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Tapestry
Uses: rental, commercial
Address: 701 Belleville Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Downtown Victoria
Storeys: 15
Tapestry is a 15-storey, 173-unit mixed-use seniors rental and condominium residence with ground floor commerc... (view full profile)
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[James Bay] Tapestry / 701 Belleville Street | Seniors condos and rentals; commercial | 15- & 4-storeys | Approved


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#21 Nparker

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 03:27 PM

...The architect for this project also designed Bayview I.

Is that meant to inspire confidence?



#22 aastra

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 04:58 PM

 

I attended the JBNA meeting last night and I was shocked to hear the positive comments in fact no one really had too much to say.

 

Funny how all of those canned concerns about height & traffic and the endless nitpicks about esthetics can just evaporate like that, hey? Every other building proposed for south downtown or James Bay near the park was way out of scale and/or totally out of place simply by default (even sight unseen), but this one doesn't raise any red flags at all. If I didn't know better I'd say it almost calls their credibility into question.


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#23 amor de cosmos

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:45 PM

You better believe it does, which is why I expect something good. I'm really tired of this idea that sensitive = crappy. The "overwhelming" thing is a canard. Good new stuff doesn't overwhelm good old stuff. Good stuff complements other good stuff.


i don't know what you're trying to say, should it be sensitive or is the 'overwhelming' thing a canard? it's just that just today I saw this clip about an addition to the oldest hospital in london



one of the first things he says is that every site has its own history no matter where it is. we can choose to ignore it but it's always there regardless. & then he says a new building should be authentically new & complement but not overwhelm the old ones. makes sense to me

whether any of that appies to this one it's too soon for me to say I just thought it looked like every new building is an opportunity for something EPIC!!! ICONIC!!! or whatever

Edited by amor de cosmos, 11 June 2015 - 06:45 PM.


#24 aastra

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:04 PM

 

one of the first things he says is that every site has its own history no matter where it is. we can choose to ignore it but it's always there regardless. & then he says a new building should be authentically new & complement but not overwhelm the old ones. makes sense to me

 

Overwhelm it... HOW? Always in Victoria you need to define your terms. Always think how, in what way, in what aspects, etc. We fretted to death that the Falls would overwhelm the Empress, even though the Empress is gigantic, in the foreground, and about the same height! What could "overwhelm" possibly mean in that context?

 

When a site has its own history... what does that MEAN? Maybe it means this: the history of the Empress Hotel, St. Ann's Academy, the Crystal Garden, etc. is all about grandeur and magnificence. These buildings were designed to impress, first and foremost. And they still do impress. Therefore, we should honour that history and complement it. Makes sense to me.

 

Enough with the weasel-words. This is a prominent site, every damn tourist who comes to Victoria will see it, it's visible from the inner harbour, it's in the close company of other landmark buildings... whatever gets built there should look like it belongs. Makes sense to me.

 

 

why does every site demand something outstanding, which I guess means something like weird shapes, loud colours, etc.

 

 

I just thought it looked like every new building is an opportunity for something EPIC!!! ICONIC!!! or whatever

 

Every major new building is an opportunity to do something great, for sure. And especially so when we're talking about the select few sites of uber-prominence, like this one, the bus station, the corner of Wharf and Government... But surely you aren't suggesting that every new building in Victoria has exercised that opportunity and realized greatness? Do we really have too much epic and iconic architecture happening right now? Too much innovative design? Too many unusual forms and shapes? I really, really don't think this is something that anyone needs to worry about. Give a bunch of ambitious architects free rein for a few decades and then we'll talk.


Edited by aastra, 11 June 2015 - 08:07 PM.

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#25 aastra

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:16 PM

I've talked about it before (many times), how many Victorians who claim to cherish and admire Victoria's historic architecture seem to actually have a very contemptuous attitude toward it. The Empress Hotel would surely wither into irrelevance in the presence of a modern condo building. EVERYBODY would loooooove the modern condo building because it would be so modern and awesome and beautiful and that ugly old dump of a hotel would be invisible beside it. No comparison. That's why we need to quarantine our historic buidings within protective zones of architectural blandness. So that they can continue to seem like they're actually decent buildings and fool those gullible tourists (meanwhile, all shrewd Victorians secretly know that the Empress Hotel and the Belmont Building and the Union Club suck donkey balls).


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#26 Nparker

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:24 PM

Well said aastra.  :thumbsup:



#27 tedward

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 08:01 AM

Funny how all of those canned concerns about height & traffic and the endless nitpicks about esthetics can just evaporate like that, hey?

 

C'mon really? We are going to go after a group when they seem to use some comon sense and do not object to a reasonable proposal?  FFS.

 

Maybe the proposed design fits fine into the location. They do not have to object for the sake of objecting so that you can vilify them for objecting to everything. :P


Scouter - Lake Side Buoy - LEGO Nut - James Bay resident

#28 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 08:37 AM

It's that forked tongue thing that I've mentioned before. It's impossible to take anyone seriously when their complaints have no consistency.

 

 

We are going to go after a group when they seem to use some comon sense and do not object to a reasonable proposal?

 

Joke, right? Has to be.


Edited by aastra, 12 June 2015 - 08:38 AM.

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#29 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:00 AM

Key criticisms from a 2007 article about the art gallery tower proposal:

 

 

Most of those who spoke at the James Bay Environmental Association’s annual general meeting Wednesday welcomed the idea of an art gallery on the site, but objected to the size of the accompanying condo tower.

Marg Gardner, secretary-treasurer of the neighbourhood group, said each floor of the high rise represents a million-dollar profit for the developer and argued that “the gallery would be paid off by the time you got to the 10th or 11th storey.”

Gardner also pointed out that the city’s bonus-density policy, which offers extra density in return for community “amenities,” does not apply to the Crystal Court property.

Longtime James Bay resident Marc Pakenham said the recent spate of tall buildings approved by Victoria council is emboldening other developers to test the limits of city policy.

“We’re now seeing the effect of the (Hudson) Bay site on Douglas Street spilling over into the James Bay neighbourhood,” Pakenham said. “This proposal is 400 per cent more than the allowable density. It is so out of character with the area that it’s in.”

Crystal Court Motel, recently purchased by Westbank, is a stone’s throw from several of the city’s most important heritage and tourist attractions – Royal B.C. Museum, Mungo Martin long house, St. Ann’s Academy, Crystal Garden, the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the provincial legislature.

“As presented we believe it will add to the congestion, with only one eastbound lane going down Belleville for access in and access out,” said Dallas Road resident Doug Craig.



#30 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:07 AM

Also from 2007:

 

 

Coun. Pam Madoff recalls conversations with Hamilton about the property when she was the councillor liaison for James Bay. "He would [say], 'Just tell me what council would support,' and I would say, 'I can't speak for council, nor can I tell you what my personal desire is.' He then asked what I would do with it and I told him, 'I would never have bought it in the first place. It is one of the most challenging sites in the city.'

 

I wonder, is the site less challenging in 2015 than it was in 2007? I await Madoff's assessment.

 

********

 

From March 12, 2008 JBNEA minutes:

 

The Belleville Street traffic study shows that Belleville is now at 60-75% capacity during peak periods.

 

(condo) Building will be less than half occupied at any point in time – hence will not enliven downtown.


Edited by aastra, 12 June 2015 - 09:12 AM.


#31 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:20 AM

So if these concerns no longer stand even though the basic concept of the current proposal hardly differs at all from the previous proposal(s), what are we to make of the concerns? Were they just so much disingenuous adversarial bull****?



#32 Rob Randall

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:25 AM

 

Also from 2007:

 

 

I wonder, is the site less challenging in 2015 than it was in 2007? I await Madoff's assessment.

 

********

 

From March 12, 2008 JBNEA minutes:

The Belleville Street traffic study shows that Belleville is now at 60-75% capacity during peak periods.

 

 

The thing is, that original proposal called for a "normalization" of that crazy intersection which would have slowed down traffic. This proposal won't.

 

However, the reason is that the Helm's Inn property will be developed eventually and the traffic pattern alteration will be moved over to that intersection. But who knows when that will happen so the JBNA should be apoplectic about this plan.



#33 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:28 AM

From July, 2008:

 

 

David Leung, a spokesman for Westbank Corporation, offered to return to the council before the end of summer with a new proposal that would take into consideration council's concerns that the project not interfere with views from the Inner Harbour or overwhelm the historic Fairmont Empress hotel and legislature building.

 

 

Staff said the building, which would rise up above distinctive heritage rooflines, would have an impact on the historic character of the Inner Harbour.

 

From later in 2008:

 

 

"I don't know what policy exists that this [building] doesn't violate," said Wayne Hollohan, of the Fairfield Community Association in an interview.

City planners, in their briefing notes to councillors, recommended an outright rejection of the proposal citing a number of issues, with the proposed height the main concern.

The building, 16 storeys in total, is designed to be 48 metres tall. This is in a location where the maximum height allowed under zoning is 21.5 metres.

 

And still more from a TC editorial in August, 2008:

 

 

Victoria council's long struggle with a succession of development proposals for the Crystal Court Motel property on Belleville Street could be ended with a couple of clear directions to the owners.

First, give up on plans for any building that looms over the legislature or the Fairmont Empress Hotel, each about 300 metres away from the property, or involves a massive structure that is out of scale for the immediate neighbourhood, which includes the Crystal Garden.

 

 

The latest instalment in the Crystal Court saga came last week, as councillors sent the company away for the fifth time with instructions to come back with a revisions to its proposals for a 16-storey condo project.

That's more than twice the height allowed for the site under current zoning and about eight metres taller than the legislature building.

 

 

Victoria's skyline, viewed from most directions, works because it has retained its distinctive character. Interesting silhouettes -- the Bay Building, historic buildings in Old Town, the Empress -- are complemented, not obscured, by newer, taller buildings.

An oversize project on the Crystal Court site would blot a critical section of the city's skyline.

Council's unwillingness to accept city planners' recommendations to reject the project invites more tinkering and a new proposal that embodies the flaws of the current plan. After council's last comments, the developer reduced the height by one storey, hardly a meaningful change.

If councillors are unwilling to make their objections clear, they are being unfair to the developer. If they are leaving the door open to a project similar in height and density, they are risking damage to the city's character.



#34 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:31 AM

Just in case any greenhorns are reading this historical stuff and assuming that I agree with the canned faux-concerns, you shouldn't be making that assumption. I'm just pointing out the inscrutable hypocrisies and inconsistencies that tend to surround such projects.


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#35 Nparker

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:47 AM

...How short will that tower be when the JBNA gets through with it?

Quoting myself - a first. Apparently height was only an issue to the JBNA folks when the design was attractive and moderately innovative. Now that it's bland and boxy, height is no longer is an issue. 


Edited by Nparker, 12 June 2015 - 10:54 AM.

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#36 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 03:45 PM

Some quick and dirty Photoshopping suggests that my biggest beef by far is with the appearance of the lowrise section. If I keep everything else exactly the same but change the face of just that long section (not the ground floor or the blank wall on the corner or anything else) then I feel much better about it. I'm actually surprised by how much it changes my perception of the entire project simply by changing the front face of those three levels.

 

I actually like the St. Ann's view of the tower a lot when I slim it down a bit. But I suspect there's no chance in a million years of that happening in real life.



#37 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 06:09 PM

I think this is why it bugs me. That long low section -- seemingly suspended as it is -- and the asymmetrical panels/windows on the tower combine to give me the impression that they were going for that modern interlocking/modular look. Architects: what's the name for that style? Where you have large rectangular forms intersecting and cubes protruding and obvious asymmetry in the details? Chard's project beside the Capitol 6 has some of the elements, too. Whatever it's called, it's everything that's good about this proposal. But it's as if they chickened out (and/or cheaped out) when it came to the front face of those three long levels, and so they ended up making them look really conventional and drab and repetitive. Maybe they're still fleshing that part out, or maybe they thought drab and conventional would be an easier sell for certain neighbourhood groups, or maybe the money just isn't there to justify jazzing up rental units (or maybe the images so far are misleading). I have no idea, but I just think it automatically looks much better if the frontage there is more like the neater elements of the tower and less like a generic motel. Others may disagree, but this is what I'm talking about:

 

Slimmer tower, setback top floor (it will never happen, I know):

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_02.jpg

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_03.jpg

 

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_05.jpg

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_07.jpg

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_08.jpg


Edited by aastra, 12 June 2015 - 07:00 PM.


#38 Nparker

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 06:20 PM

Your 3rd & 4th renderings improve it a bit aastra. I guess I still miss the glassy curves of earlier proposals. I hope this one gets out-right rejected.



#39 aastra

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 06:28 PM

The 4th one is my favourite. The lowrise section was the anonymous backup performer before but now it's the star. I actually like the whole thing after this transformation. I can accept it now. It seems more unified. Thus, I think dressing up the lowrise section somehow is the key.

 

Crystal_Court_Hypothetical_07.jpg


Edited by aastra, 12 June 2015 - 06:29 PM.


#40 LJ

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 07:35 PM

I've talked about it before (many times), how many Victorians who claim to cherish and admire Victoria's historic architecture seem to actually have a very contemptuous attitude toward it. The Empress Hotel would surely wither into irrelevance in the presence of a modern condo building. EVERYBODY would loooooove the modern condo building because it would be so modern and awesome and beautiful and that ugly old dump of a hotel would be invisible beside it. No comparison. That's why we need to quarantine our historic buidings within protective zones of architectural blandness. So that they can continue to seem like they're actually decent buildings and fool those gullible tourists (meanwhile, all shrewd Victorians secretly know that the Empress Hotel and the Belmont Building and the Union Club suck donkey balls).

Would this be a good start to ending bland architecture

 

Click on the awesome architecture storey..

 

 

http://globalnews.ca...am/news-hour-bc


Edited by LJ, 12 June 2015 - 07:38 PM.

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