I guess the reason I am a bit quick to defend Victoria is because when I first became interested in following the property development scene here, and the Juliet condo building in particular (2007 or so), Corazon, Juliet and the Wave were big deals! They were some of the first major housing projects downtown in ages.
At 12-14 floors, these buildings were controversial. So, it wasn’t too long ago that 14 stories was seen by some as too tall for downtown. Now we’ve got 14, 15 and 16 floor buildings going up every year it seems. We have a 17 storey building on Johnson going up soon, and another 17 storey building going up in Vic West. It has gotten to the point now where this is perfectly acceptable by most. We’ll get to the point where most people won’t bat an eye at a 20+ floor building. Chard is proposing a 21 storey building or two, on Yates/Johnson, we have an approved 20 storey building at Dockside Green, a 24 storey building eventually going up at Hudson Place and of course two 20+ storey buildings approved at the Roundhouse. Once these go up, I suspect we will see height increase a bit further.
But, it’s a slow process. If you came downtown in 2005, it seemed almost like new construction in downtown Victoria stopped in about 1980. It has taken a while to build momentum, that’s for sure.
In fairness, over the years, the City has approved taller and taller buildings. The city has an OCP that supports high-rises throughout sections of downtown. So far, developers have not gotten the job done in terms of pushing into that next range of buildings – high-rise territory. We’ve have had three or four approved 20+ storey buildings on the books for years, with only one built so far. Hopefully that changes soon (I’m looking at you, Townline).