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PROPOSED
Unity Commons
Uses: rental, commercial
Address: 1303 Fairfield Road
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Urban core
Storeys: 4
Unity Commons is a mixed-use, four-storey, 16-unit rental and ground floor commercial development in the City ... (view full profile)
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[Fairfield] Unity Commons (Fairfield United Church) | Rentals, commercial | Proposed


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#1 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 06:38 PM

JN Development has bought Fairfield United Church at Fairfield and Moss, which will be demolished. JN most recently developed The Clive in Oak Bay. The church site is zoned "small urban village" and it seems likely that a 4-storey development will be proposed/built here. The church was struggling financially and will become a tenant in the new development.

The church has posted some info online: http://fairfieldunit...ability-update/

Does anyone have contacts at JN (or their architect) who can provide additional information on the proposal?
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#2 Nparker

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:17 PM

I can't recall the last time a church was demolished in Victoria. I suppose it will become more common in the future.

FUC.JPG

I suspect the community association will fight any sort of redevelopment of this site, but they better think carefully before using an acronym for Fairfield United Church in their communications.


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#3 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:29 PM

I can't recall the last time a church was demolished in Victoria. I suppose it will become more common in the future.
FUC.JPG
I suspect the community association will fight any sort of redevelopment of this site, but they better think carefully before using an acronym for Fairfield United Church in their communications.


The church is promising extensive consultations and I can easily see a coffee shop as a tenant in the new building. Hopefully FCGA will keep an open mind? JN Developments overcame significant community opposition to The Clive, which replaced a 1940s 2-storey on Oak Bay Avenue.

Full disclosure: my residence is very close to this church.
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#4 Bingo

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:58 PM

Has it been seismically upgraded?



#5 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 07:52 AM

I don't think this structure, which dates from the 1920s, has been seismically upgraded.

 

It would definitely be cool if the new development could somehow incorporate elements of the church façade into the new design. The building itself could be converted into some unique/cool loft residences with possible storefronts along the Moss Street side along with a  brand-new multi-storey building to replace the grey 'accessory' building on the side.  Alas, the interior of the church isn't as eye-catching as the exterior.

 

That said, this isn't the only religious building in the city that will be redeveloped (Victoria Truth Centre's land sale has been in the news lately)...



#6 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 08:44 AM

...It would definitely be cool if the new development could somehow incorporate elements of the church façade into the new design. The building itself could be converted into some unique/cool loft residences with possible storefronts along the Moss Street side..

I think the cost of preserving the church building itself would make redevelopment too expensive. That being said, it could perhaps be used to influence the design of the new structure in some way, but not in the "faux-art", copycat manner of the Bay Centre.


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#7 aastra

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 08:53 AM

So... developers know there are hundreds and hundreds of uninteresting properties that they can demolish, right? Why do the buildings that give neighbourhoods their character get targeted so readily as versus all of the crap shacks and parking lots?

 

(I suppose I could be a wise ass and say it's because people valiantly defend the crap shacks and parking lots but normally don't give a damn about the interesting/historic stuff.)

 

If they're going to do this I would really, really prefer that they make it interesting and preserve as much of the old façade and form as possible and build out the rest of the property from there.

 

 

I can't recall the last time a church was demolished in Victoria.

 

Didn't an old wooden church get erased in the Oaklands neighbourhood not too long ago?



#8 aastra

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:09 AM

These are pretty good conversions, I'd say:

 

vrq4j6.png

 

church-4.jpg?w=620&quality=65&strip=all&


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#9 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:10 AM

So... developers know there are hundreds and hundreds of uninteresting properties that they can demolish, right? Why do the buildings that give neighbourhoods their character get targeted so readily as versus all of the crap shacks and parking lots?...

Perhaps the better question to ask is why the members of the United Church could no longer afford to maintain the existing building? From what I have read they need the revenue from the sale of the property if they hope to continue their services as a church community. Crap shacks & parking lots require little investment from their owners so of course they remain undeveloped.



#10 johnk

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:21 AM

We lived in Toronto about 2 blocks from the top picture and thought about buying a unit. A very good conversion, high quality and taking full advantage of the church's interior volumes.

These are pretty good conversions, I'd say:
 
vrq4j6.png
 
church-4.jpg?w=620&quality=65&strip=all&



#11 Mr Cook Street

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:24 AM

I would imagine, like most religious groups, they church population is decreasing. Probably fairly quickly too.

 

Perhaps the better question to ask is why the members of the United Church could no longer afford to maintain the existing building? From what I have read they need the revenue from the sale of the property if they hope to continue their services as a church community. Crap shacks & parking lots require little investment from their owners so of course they remain undeveloped.



#12 johnk

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:25 AM

Perhaps the better question to ask is why the members of the United Church could no longer afford to maintain the existing building? From what I have read they need the revenue from the sale of the property if they hope to continue their services as a church community. Crap shacks & parking lots require little investment from their owners
so of course they remain undeveloped.

Churches are going broke, aging dwindling congregations and buildings that are expensive to operate and maintain.
Parking lots are trouble-free cash cows gushing profits so why bother with all the hassles of developing.
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#13 Rob Randall

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:57 AM

 

Didn't an old wooden church get erased in the Oaklands neighbourhood not too long ago?

 

St. Alban's on Ryan Street. Replaced by mediocre houses.

 

https://www.google.c...!7i13312!8i6656


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#14 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 09:59 AM

Aastra,

 

I like those renderings you posted- are they from redevelopments in Toronto?

Fairfield United's sale to a developer is not unique:  a Presbyterian church in Vancouver's West End / Mole Hill area is partnering with Bosa Properties to demolish their 1977 church structure and replace it with a 22-storey rental tower (with the church as a lower-floor tenant).



#15 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 10:04 AM

St. Alban's on Ryan Street. Replaced by mediocre houses...

To be fair, the neighbourhood DID get a new sidewalk out of the deal.

Capture.JPG



#16 Baro

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 01:54 PM

I was very slightly involved in some early work on this about a year ago.  The main problem is the building itself is badly decaying and just isn't worth the cost of trying to "save" it, the building is a huge liability for the church.  It's a cute building but there's just no economic grounds to save it, not to mention that the church can't afford it.  I'm not sure what the plans are now, but originally they wanted to do some pretty cool stuff.  Theatre and assembly space (which the church would rent once a week or more as needed) and some retail on the bottom and some condos on top.  The problem is making that work, economically.  2 floors of condos aren't going to pay for 2 floors of cultural space, they'll help for sure, but certainly not pay for it.  And even if the finances were all in order, local nimby's would probably fight the project for years until it was reduced to a 3 story condo with no cultural facilities or space for the church.

 

If anything's going to kill this project though it's parking concerns, the boogieman for all neighbourhood projects.  Despite the new church space being smaller than the old, neighbours will moan about outsiders using their precious street parking.  Heaven forbid a project ever not have suburban mall levels of 100% maximum possible use parking on-site. 


Edited by Baro, 19 August 2016 - 01:56 PM.

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#17 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 02:39 PM

Well Moss Street is certainly wide enough to add some street parking on the east side of the street (northbound traffic lane) as there's currently only street parking on the west side of the street south of Fairfield Road.  This would benefit patrons of the Moss Street Market and the other nearby businesses (like the Fish/Chips shop) as well.   I assume that, like any development these days, there will be underground parking.  I also assume that, if a new building is built, the church/cultural space might occupy part of the first floor (alongside the retail), which could allow for 3 floors of homes?


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#18 Bingo

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:34 PM

Many churches are suffering and don't have the funds to keep them open, evening with leasing out their space.

This is another brick church that is probably not seismically safe, so it needs to come down.

The land is better utilized for modern construction and some underground parking.


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#19 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 08:53 AM

T-C article on church demolition / redevelopment: http://www.timescolo...place-1.2327277

#20 aastra

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:05 PM

Hmmm. A TC article about redevelopment of a historic property, and scathing objections by the usual suspects are conspicuously absent. No controversy whatsoever? This one is playing out in a very JSB-esque manner.

 

If a 6-story building could make it feasible to preserve/restore some or all of the old building then this option should be on the table.

 

I know, I know. Allowing a slightly taller building would threaten the heritage of the neighbourhood. Yadda yadda yadda.


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