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[Downtown Victoria] The Cosmopolitan | Rental, commercial | 5-storeys | Canceled

Rental Commercial

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#1 Rob Randall

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:10 AM

Rental apartments proposed for lower Fort Street

By Robert Randall • Published on Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Local businessman Jurgen Weyand is seeking permission from City Hall to demolish a pair of vintage commercial buildings in Victoria’s Old Town in order to make way for a new low-rise mixed-use project.

The old buildings, in the 600 block of Fort Street between Broad and Government across from the Bay Centre, have been a fixture for many years although they are architecturally unremarkable and have not been deemed worthy of a Heritage plaque.

The proposed replacement building would feature ground floor retail topped with four storeys of residential market-priced apartments. Weyand plans to call it The Cosmopolitan, or The Cosmo for short. The rear of the building will butt against David Chard’s Sovereign condo project over on Broughton Street.

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#2 ryleyb

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:16 AM

Excellent, right beside the Sovereign!

#3 Nparker

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:10 AM

I wish the developer luck with this. He's going to need it to get this "skyscraper" (lol) built in this area. That being said The Sovereign did get approved so I suppose anything is possible.

My one beef: calling a 5-story rental building "Cosmopolitan" seems a bit ironic, but perhaps that's what passes for "a city of the universe" here in BANANA town.

#4 Baro

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:21 AM

Replacing 2 story with 5 story should be a density improvement, but I really hope the architecture is worthy of the area. I think our obsession with large balconies holds back a lot of urban architecture in this situation. Europe has mastered the 5-8 story zero-setback apartment and I'd love to see something truly cosmopolitan.
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#5 LJ

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:28 PM

Mastered like this?


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#6 G-Man

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 07:44 PM

Are you suggesting that building is indicative of 5 - 8 storey European buildings?

#7 aastra

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:32 AM

Show me a building from Europe that doesn't look like that.

#8 G-Man

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:44 AM

Good point.

#9 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:59 AM

I was at the presentation last night.

The proposal is technically '6' storeys, due to the fact that the commercial floor is 25 feet tall (this height was utilized as it matches the podium height of the Sovereign. So there is potential second floor or mezzanine level that could occupy the upper part of the commercial space, but residential won't begin until the 'third' floor.

The proposed building height would make it almost as tall as the adjacent Yarrow Building (one of my Old Town favourites).

All of the residential suites would face north or south and would feature floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize light penetration. Each suite would be about 350-450 sq. feet in size and there would be a single larger suite for the live-in caretaker.

#10 aastra

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:43 PM

25 feet? Is that right? Normally I complain about how the ground floors of new buildings are too short but I sure can't say that in this instance.

Wouldn't that be the tallest ground floor around there? I suppose the ground floor of the Munro's Books building is probably about that same height, but I doubt there are too many others.

#11 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:04 PM

As the developer put it, that extra-tall commercial/mezzanine level is the only reason why they are requesting a zoning variance (for extra height). They obviously don't want their lowest residential floor to face a blank concrete wall (for the south-facing units). And they need a minimum of 4 residential floors to meet CMHC insurance requirements for mixed-use rental buildings (i.e. commercial cannot exceed 20% of building).

#12 D.L.

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:28 PM

Here is the design so far. The developer stresses that this design is very preliminary and is subject to change.

One of the issues the developer and architect (Chow Low Hammond Architects) have to deal with at this site is the 25 foot podium of the upcoming Sovereign project on Broughton Street. This project backs onto the podium of the Sovereign, which is windowless and will be built right on the lot line.

To obtain a CMHC approved mortgage to built commercial space along with rental units, the building will need to have (a maximum, I think) 20% of commercial space and 80% residential space.

To do this, one floor of commercial space and four floors of residential space would give the 20/80 split, but if the first floor were average height (say 10 to 15 feet) then the second floor (with it's apartments) would look directly across to the concrete wall podium of the Sovereign, which wouldn't be a very nice situation. The developer wishes to put in an extra high first floor so that the second floor apartments will begin at a height above the podium of the Sovereign.

The setback on the Fort Street side of the building may be removed (I think this was suggested by the City to match existing Old Town building forms), and the setback on the back of the building increased (starting at the second floor) to distance it from the Sovereign.



In this rendering, the white block on top of the building is actually the top of the Sovereign behind it. Also, what may appear to be the first two floors is actually just one floor. Four floors of apartments are above.

#13 LJ

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:31 PM

Are you suggesting that building is indicative of 5 - 8 storey European buildings?


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#14 Baro

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:42 PM

I actually quite like this. An in-fill that matches the massing of it's old-town neighbours and the city hasn't demanded suburbanization!
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#15 G-Man

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:40 PM

I like it from this side but what about that West facing wall. That is a huge space that will be visible from Government Street. Normally I am ok with blank walls when there is a good chance that it will get redeveloped next door. In this case I think that is unlikely.

#16 G-Man

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:41 PM

Yes.


So you have never been to Europe or have seen a picture of any city in Europe but know that communist era eastern block housing was ugly?

#17 Baro

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:54 PM

Why do you think corner redevelopment is unlikely? Ugly single story building with no heritage value, seems ripe for redevelopment.
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#18 G-Man

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:56 PM

That spot would be a Madoff grudge match that i can't even fathom.

#19 Nparker

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:54 PM

That spot would be a Madoff grudge match that i can't even fathom.


For my own peace of mind, please tell me there is at least a slight possibility, in some distant future, when Ms. Madoff is no longer on the Victoria city council! :confused:

#20 D.L.

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:18 PM

The west facing wall of this proposal will not have any windows, as per fire regulations. The architect has said though that something would be done to increase the attractiveness of the wall.

The lot on the corner of Government and Fort is most likely too small to ever be redeveloped with something high enough to signigicantly block the blank west facing wall of this proposal.

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