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PROPOSED
Harris Green Village, tower 1
Uses: rental, commercial
Address: 900-block of Yates Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Downtown Victoria
Storeys: 32
Harris Green Village, tower 1 is a proposal for a 32-storey mixed-use purpose-built rental tower with ground f... (view full profile)
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[Harris Green] Harris Green Village & Harris Victoria Chrysler/Dodge redevelopment | Multi-phased; mixed-use | Proposed


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#201 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:34 AM

 

They look like some Burquitlam reject draft.

 

To my eye they seem to be maybe slightly better than standard issue. There's a bit of differentiation among them. But the spandrel seems very conventional and excessive. And even though I don't mind the screens on the podium levels of the one building and the slats on the podium levels of the other buildings, I'm also inclined to regard such things as token gestures, if you know what I mean. Better than nothing, but still nothing special.



#202 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:36 AM

 

I'm also inclined to regard such things as token gestures, if you know what I mean. Better than nothing, but still nothing special.

 

Tacked on.



#203 Jackerbie

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:43 AM

I think it's very early days for architectural critique. What we're seeing is probably generic so that the focus is on the site plan and massing. The details come later. These are the CALUC drawings, remember, so this thing still has to go through staff, ADP, and Council.

 

As others have said, with d'Ambrosio involved we can certainly expect greater things to come.


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#204 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:47 AM

To my eye they seem to be maybe slightly better than standard issue. There's a bit of differentiation among them. But the spandrel seems very conventional and excessive. And even though I don't mind the screens on the podium levels of the one building and the slats on the podium levels of the other buildings, I'm also inclined to regard such things as token gestures, if you know what I mean. Better than nothing, but still nothing special.

 

This massive blockbuster newly defines Harris Green. I want this development to have a distinct character, not just be 1515 Douglas/750 Pandora Part II.

 

I think it's very early days for architectural critique. What we're seeing is probably generic so that the focus is on the site plan and massing. The details come later. These are the CALUC drawings, remember, so this thing still has to go through staff, ADP, and Council.

 

As others have said, with d'Ambrosio involved we can certainly expect greater things to come.

 

Past experience shows us designs get less dynamic as they progress from concept to reality . I hope you're right.


Edited by Rob Randall, 04 December 2019 - 11:53 AM.

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#205 Nparker

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:47 AM

I think people probably need to look at these current renderings as mot much more than detailed massing studies.



#206 Mike K.

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:33 PM

The Harris Green Village blocks will be surrounded by towers in the coming years so I wouldn't be overly concerned about uniqueness to the extent we'd expect along the harbourfront or in an area where a single tower will hover well above everything else.

 

Consider that within a single block of the 900 and 1000-blocks of Yates we already have the following proposals or projects underway:

1 x 12-storeys

1 x 13-storeys

1 x 14-storeys

3 x 15-storeys

1 x 17-storeys

2 x 20-storeys

= 9 towers

 

The more important thing to get right is the street level. If they can hit a home run in that regard this'll be brilliant, and having D'Ambrosio involved was itself a brilliant move.


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#207 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:38 PM

 

This massive blockbuster newly defines Harris Green.

 

I agree. The neighbourhood has generally been going in the right direction lately re: more architectural variety and diversification... and now we're going to insert an overwhelming dose of one big thing? (I have the same concern about the firehall project.) Even if it does end up being one big thing, it needs to look and feel like it isn't one big thing.

 

I suppose somebody could argue that large-footprint, mono-flavour, multi-tower projects are consistent with Regents Park (which happens to be situated right right smack in the middle of them), but like I say, I thought Harris Green had already changed gears and moved away from that sort of stuff?



#208 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:42 PM

This comes back around to Harris Green's identity. We all knew the suburban-style shopping centre was going to disappear eventually. It should never have been built in the first place. So what is Harris Green, really? Is it merely downtown east? I don't think it is. I think it's downtown's residential neighbourhood.



#209 Mike K.

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:44 PM

It's the green space along Pandora, isn't it?


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#210 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:48 PM

That's the ocean.



#211 Mike K.

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:50 PM

The new Crystal Pool?


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#212 aastra

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:51 PM

Harris Green really needs a few more (interesting) small-footprint lowrise buildings (5 or 6 stories). There are some sites that seem to be begging for it.


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#213 Mike K.

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:55 PM

That's what I'm saying. The lower levels need to be done right, and this'll be a slam dunk.

 

Once the buildings undergo further design revisions we'll no doubt start seeing more variability among the towers. Have you guys written the project team yet? You can leave your thoughts at https://www.harrisgreen.ca


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#214 Nparker

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 02:05 PM

This comes back around to Harris Green's identity...I think it's downtown's residential neighbourhood.

Agreed, with some decent retail options of its own.



#215 victorian

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 02:10 PM

It's just way too much of the same thing. Repetition to that extent can be awfully dreary, even if the esthetic itself isn't all that bad. Five new towers that look extremely similar over two adjacent blocks? Two large and similar looking podiums that play the same tune on all sides?

 

We all know why they want so much repetition of the same template, but come on, throw us a bone. Single out one tower and make it look distinctive, even if it's the same basic tower but just in a different wrapper. On the ground levels throw in a bit of a departure somewhere that surprises us. Again, every major new building should be able to answer the question: why would anybody bother to take a picture of this place?

 

Edit: this is what I'm getting at. Don't just hold on the same proverbial note. Give us some quirkiness, some surprises. Even Uptown was able to do that to some degree.

 

I was at the public meeting last night and the presenters were clear that this was a picture for context, not design. They said they'd be building townhouses along Vancouver and View (and Quadra, maybe?), which would be very granular with front gardens. The "design" in the drawings looks bland, but they said they don't have their designs done yet.


Edited by victorian, 04 December 2019 - 02:27 PM.

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#216 victorian

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 02:16 PM

Did anyone make it to the CALUC meeting at Ambrosia last night, and if so, how was the project's initial reception?

 

I was there. The room was 90% senior citizens who blathered on and on about how there is too much construction in Victoria and new towers block their views from the condo they bought last year. The chairman of the meeting let people yammer for as long as they wanted about anything they wanted, which was mostly just boomer complaints about how terrible it is that Victoria is not in the 1960s anymore. I bet half of the room won't live long enough to see the full project completed, and yet those same folks are the ones with the strongest and most ridiculous complaints.

 

On my side, I am much more optimistic about this development than I was before the meeting. Their design principles are good and I like the initial concepts, although the architectural design should be more interesting. And as far as I'm concerned they can build 1000 storeys tall - I'm far more concerned about getting the street level aesthetics right, as this is what everyone (except condo-dwelling boomers) will actually use.


Edited by victorian, 04 December 2019 - 02:29 PM.

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#217 victorian

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 02:26 PM

The more important thing to get right is the street level.

 

100% agree



#218 MarkoJ

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 03:55 PM

I agree with some of the comments that this project needs a bit of aesthetic fine tuning, but this would be awesome overall.... question is it finished before or after 2030?


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#219 Jacques Cadé

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 04:46 PM

I was there. The room was 90% senior citizens who blathered on and on about how there is too much construction in Victoria and new towers block their views from the condo they bought last year. The chairman of the meeting let people yammer for as long as they wanted about anything they wanted, which was mostly just boomer complaints about how terrible it is that Victoria is not in the 1960s anymore. I bet half of the room won't live long enough to see the full project completed, and yet those same folks are the ones with the strongest and most ridiculous complaints.

 

I was there too, and your depiction of the meeting is ... interesting. "90% senior citizens" = only 10% of the room was under the age of 65, and that definitely wasn't true. "The chairman of the meeting let people yammer for as long as they wanted": under the City's rules for a CALUC meeting, speakers are allowed to comment, not just ask questions. As for the "ridiculous complaints", here are the comments, questions and replies I wrote down:

 

— who polices and sets the rules for the 1/2 acre of public green space? (Starlight will work with the City to come up with a governance model for it)

— the straight walls of glass on perimeters of the six-storey podiums need some variation (Franc D'Ambrosio says the drawings are just "schematics" and the design guidelines will be key)

— the neighbourhood relies on Market on Yates, London Drugs and other businesses (Starlight says the existing businesses will be able to move to other phases of the project with minimal disruption)

— what OCP amendments does the developer need? (Starlight is seeking 6:1 density, higher than the 5.5:1 in the OCP, but is looking at including an affordable housing component)

— the plan is for townhouses along View, so why is a tower on View also? (Franc replied that shadow studies dictated the placement of the five towers)

— residents of 990 View, above Frontrunners, are going to get evicted, what's the plan? (Starlight will offer space in its other Victoria units or discuss compensation)

— resident of Regent Towers, the two existing towers in between the proposal, says he likes what he sees but the architecture is all "boxes" right up to the edge of the sidewalk

— all entrances for underground parking and services will be on View Street, can it handle the traffic? (Starlight said it will do a study)

— no one has mentioned that we are on unceded Coast Salish lands, what demographic are you looking for in rentals? (Starlight said they couldn't say yet, but the project will make a "significant difference" to the vacancy rate)

— how can you ensure the public space won't become a tent city? (Starlight says it has obligations to tenants to provide security, and retail will front the public areas in a way to provide "eyes on the street")

— what is the size of the building proposed for east of View Towers, and won't that shadow the green space? (nobody knew in the room but it's 15 storeys: https://victoria.cit...37-view-street/)

— resident of Regent Towers says 60 neighbours met with Starlight the night before, and were impressed by their public engagement

— the green space is a "huge bonus" we haven't seen from other new developments

— the corner of View and Vancouver is a swamp, how will you build there? (Starlight says it will excavate all of it down to the bedrock for underground parking)

 

I had to leave at 8:00 so that's all I got. Maybe the tone deteriorated after that, I don't know. I got the impression that the majority of the room liked the project but had sensible concerns and wanted more details. As Franc himself might say, perspective is everything.


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#220 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 05:03 PM

— residents of 990 View, above Frontrunners, are going to get evicted, what's the plan? (Starlight will offer space in its other Victoria units or discuss compensation)

 

 

Is this the newest residential/commercial building slated for demolition? I don't think it's even 25 years old.


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