by square foot, number of utilities. and windows, as well as floor. Price the bottom end dirt cheap - like $300 a month for a shared toilet and a bedroom big enough for a single mattress adjacent a communal kitchen and media room. Price the top end fairly pricey - penthouse with space for it's own yoga studio... Make the working harbour a feature. Make it so that no matter what fortune tosses at the residents, they can still make a go of it in the community. Then, hunker down for the recession. By the time the next economic swing happens it will be the Bohemia of the future, ripe for gentrification.

This is a fantasy thread, right?
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

#14 aastra

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:52 AM

Sometimes I think south downtown is pretty much fully built out as far as large residential or hotel projects are concerned...and then I look at the Chateau Victoria's block. Erase everything but the Falls and the Greek restaurant, run a mid-block lane between Burdett and Courtney, and fill up the empty space with a highrise hotel tower, a highrise condo tower, a midrise office block, and a midrise condo building. Put the towers on the higher ground closer to Blanshard to take advantage of the views. Shared underground parking = fewer vehicle entrances. Put the office block on the parking lot behind the Falls.

#15 aastra

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 01:15 AM

The courthouse. Erase everything, then run a mid-block lane between Burdett and Courtney so that the new courthouse occupies two-thirds of the property (facing toward Blanshard) and midrise residential occupies the remaining third (facing toward the lawn at the back).

The new courthouse would be only slightly taller than the existing building, but a minimal setback on the upper floors would translate into a significant increase in floor space.

#16 gumgum

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:08 AM

The Y building. It is an notoriously poorly design building. Much of the interior space is unused, or completely underutilized.
Rumour has it that they'd like to develop - I'm guessing some sort of condo/ office above and the Y facilities below - but their hands are tied because of the cathedral. They are unable to build any higher than four stories, which would make any updates unfeasible. So instead they are stuck with an outdated piece of junk.

#17 aastra

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 09:36 AM

...but their hands are tied because of the cathedral. They are unable to build any higher than four stories...


How would that work exactly? On the day the new 5-story building opens would the cathedral rise up from its own foundation, turn into some sort of gigantic stone Transformer, and stomp on the new place?

Just imagine what Victoria would look like if the "no large buildings near churches" rule had been in place 100 years ago.

#18 Baro

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:19 AM

I can almost sort of barely understand 4 stories on the street next to the cathedral, but that's a big lot and you could probably go 8-10 stories on the west side without it even being seen from the east (not that seeing a BUILDING in a city is a bad thing).

Imagine a cool building that steps up from east to west ever floor or two with awesome rooftop gardens on each terrace. Could have the first couple floors be Y stuff, 4 office floors, and the rest housing. Lots of green space already in the area with the little cemetery/park and the big lawn behind the courthouse.
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#19 Rob Randall

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:31 AM

I believe the number is 300 feet from a spire or clock tower. For instance you can see how the City Hall clock tower exclusion zone (dashed arc) barely clips the south tower from this drawing of the Centro project.

By my rough calculations, you could have height on the west side of the YMCA lot near the parking, but this lot is a block away from Downtown in Fairfield so their stricter height guidelines come into play.

But I agree I would love to see a new Y. They are a vital part of Downtown and serve as the de facto community rec centre, not just for Downtown residents but for James Bay and Fairfield, too. The Crystal Pool is the only other nearby resource and of course it is on its last legs.

#20 jklymak

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:17 PM

^ Seems a variance could be made. The church is unobstructed on Courtney, so sure you dont' want something tall right against the sidewalk there. But do pedestrians on Broughton really have a view of the church at all? Seems to me something terraced with height on the West side would be a net gain for Fairfield and DT if it meant a much better Y.

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