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CANCELLED
Johnson Street Gateway
Uses: condo, commercial
Address: 1314-1324 Wharf Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Downtown Victoria
Storeys: 8
Condo units: 103 (studio/bachelor, 1BR, 2BR, 3BR, penthouse, live-work)
Sales status: in planning
The eight-storey Johnson Street Gateway/Northern Junk condominium and ground floor commercial development is c... (view full profile)
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[Downtown Victoria] Johnson Street Gateway (Northern Junk) | condos; commercial | 7-storeys | Cancelled in 2019

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#81 jklymak

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:12 PM

I'd prefer to see it more vertical, which given the height restrictions, maybe means making it look more like three separate elements. The current fatscraper, mono-balcony design is just not very appealing to me.

#82 aastra

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:15 PM

...questioning this development on the basis of traffic is ridiculous. It's 48 units! In a city! Please!

For purposes of comparison, the Leiser Building contains 32 units and Mermaid Wharf contains 98 units. Has anybody ever worried about the impact of either of those buildings on traffic levels? I seriously doubt it.

I'm reminded of concerns about increased traffic levels related to the Bay redevelopment. Everyone seemed to forget that the Bay was a large department store before it was abandoned. In other words, there was plenty of traffic coming and going from the Bay site before it was converted to residential. Victorians took it for granted. So why would we be worried about traffic levels after the conversion to residential?

Same thing for the Northern Junk site. Back in the day there were a few commercial buildings along there. No doubt there was traffic related to those commercial enterprises. Then some of the commercial buildings were torn down and surface parking was introduced. How many spaces are there right now? Thirty? Maybe a few more? I've never heard anybody complain about traffic to and from the surface parking. If the surface parking gets replaced by a small residential building then why should there necessarily be an increase in traffic at all, never mind an increase significant enough to justify concern?

#83 aastra

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:18 PM

The current fatscraper, mono-balcony design is just not very appealing to me.


I agree about the balconies, on the side facing the city. On the side facing the water I can live with them.

#84 aastra

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:24 PM

I just read that letter.

Both visitors to the city and residents appreciate the character and livability of the neighbourhood and the breathing space offered by the open area around the Northern Junk buildings.

Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz12gHJqeJu


Breathing space? There's so much spin in that, it actually makes me feel dizzy.

#85 Barra

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:06 AM

Yesterday I drove in to town across the blue bridge, turning right towards James Bay. I tried picturing how the experience would change, knowing where the proposed building would be. It would be very close to me on the right, and I realized that there currently is a view right down Wharf St. as you go around the corner. It would be lost until you'd actually merged with the Wharf St. traffic. The Official Community Plan talks about the importance of maintaining view corridors in the old town (views to the harbour that is). This project would significantly cut off views down along Johnston St as well as along Wharf.
Pieta VanDyke

#86 jklymak

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:24 AM

^ I am not sure I buy this. From Johnson you can see some trees where this building would stand, but no grand vistas or view corridor. The plan would not block the view of the bridge (which will be torn down by the city anyways, so who cares.) Coming East across the bridge, this would block the view of the Salvation Army. Yes there is 1/2 a block where car drivers would not be able to see as far down Wharf street, but surely we are not preserving peripheral views for people's pleasure during the 1.5 s they zip through this gap while driving in their cars?

#87 Bernard

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:30 AM

Why does it matter how far drivers can see down Wharf Street? That strikes me as not relevant to anything. People coming off of the bridge have a merge lane on Wharf street

#88 aastra

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:43 AM

...but surely we are not preserving peripheral views for people's pleasure during the 1.5 s they zip through this gap while driving in their cars?

Victorians always seem to be more worried about the view from their cars than the view from the sidewalk. Methinks that's why people always talk about views being blocked whenever a new building goes up, even though the new building usually includes ample walking paths and public spaces on the side where the view is. What they mean is, the view is blocked from the road.

It's like complaining that the Wax Museum's building blocks views from Belleville Street. It's true, it does. But who cares? If you want to enjoy the view go walk around to the other side.

#89 aastra

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

The Atrium Building blocks views for motorists turning right from Yates onto Blanshard.

#90 AllseeingEye

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:54 AM

Sigh....and per my earlier comments on this thread: only in Victoria could a proposal like this cause such a rancorous debate.

Who cares about a Wharf Street view corridor? Its not like this a proposal for a 50-storey skyscraper for heaven's sake. Given that we have an entire area of the city of "North" Victoria from roughly the Northern Junk location down Store Street and into Rock Bay that is literally falling APART: crummy, crappy, and in many instances useless old buildings practically falling down in many areas; underdeveloped sites "everywhere" and even off Government Street some side streets that have quite literally reverted to grass fields, do even the NIMBY's not see this? Or do they somehow equate the terms old and crappy and eyesore, with "heritage?"

Along comes a proposal that would significantly improve this sad sack area and, as usual, this crowd emerges yet again to moan about height (its FIVE stories...are you kidding me?!); and 'view corridors'....

Fine, lets kill off this idea, along with anything else "new" or "tall" - five storey's...god lord give us a flippin' break.....so that this moldering falling down section of the city can continue to fester and disintigrate; then as is the norm here about 30 years will elapse so that a future City Hall administration can put together a committee to 'study' the problem. After all 'studying the problem' is what this town does best. Its not like any ACTION ever results. Wow.

#91 gumgum

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:38 AM

I see a greater need here that trumps any concern over height, fit or views. It's a great concern of mine and it should be more of a concern to others. Of course I want a building that looks good, but untimately the greatest need downtown has is a need for more residents. If we increased the population in the core by five fold, or even ten fold, many of the concerns associated with downtown today would deflate significantly.
I'm not going to get into a rant about the benefits of density. I just want to say that people have to live somewhere. I would just like others to see the benefits of such projects, as well as the potential drawbacks.

#92 jklymak

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:12 PM

^ I agree for the most part. However, I don't believe you will quintuple the density just by building a bunch of buildings willy-nilly. You have to cultivate the growth so that it is attractive to a wider crosssection of the public.

#93 gumgum

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 01:24 PM

^ I agree for the most part. However, I don't believe you will quintuple the density just by building a bunch of buildings willy-nilly. You have to cultivate the growth so that it is attractive to a wider crosssection of the public.


Yes. But how do you cultivate growth? Isn't it through growth? Doesn't every example of infill provide just another example to the masses as to how density is a good thing? A lot of people hate the Humbolt valley, but I hear many times about the advantages it has provided. The more of the same, the more people will be convinced.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by willy-nilly. There's always an element of randomness in growth. Properties come up for sale and opportunities arise randomly. It's how the masses react to these opportunities that's important.

One of the most significant obstacles facing units actually getting built is lack of popularity with these buildings.
Every damn time a building is proposed, people line up to add to the list of grievances they will have with it. Those negative nellies should at least think long and hard as to what the advantages might be. And weight that against the drawbacks.

There should always be room for criticism with regards to a new project; but so many times instead the criticisms, they are thin veils for reasons why a project should not happen at all.
And until the general populous comes around, our Council will mostly base their decision on what their voters want, or don't want.

#94 jonny

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 02:28 PM

I gotta chuckle at a certain demographic of folks somehow turning this into a bad thing for this part of town. Let's see, we have a parking lot, two tiny abandoned buildings, a thrift store across the street, homeless people drinking malt liquor and smoking crack under trees while propped up next to their shopping carts and building a nice looking little five story building on a prime piece of real estate is a bad thing? Really?

Now if only there was a proposal to do something with that derelict building and surface parking lot across from Swan's!

#95 jklymak

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 03:41 PM

I'm not quite sure what you mean by willy-nilly. There's always an element of randomness in growth. Properties come up for sale and opportunities arise randomly. It's how the masses react to these opportunities that's important.

One of the most significant obstacles facing units actually getting built is lack of popularity with these buildings.

There should always be room for criticism with regards to a new project; but so many times instead the criticisms, they are thin veils for reasons why a project should not happen at all.
And until the general populous comes around, our Council will mostly base their decision on what their voters want, or don't want.


Again, I agree with most of this. By "willy nilly" I mean that 12 new View Towers is not going to make anything better, and just will convince people that downtown is not somewhere they want to live. Thats an example by absurdity, but there is a continuum. The inner harbour is a huge amenity for people living downtown, and I would argue that we can't put any old thing along it in the name of increasing density.

So yeah, I agree that the negative nellies who think this will crush views or create gridlock are grabbing at straws for reasons I can't begin to fathom. However, this is a high quality spot, and I hope to see a top-notch building on it. Which, by the way, would be a welcome change for the inner harbour, which has seen more than its share of eyesores in the last 40 years.

#96 gumgum

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:23 PM

I have to admit, I am not drooling over this project. But I am learning that the more I drool over a proposal, the less likely it is to get built.
I think it's a decent enough project that ticks all the boxes.
My image of what should go there is much different.

However, what is the developer to do?

Make it taller so it will be skinner and block less of the harbour? Hell no. Would never be approved.

Make it a top notch building at current height restrictions? There's no market for high end living right now. Not to mention all those people that would scream bloody murder about the fact that it would be only for the rich.

Upon reflection, I think this current proposal needs some work. But I think it's workable.
In the end I guess Madoff is right in that respect.

#97 Bingo

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:48 PM

I suppose that now that the city is ramming through the new bridge, it is a signal for all the developers to get on board with destroying what is left of the old town atmosphere.

Where is Sam Bawlf when we need him?

#98 Baro

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:05 PM

Won't someone think of our historic parking lots...
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#99 gumgum

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 08:01 PM

I suppose that now that the city is ramming through the new bridge, it is a signal for all the developers to get on board with destroying what is left of the old town atmosphere.

Where is Sam Bawlf when we need him?


What does this even mean?

Should we let Northern Junk to crumble? Do nothing and that's what will happen.

#100 jonny

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:24 PM

Won't someone think of our historic parking lots...


What about the ambiance of the historic traffic median???

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