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Opposition to 540 Pandora Development (Hoy Sun Ning Yung Building, Fan Tan Alley)


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#1 Allan E

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 11:55 AM

With all due respect Robert,
My understanding of this development project is :
They are planning on adding 2 storeys to the two abandoned buildings they own on the west end of Fan Tan Alley . Their proposal is to make 31 residential/rental apartments plus commercial spaces in buildings they have not done any maintenance on in 20 -30 years. The building they own on Pandora included in the project is already rental units.

As a resident of Fan Tan Alley, I clearly forsee this project as creating an instant " slum " ! .
Within the entire Chinatown of Victoria , all the buildings have been maintained , and second and third storeys have been rented to artists/ musicians/ creative types to the current day. We have a community here. The owners of this property, have neglected to do any maintenance to the point where these buildings are now condemned and unhabitable due to their lack of care and longterm vision. This project will effectively ruin Fan Tan Alley, for the current longstanding businesses in the alley, and its longterm residents by the nature of its density alone. I project approximately 40-60 additional people living in the alley where now there is only 6.
I find it abhorrant that the heritage nature of this cherished neighborhood will be jeopardized by a Chinese benevolent society who has been negligent over the years ; and can only now afford to "renovate" their property by adding additional storeys to a designated heritage building .
We ,( all the residents and businesses of Fan Tan Alley) are currently circulating a petition against this project , not for the renovation so much as petitoning against the addition of extra storeys.
To date , collectively we have collected approx. 200 signatures .

This is a perfect example of everyone in a neighborhood, residents and businesses alike, being against a proposed development , for its lack of sensitivty to an existing neighborhood and designated heritage urban area.
Please visit Fan Tan Alley @ Hearts Content boutique at your convenience to add your name and make your voice heard .

#2 Mike K.

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 12:02 PM

Welcome to the forum, Allen, and thanks for your insight into this project.

The building will need to be upgraded to current code and pass strict inspections in order to be habitable upon completion. There would be no risk to tenants in and around the building from such a renovation and the addition of floors.

You may have noticed that the volume of uninhabitable old (some even heritage) buildings in downtown Victoria is quite staggering and is a direct result of the costs associated with remediating historic buildings (many have sat empty for decades because of this, much like 540 Pandora). Due to earthquake codes, remediating even a small heritage/old building would be a money losing venture if not for tax incentives and the addition of density.

Virtually all of the heritage renos in downtown Victoria are benefiting from some form of density increases and/or tax breaks. Without these incentives there would be no way for us to reclaim the use of many of Victoria's oldest buildings.

Even the City of Victoria dealt with its own heritage restoration drama with the Johnson Street Bridge.

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#3 Sparky

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 12:20 PM

I have been in the building in question. It scared the hell out of me.

#4 Nparker

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:27 PM

We now seem to have 2 threads on this issue.:confused:

#5 Mike K.

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:53 PM

The second thread has been closed.

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#6 Mike K.

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:54 PM

I have been in the building in question. It scared the hell out of me.


Can you elaborate?

I'd imagine most of Victoria's decrepit heritage/old buildings must be pretty sketchy inside.

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#7 Sparky

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 04:01 PM

Mike, it was like a horror movie. Uninhabited for quite some time. One had to be very careful where to walk, the flooring was like cardboard.

This was quite some time ago when the owners were contemplating renovation. I am sure the costs were prohibitive.

I walked by the building last week and thought to myself that it was surprising that it was still standing.

There were no iphones then, otherwise I could have provided a pic.

#8 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 08:56 PM

Someone close to the project told me that there are people living on the second floor on the Pandora side. Is that possible, Sparky?
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#9 Sparky

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 09:42 PM

Anything is possible I guess, but it would have needed a lot of work. I will pop by on the weekend and have a look.

#10 Allan E

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 11:15 AM

540 Pandora has 3 floors that are small, inexpensive, rental apartments...
Some of the tenants have lived there there for in between 8 -20 years.
The ground floor has the Chinese Associations meeting room, with the other spaces being used as storage for several local businesses. This building is totally rented and has been for some time.
See also
http://vibrantvictor...0157#post160157
for more info on this development.
Thanks for your interest !
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#11 Sparky

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:23 PM

Their proposal is to make 31 residential/rental apartments plus commercial spaces in buildings they have not done any maintenance on in 20 -30 years. The building they own on Pandora included in the project is already rental units.

As a resident of Fan Tan Alley, I clearly forsee this project as creating an instant " slum " !


Allan E

Some might believe that this building might already be thought of as a "slum"



Some might believe that this building has a wonderful potential.

Yes, there are occupants at present...but....are they safe?



#12 Danma

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 09:04 AM

I agree with Sparky -- This building is in very, very poor shape as it is and in its current form is a major detriment to Chinatown and Fan Tan Alley. If anything, bringing it up to code and have extra people living here is going to be a big improvement.

 

The idea that "it's going to ruin this urban area because people will be living there" makes no sense to me either -- is Fan Tan alley part of a living breathing part of the city, or a historical artifact that should not progress or improve? People lament in Victoria that the owners of these properties want to improve them, bring them up to snuff, and fill them with interesting shops and places for people to live. I don't get it.

 

Edit: I realize part of the question is "the owners haven't taken care of it so far, will this just make it even worse?" and my answer is that as Mike K says up the page, this isn't an issue of intent, this is an issue of not having the capital to make it better. This is their way to create capital to improve the building. In terms of historical right, the Hoy Sun Ning Yung association's been around Chinatown for 100+ years. If they want to do things with their building, they have the right to. 


Edited by Danma, 10 January 2014 - 09:08 AM.


#13 Mike K.

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 05:37 AM

Renovations are progressing albeit the complexity means things are going slow.

I still don't understand why Allen E thinks this will become a "slum" once completed but from what I see it will be nothing of the sort.

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#14 Danma

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 07:20 AM

Yep, it's been progressing. I work on the next block so I've been checking it out. It's been fascinating seeing to what extent the construction guys have to strip the existing building. It was quite the mess in there and should be a pretty big improvement once done.

 

As for the original complaints, I think it says it all - there's only 6 people living in the immediate vicinity, and he's worried about the character of the space changing once you have a lot more people living there. And he's right, it probably will change. As a resident, it may lose some of the essential je ne sais quoi for him.

 

But for visitors? When I first visited Fan Tan Alley a few years ago, there were many boarded up units, and the west end where this building is doesn't exactly feel friendly or welcoming. There's like 3 cool shops in the alley and then a couple Chinese trinket shops. It definitely felt underwhelming and, to me, rather neglected. I've seen boarded up windows before man, seeing them in a skinny alley between two buildings hardly makes it more attractive.

 

So as I stated a few months ago, I believe filling in the area with actual tenants in a safe building that meets code is going to improve that stretch of Pandora, it's going to improve Fan Tan Alley and make it a more liveable, attractive area as a whole.


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#15 sdwright.vic

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:10 AM

Renovations are progressing albeit the complexity means things are going slow.
I still don't understand why Allen E thinks this will become a "slum" once completed but from what I see it will be nothing of the sort.


Agreed. The Union didn't make a slum, why would this?
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#16 Hotel Mike

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:12 AM

Any new pics?


Don't be so sure.:cool:

#17 Mike K.

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 01:10 PM

There's really very little to see so far. Most of the work has been going on inside and it's very necessary but mundane stuff.

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