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[Downtown Victoria] Radius condo & office | 17- & 13-storeys | Canceled in 2008


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#1 zoomer

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:31 PM

The Well.

I guess Caledonia starts after Douglas street, for some reason I always thought it was Chatham up until Blanshard, then Caledonia. A quick check of Sopranos website does indeed confirm that the block is Caledonia.

I hope we don't end up referring to this as the "Oh Well". There is great potential in this site, the mix of residential, retail, office, recreational and parking space is exciting, but thus far the actual design of the buildings leaves a little to be desired.

Vic News article:

Planned development signals change

By Brennan Clarke
Victoria News
Jul 28 2006

Density of “The Well” proposal debated; city plan criticized as out of date

The transformation of an entire city block in downtown Victoria moved one step closer to reality after a contentious debate by Victoria city councillors over plans for a massive development known as The Well.

The proposal, including 84 residential units, 17,000 square metres of office space, 300 underground parking spaces, a pub, a fitness facility and a daycare, is slated for the block bordered by Blanshard, Douglas, Caledonia and Herald streets.

In most aspects the plans were well-received, with planning staff noting the proposal “is consistent with” current city policies.

However, some councillors were troubled by the developer’s request for an estimated 60 per cent increase in density on the site.

Coun. Pam Madoff complained that the city’s downtown plan, which addresses building height and density in the downtown core, is more than a decade old and no longer reflects downtown’s needs.

“What we are doing is designing a house one room at a time, and when you do it that way you have no idea what you’re going to end up with,” Madoff said. “I don’t think it’s good enough to say this is one person’s vision. It’s not good enough to plan this city one site at a time,”

Coun. Geoff Young agreed that city policies are falling behind the times but said council can’t stop doing business until city planners complete an update of the downtown plan.

“Tabling (the application) for two years is not feasible. Tabling it for two weeks will do no good,” Young observed.

Despite the extra density, none of the buildings proposed for The Well exceed the city’s 43-metre height limit.

Yet The Well, coupled with a trio of over-height highrises planned for the former Hudson’s Bay Company lot across the street, heralds a major makeover of the city’s North End.

Coun. Sonya Chandler said the success or failure of those changes will be largely governed by the effectiveness of city policies.

“This is the beginning of some really big changes in our downtown,” Chandler said. “The more work we do up front, the more likely it is we’re going to be happy with the results.”

Peter Laughlin of Wessex Project Management, the company handling the application on behalf of Ontario-based Principal Holdings Inc., said the density issue needs to be considered in the context of all the public amenities that have been included in the project.

“It’s about creating a comprehensive development project,” Laughlin said. “We recognize the city is at a crossroads and we feel the density we’re asking for is justified by the amenity package we’re proposing.”

According to the application package submitted to council last week, those amenities include public open space, a mid-block walkway, $30,000 worth of public art, 400 underground parking spaces, “demonstrable benefit” in revitalizing Victoria’s North End and an affordable housing contribution of $1,000 per dwelling unit.

Laughlin said another benefit of The Well will be the vast amount of new office space, something few developers in Victoria have attempted in recent years.

Initially plans called for the YW-YMCA to move into The Well, but “Y” officials said last week they have decided to opt out. However the project will include a substantial health and wellness centre.

Laughlin said the area slated for a new pool for the YM-YWCA may be turned into an amphitheatre instead.

The Jack Davis building, at the corner of Herald and Blanshard streets, is not part of the proposal. Neither is a series of lowrise storefronts at the corner of Caledonia and Douglas streets that includes a small grocery store and a Red Hot Video outlet.

Robert Randall, head of the Downtown Residents Association said the project is a welcome bit of revitalization.

“It’s going to take density to bring downtown alive again and that’s where the density has to go,” Randall said, noting that the Douglas Street side of the property is home to an adult movie store.

“I’ve yet to meet anyone who says ‘let’s keep that Red Hot Video vibe alive.’”

The North Park Neighbourhood Association and the Burnside-Gorge Neighbourhood Association have also lent their seal of approval to the project.

Thursday’s debate ended with council voting to send the proposal to a public hearing.





#2 Holden West

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:39 PM

Since the Y is apparently balking at relocating, that pool pavillion will be replaced--probably by an amphitheatre. There's quite a dramatic slope to the site--an opportunity for some interesting public space.

The initial concept sketch for the northeast corner:


"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 zoomer

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:45 PM

and here's some great pics of the site currently courtesy Scaper:







I ride my bike up that street on my way home everday...can't wait for that field across from the Jack Davis building to be gone! Plus I'm sure those ugly telephone poles will be replaced with underground wiring and the sidewalk improved on that stretch, so that's another bonus!

#4 Scaper

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:47 PM

Thanks Zoomer!!! :wink:

#5 Mike K.

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:51 PM

Whoa, thanks for those photos, Scaper!

It'll be a shame to lose such a pristene patch of open space 8)

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#6 Scaper

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:55 PM

Talking about open spaces, this proposal doesn't have any. This is what Pam's great Vission has created. Developers who are too scared to put the money and time in to fight for what's better. So here you have it. A proposal that's right up to the height limit and a Massive Wall.

I nick name it the WALL

This is a serious mistake. I would like to see more height and more open space/green space.

Oh and guessed who voted against it at the COTW???

You guessed it the anti Green Sonya, and her Older Twin PAM!

#7 G-Man

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:26 AM

I am going to admit that apart from wanting the middle res building squeezed a bit to be made a couple of stories taller, I like this proposal. I think that it is dynamic and will completely change that part of town. The only thing I am worried about is the amphitheatre. I think they would be better off and so would the city if they built a really funky square or park. Remember there is going to be residential all around it so it is not like they are going to be having concerts everyday.

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#8 Jada

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 08:39 AM

I am looking forwards to seeing something built here. It has so much potential for boostering north of downtown. It also has the same potential for ruining north of downtown, but Im an optimist.

I do however think that the name should be changed. The Well? It sounds like a money pit to me, and in Victoria the way things go, it will be. Not very Feng Shui if you ask me.

#9 aastra

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:41 AM

A well could also be regarded as something from which good things flow or spring forth. A source of life and abundance.

#10 HOMBRE

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 02:17 PM

that mid section just wrecks it for me, i really hate the massing there.

oddly enough it kinda reminds me of shoal point, i dunno why though. That still doesn't mean i support the project as appearing.

#11 Mike K.

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:19 PM

It's called the Well because of an aquifer located below the property. Or so the story goes...

Holden? You know whats up wrt that?

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#12 Holden West

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:22 PM

that was the plan (geothermal heating).

They're still working on some of the details including massing. Pam insisted it go to the Advisory Planning Commision even though there's no real re-zoning required.
"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

#13 Mike K.

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:24 PM

Why? So they can be told the building is too Vancouver-like and will destroy Victoria?

The ADP is a poor excuse of a NIMBY panel the way its run at-present.

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#14 Scaper

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:26 PM

Tooooooo WIDE!!!!!!! It needs 2 B

____                   
   |        /\    |    |
   |       /__\   |    |
   |      /    \  |__  |___
and SLIM!!!

#15 Holden West

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:32 PM

They're not looking for rezoning, so if you're looking for for them to build a height limit-breaking highrise...

...in the words of LBJ:

"That dog won't hunt."
"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

#16 Scaper

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:48 PM

Yeah I know. I am just having fun, but I do think they need to add some height to slim down the towers.

It would also be really nice if they could continue that carriage way, that Townline is proposing right through to the next block. I really really think that would connect the two developments together. The only way they could do this is by creating a taller residential tower and breaking up the width.

#17 Galvanized

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:56 PM

I think it's really cool how the old bay carriageway is going end at the Well's public space. Look how two developers can co-operate and end up providing something really cool, it doesn't seem like ad-hoc planning to me as a certian councilor has stated.
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#18 Scaper

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:15 PM

There is definately co ordination between the two developments for sure. I just wish in my mind that the carriage way would continue another block and that the next development could take over from that. I don't want this development sealing off what could be the border for downtown development. It would be better if it was developed in away to encourage development on the next block northward.

My thoughts anyways. :-D

#19 Galvanized

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 06:47 PM

^Good point, I guess it would be a wall. If it went through it would end at Soprano's!!! VHF would like that!
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#20 Mike K.

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 04:37 PM

So what's the deal with this project? Are they adding several storeys to both towers and slimming the profile of the buildings?

The original concept was straight out of the fatrscraper book or architecture, thanks in part by the restrictive regulations of Victoria's outdated downtown plan.

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