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1025 Johnson Street
Uses: rental, civic
Address: 1025 Johnson Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Downtown Victoria
Storeys: 12
Johnson Yates Block, phase 1, is a proposal to build an 12-storey mixed-use rental tower along the 1000-block ... (view full profile)
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[Harris Green] Johnson Yates Block (Victoria Mazda property) | Victoria Fire Hall | Rentals, condos, retail space | Proposed


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#181 baconnbits

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:13 PM

At $35M that makes the cost about $1,000 a sq ft and that does not include any equipment. The CoV might have challenges but at that price we should be able to get a firehall built in the area that was defined and with a design that makes practical sense. It really seems like in an effort to get something built quickly, we have picked a location first and then are trying to shoehorn a firehall into it.

This is not how it worked. The city issued an RFP to replace the fire hall back in like 2015. This was to involve proposals to build a new fire hall in situ, at another city owned site or at a privately held site. In conjunction, the fire department produced a report outlining their preferred zones for the location of a fire hall based off response times etc. on the back of the submissions, this site was selected and the city negotiated with them to this point. The site appears to have been selected as it sits in the required zone for the FD and it removes any disruption from using the existing site. And lastly thankfully it removes the city from the construction process (completely out of their core competencies).
So this doesn’t appear at all to be a case of site selected first and a process rammed into fit the decision. This process started almost 4 years ago and started with a clean slate and a request for proposals. Only after this process did the city zero in on the current site.
Can go through the whole steps outlined above online.
Have to get the time frame right here.

Hard for me to see this as anything but a win for all. Doesn’t sound like the balance of the site is going to get developed any time wok anyways
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#182 G-Man

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:22 PM

^ Agree completely!


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#183 Kapten Kapsell

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:45 AM

Here’s a link to the land lift analysis; no amenity contributions are recommended:

https://pub-victoria...ocumentId=31786

#184 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:57 AM

This is not how it worked. The city issued an RFP to replace the fire hall back in like 2015. This was to involve proposals to build a new fire hall in situ, at another city owned site or at a privately held site. In conjunction, the fire department produced a report outlining their preferred zones for the location of a fire hall based off response times etc. on the back of the submissions, this site was selected and the city negotiated with them to this point. The site appears to have been selected as it sits in the required zone for the FD and it removes any disruption from using the existing site. And lastly thankfully it removes the city from the construction process (completely out of their core competencies).
So this doesn’t appear at all to be a case of site selected first and a process rammed into fit the decision. This process started almost 4 years ago and started with a clean slate and a request for proposals. Only after this process did the city zero in on the current site.
Can go through the whole steps outlined above online.
Have to get the time frame right here.

Hard for me to see this as anything but a win for all. Doesn’t sound like the balance of the site is going to get developed any time wok anyways

 

Thanks for the response but you need to re-read the documentation on the City website. The Mazda site is outside of the preferred area for firehall 1. It was the only site given serious consideration.

 

The City is paying nearly $1,000 a sq ft for a firehall without any equipment, a front apron that it too small for the fire trucks and numerous other compromises to fit the building into a smaller footprint then would normally be required. A more comprehensive process may have resulted in a better option at a lower costs. We won't ever know though.


Edited by spanky123, 11 February 2019 - 12:01 PM.


#185 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:58 AM

Here’s a link to the land lift analysis; no amenity contributions are recommended:

https://pub-victoria...ocumentId=31786

 

So they get a massive increase in density yet the City determines that it would not increase the value of the property?! Why even bother then as a land owner?



#186 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:18 PM

yet the City determines that it would not increase the value of the property?! 

 

a third-party made that determination.



#187 aastra

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:56 PM

 

The Mazda site is outside of the preferred area for firehall 1.

 

Methinks we should note that the city's "preferred area" is a bit peculiar, since it doesn't seem to contain *any* eligible sites, other than the existing fire hall site itself. Does anyone disagree? The preferred area extends east/northeast into the Stadacona Park neighbourhood and east into the Rockland neighbourhood. Let's just say there aren't a lot of empty lots, surface parking lots, etc. in that part of town.

 

I think we should also note that the Mazda site is just a block beyond the western boundary of the preferred area.


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#188 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:59 PM

a third-party made that determination.

 

I suspect that the 3rd party will immediately become the go to resource for every developer and builder in the City now. Imagine if every proposal asking for increased density can be exempted from CACs on the basis that increased density does not impact property value!

 

I would expect a lot of opposition to this proposal at council on Thursday if the weather does not play into that.


Edited by spanky123, 11 February 2019 - 01:01 PM.


#189 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:12 PM

if i read the report right it says there is no lift because the usage is social housing.  there would be if it were condos.



#190 Jackerbie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:21 PM

From what I understand the analysis is based on what is currently supported in the OCP, and the OCP amendment that the developer is asking for, which would allow greater density than the current designation for the site. So the "lift" is for the difference between a 42,500 sq.m development and a 49,000 sq.m development. When the 9,000 sq.m affordable rental component is factored in, the "profitable" piece is 40,000 sq.m, which is why the consultant is recommending against CACs. Basically, 100% of the extra density is being used for community amenities in the form of affordable rental stock and the new fire hall.


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#191 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:40 PM

From what I understand the analysis is based on what is currently supported in the OCP, and the OCP amendment that the developer is asking for, which would allow greater density than the current designation for the site. So the "lift" is for the difference between a 42,500 sq.m development and a 49,000 sq.m development. When the 9,000 sq.m affordable rental component is factored in, the "profitable" piece is 40,000 sq.m, which is why the consultant is recommending against CACs. Basically, 100% of the extra density is being used for community amenities in the form of affordable rental stock and the new fire hall.

 

But the developer is not building the affordable housing on their dime or operating it. They are getting $19M from Pacifica and have applied for a 10 year tax holiday and $1.2M from the City's affordable housing fund. None of that seems to have been factored in. The developer also sold the firehall air/space parcel for a huge premium so you can't count that against a CAC calculation.

 

In addition, if you read the contract in the recent Focus article, the developer can back out of building the affordable housing at their own discretion and at no cost.


Edited by spanky123, 11 February 2019 - 01:57 PM.


#192 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:45 PM

From what I understand the analysis is based on what is currently supported in the OCP, and the OCP amendment that the developer is asking for, which would allow greater density than the current designation for the site. So the "lift" is for the difference between a 42,500 sq.m development and a 49,000 sq.m development. When the 9,000 sq.m affordable rental component is factored in, the "profitable" piece is 40,000 sq.m, which is why the consultant is recommending against CACs. Basically, 100% of the extra density is being used for community amenities in the form of affordable rental stock and the new fire hall.

 

I also think that the 42,500 sq m. "current" density is based on the assumption that unused density from one parcel can be transferred to another (ie the S-1 parcel). That is not permitted and thus the "current" density allowance if far lower than 42,500 sq m.


Edited by spanky123, 11 February 2019 - 01:46 PM.


#193 Jackerbie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:51 PM

^ If the consultant was answering to the developer than I'd be more critical of the recommendation, but that isn't the case here. The consultant was hired by the City and was given their study parameters by the City. CoV gave them the 42,500 sq.m. density figure.



#194 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:59 PM

^ If the consultant was answering to the developer than I'd be more critical of the recommendation, but that isn't the case here. The consultant was hired by the City and was given their study parameters by the City. CoV gave them the 42,500 sq.m. density figure.

 

How do you know that the City gave them that figure? As I mentioned earlier, the air/space parcel for the firehall was sold so that would have been an error on the City's part if they included it in the area that the developer owned.



#195 Jackerbie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:51 PM

But the developer is not building the affordable housing on their dime or operating it. They are getting $19M from Pacifica and have applied for a 10 year tax holiday and $1.2M from the City's affordable housing fund. None of that seems to have been factored in. The developer also sold the firehall air/space parcel for a huge premium so you can't count that against a CAC calculation.

 

In addition, if you read the contract in the recent Focus article, the developer can back out of building the affordable housing at their own discretion and at no cost.

 

How do you know that the City gave them that figure? As I mentioned earlier, the air/space parcel for the firehall was sold so that would have been an error on the City's part if they included it in the area that the developer owned.

 

Who owns what does not impact the buildable FSR, which is what the land value is based on. The size of the development site is the size of the development site whether it is owned wholly by the developer or shared with other parties. The question is "how much can be built," not "how much can Jawl build."

 

City staff have crafted a site specific bylaw for this application which includes a range of appropriate densities based on what is and isn't provided. If the affordable housing drops off, the density drops too. Same for the fire hall, public plaza, and sidewalk improvements.



#196 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:01 PM

^ I realize that the buildable FSR doesn't change but you can't argue that having a firehall and affordable housing diminishes the value of your land when you are being paid a premium for those amenities and those funds are not counted in the valuation. Somehow I think that when the approvals and rezoning are complete and the owner flips the lands then they will make money then they would have before the exercise started. The City and taxpayer will be the ones out of pocket.

 

The contract with the developer, according to Focus states:

 

"though heavily redacted, its text makes clear the deal to build the fire hall is contingent on a rezoning of “all of the Development Lands”, and permitting “any density not used in connection with the [fire hall] Project to be used on the Nadar Remainder Lands”.

 

Now if you are right and the bylaw being drafted supersedes the contract and imposes penalties on the developer for not building the affordable housing (although the contract clearly allows them not to) and prevents them from using that density on other lands (which the contract allows them to) then that issue would no longer be a concern. The contract also states that if the City breaches the terms then the developer is entitled to the $3.5M deposit.

 

Where is the draft bylaw available?


Edited by spanky123, 11 February 2019 - 03:06 PM.


#197 Jackerbie

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:11 PM

^ I realize that the buildable FSR doesn't change but you can't argue that having a firehall and affordable housing diminishes the value of your land when you are being paid a premium for those amenities and those funds are not counted in the valuation. Somehow I think that when the approvals and rezoning are complete and the owner flips the lands then they will make money then they would have before the exercise started. The City and taxpayer will be the ones out of pocket.

 

The contract with the developer, according to Focus states:

 

"though heavily redacted, its text makes clear the deal to build the fire hall is contingent on a rezoning of “all of the Development Lands”, and permitting “any density not used in connection with the [fire hall] Project to be used on the Nadar Remainder Lands”.

 

Now if you are right and the bylaw being drafted supersedes the contract and imposes penalties on the developer for not building the affordable housing (although the contract clearly allows them not to) and prevents them from using that density on other lands (which the contract allows them to) then that issue would no longer be a concern. The contract also states that if the City breaches the terms then the developer is entitled to the $3.5M deposit.

 

Where is the draft bylaw available?

 

CoV does things different than I'm used to in Richmond, in that they draft the bylaw after going to Council for the first time. So, while there's no bylaw in the report package, there are some clues about how it will be written:

The project is proposed to occur over four phases. At present, a Development Permit Application has only been submitted for Phase 1. Subsequent phases will require additional Development Permit Applications for Council's consideration. The timing for the delivery of the public amenities, plaza and additional front setback will be written into the site-specific zone and correspond to the relative phase. The additional front setback and related public realm improvements will be delivered with each phase of the development. The public plaza is proposed to be delivered with the third phase. The motion set out in the recommendation to Council provides the appropriate wording to secure a phasing plan.

 

The provision of affordable housing, an area of 250m2 dedicated to a public plaza, additional sidewalk area secured though an increased front setback and a post-disaster emergency services building, all form the Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) attributable to this Application. As such, the Zoning Bylaw will stipulate a range of densities applicable to the site if these CACs are not provided.

 

 

Page 11 of the staff report, via https://pub-victoria...ocumentId=31773

 

The attachments are posted in the Council agenda, here: https://pub-victoria...English&Item=11



#198 spanky123

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:16 PM

^ Thanks for your input. The devil is always in the detail. Will have to wait until the bylaw is made public then to see what "penalties" are put in place although it is clear that the City is contemplating that the firehall and the affordable housing may not be built.



#199 baconnbits

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:54 PM

I disagree.
The preferred zone includes nothing remotely developable or if it does, no owners came forward with a site as far as I can tell. This was the best site submitted. What should the city do? Re ask for submitters? They asked and this was the best.

The developer could otherwise build more profitable condo or other uses on the site with the normal r-48 density. Instead they are building affordable housing and a fire hall (i would consider both amenities. Amenities are more than parks and green space... in most cities in lieu or in conjunction with a CAC there is a payment to the affordable housing program.)
In exchange for under developing that portion of the site, the developer is seeking to pass the unused density from the fire hall to the balance of the site.
The fire hall and possibly affordable are the community amenity. Delivered not without risk to the developer. They run the risk of cost overruns etc


Alternatively you want developers to under develop their land at their risk and then in exchange for doing this, also pay substantial fees to the city, and then develop remaining in place density on their site. Why would anyone look to do this on their land? It is not highest and best use by any stretch of the imagination.

#200 spanky123

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 07:58 AM

Thanks for the insight.

 

I think that at the end of the day, issues like this boil down to trust. Is the Mayor and council working to advance the interests of the community or do they have other motives. 

 

Again drawing from the Focus article, this deal was negotiated behind closed doors with the Mayor signing a contract with the developer before the community association was even notified. The agreement requires that a density higher than anything else in the neighbourhood be allowed and that institutional zoning be applied to the entire site. If the developer decides not to proceed with the CACs then they can use that density on other lands. The City is withholding key elements of the contract and when issues are raised the response is some nebulous promise to enact a bylaw that contradicts what the agreement states. The Mayor's actions to date do not promote trust and make it look like she is just trying to ram a proposal through an unsophisticated and naive council. 

 

I don't think that most people are opposed to a firehall or development on that site but what they don't want are loopholes that allow the owner to simply flip the property after rezoning and walk away with tens of millions while the neighbourhood gets luxury condos, no CACs, no affordable housing and a safe injection site!


Edited by spanky123, 12 February 2019 - 07:59 AM.


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