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UNDER CONSTRUCTION
1025 Johnson Street
Uses: rental, civic
Address: 1025 Johnson Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Downtown Victoria
Storeys: 12
1025 Johnson Street is a proposal to build an 12-storey mixed-use affordable rental tower along the 1000-block... (view full profile)
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[Harris Green] Johnson|Cook|Yates | Victoria No. 1 Firehall | Rentals, condos, retail, and office space | Under construction


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#341 spanky123

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 08:02 PM

The developer wouldn't likely be seeking a land lift or density bonus if the heart of downtown Victoria wasn't so haphazard and under-zoned.

 

The developer is seeking added density in order to make more money. Same with any developer. That is fine and there is nothing wrong with making money, but the rules are that some of that extra money is shared with the taxpayer to pay for affordable housing and other public amenities. Since most of these developments are commercial to residential / commercial conversions there isn't often a huge windfall in extra taxes. If there was then we wouldn't be paying tax increases of 4% and 5% every year. The problem has been in recent years that either at the staff or council level the vast majority of these amenities have been waived and the taxpayer has received little to nothing in return. 



#342 Mike K.

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 08:24 PM

An under-developed commercial propriety generates significantly fewer taxes than a highrise condominium or rental project does.

And there is affordable housing coming online as part of this project. 130-units of very low to moderate income housing to be managed by Pacifica. This is the largest affordable housing project to be proposed for downtown Victoria in recent history.

This is a huge benefit to our community, is it not? Who else is building 130-units of workforce housing in downtown Victoria?

I just don’t understand the opposition to this project. It should be a slam dunk but instead we’re seeing criticism for affordable housing and a public safety building proposed for private land and in an ideal location.

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#343 Nparker

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 09:32 PM

...The problem has been in recent years that either at the staff or council level the vast majority of these amenities have been waived and the taxpayer has received little to nothing in return. 

Do you know what amenity I'd really like to see from added density and a larger commercial/residential tax base? Lower property taxes for everyone. It'd be a helluva lot more appealing than a ping pong table or a musical handrail.



#344 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 02:54 AM

I don’t agree that we need a new firehall. fires are way down over the past 25 years. we can just restructure with the 3 we have.

#345 spanky123

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:27 AM

An under-developed commercial propriety generates significantly fewer taxes than a highrise condominium or rental project does.

And there is affordable housing coming online as part of this project. 130-units of very low to moderate income housing to be managed by Pacifica. This is the largest affordable housing project to be proposed for downtown Victoria in recent history.

This is a huge benefit to our community, is it not? Who else is building 130-units of workforce housing in downtown Victoria?

I just don’t understand the opposition to this project. It should be a slam dunk but instead we’re seeing criticism for affordable housing and a public safety building proposed for private land and in an ideal location.

 

I think that you hit the nail on the head Mike. Different groups have different objections to this project.

 

What amazes me is that watching the leadership debate last night both the Greens and the NDP want to fund spending by taxing the rich by various means. Locally though the NDP and Greens completely ignore the easiest and most lucrative way of getting money from the rich using rules and bylaws that are already on the books.  Nobody who buys a piece of property has an entitled or expectation that it is going to be rezoned. In fact having a piece of land rezoned is generally regarded as one of the most powerful and lucrative ways of generating wealth. 


Edited by spanky123, 08 October 2019 - 07:28 AM.


#346 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:51 AM

In fact having a piece of land rezoned is generally regarded as one of the most powerful and lucrative ways of generating wealth. 

 

There is a symbiotic relationship there, though.

 

1) The City of Victoria has an official community plan that outlines what it would like various parcels to look like as the city grows.

2) A landowner responds to that plan by requesting a rezoning

3) The City's fee structure yields a 75% kickback to the City for the value uplift realized through that rezoning

4) The City now begins to collect higher taxes based on the new highest usage of that land

5) The landowner then pursues development, passing on the added costs to future residents and leaseholders

 

With every taxing of the rich you're really taxing the middle class who are the consumers of the product created through development, which costs more due to the added costs of doing business. The City then charges each one of these consumers a tax for the property they purchased, realizing a significant increase in revenues from a parcel of land that may have brought in $40,000 in taxes prior to a rezoning and redevelopment, and now brings in $400,000. And taxes, of course, are an ever-growing demand put on residents and businesses.

 

The biggest fear among developers in Victoria is not the bureaucracy. They can handle the bureaucracy just fine, that's their job and they're incredibly efficient at what they do. What keeps them up at night is whether or not the costs of doing business in Victoria get to a point where the consumer of their product will become too financially exhausted to make a go of purchasing their inventory. Are we there? Some say we're getting close.


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#347 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:57 AM

I don’t agree that we need a new firehall. fires are way down over the past 25 years. we can just restructure with the 3 we have.

 

I think that's one of the issues, that the two other halls are themselves seismically vulnerable. If we do get a strong quake (not even the Big One) that could incapacitate all three existing firehalls.


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#348 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:06 AM

if all three firehalls are incapacitated it won't really matter because there will be 10000 dead and 50000 injured.  there will be no water in the pipes to put out fires.  and the fire department people will all tend to their own loved ones for days before going to many building collapses.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 October 2019 - 08:07 AM.


#349 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:10 AM

We're not talking the Big One, though. Just a moderately strong quake, like a 6.5 centred near the south Island.

 

Think of the Christchurch quake which brought a lot of destruction to older buildings but few people were killed (fewer than 200). Smart communities need to adapt to these potential scenarios.


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#350 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:18 AM

We're not talking the Big One, though. Just a moderately strong quake, like a 6.5 centred near the south Island.

 

i don't think that collapses all three firehalls so that all vehicles are useless.  one in james bay is pretty darned new.  the one on bay isn't that old.  

 

if a moderate or big quake hits it's not going to be firetrucks that save people it's going to be non-government individuals - your kind neighbours - and towards the end of things large equipment like excavators if view towers has fallen over. 


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 October 2019 - 08:20 AM.


#351 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:25 AM

The firetrucks are needed to put out fires and keep the city from burning down. Fire is the biggest destructive force following an earthquake.


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#352 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:05 AM

we don't have the type of city form that would burn from building to building except a tiny part of downtown.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 October 2019 - 09:07 AM.


#353 Nparker

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:08 AM

What about fires caused by gas lines rupturing?



#354 G-Man

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:21 AM

I think that you hit the nail on the head Mike. Different groups have different objections to this project.

What amazes me is that watching the leadership debate last night both the Greens and the NDP want to fund spending by taxing the rich by various means. Locally though the NDP and Greens completely ignore the easiest and most lucrative way of getting money from the rich using rules and bylaws that are already on the books. Nobody who buys a piece of property has an entitled or expectation that it is going to be rezoned. In fact having a piece of land rezoned is generally regarded as one of the most powerful and lucrative ways of generating wealth.

Why does it matter if some landowners make some money if it benefits the city? Who cares and I am a landless renter. I could care less. We need to be doubling the density in lots of spots in and around downtown which could mean some lucky people make some money. They still get to pay capital gains tax and we get needed density.

What would be a tragedy would be to underbuild the city just because we don't want some landowners to make money. Talk about punching yourself in the face out of spite.

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#355 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:25 AM

What about fires caused by gas lines rupturing?

 

our system is very very new with many shutoffs and safeguards.  and it's not a complex system.  it's a very small system.



#356 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:36 AM

I know one thing, and that one thing is I'm thankful Victoria Watcher is not in charge of emergency services in our community.  :cop:


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#357 intheknow

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:48 AM

I think the one thing everyone is missing is that this application did go through a land lift analysis and it was determined from the analysis that there was NOT a lift in land value as a result of the rezoning. This means that the developer is actually providing affordable housing voluntarily. And yes the developer is providing the affordable housing and not  BC housing or Pacifica. The developer is selling an air parcel to Pacifica at a discount to what they could sell it for if it were market condos. There is no doubt that the province/ not-for profit housing provider will be getting this air parcel at  a discounted rate. Not only do they then get the air parcel discounted but they also have shifted the build risk to the developer- something that also comes at a cost.  Also as part of the land lift, the value of the plaza that is planned for later phases was not included in the lift. That means that the developer is ALSO providing the plaza voluntarily. It would be mad if the City declined this application- a new fire hall, a public plaza, and 130 units of affordable housing? Isn't this everything in the OCP in one application?


Edited by intheknow, 08 October 2019 - 09:53 AM.


#358 Mike K.

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:06 AM

Right, the public plaza.

 

One of the issues the Downtown Residents Association has raised is the lack of public/green space in downtown Victoria. This proposal will include a public green space/plaza fronting onto Yates Street.


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#359 shoeflack

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:15 AM

Honestly the opposition to this project is mind boggling. The opportunity to get rid of that dark Robbins lot alone is worth it to me. Just a festering ground from criminal activity.



#360 intheknow

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:23 AM

Right, the public plaza.

 

One of the issues the Downtown Residents Association has raised is the lack of public/green space in downtown Victoria. This proposal will include a public green space/plaza fronting onto Yates Street.

This issue about a lack of green space in the Downtown is a little like moving in beside an airport and then complaining about the noise. It is Downtown...And also the Neighbourhood plan includes a massive plaza/ green space at the London Drugs site a block away that is currently being planned. The OCP anticipated  the need for more open space with the planned density for Harris Green and this was the spot planned for it.


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