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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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#461 DavidSchell

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 07:39 PM

The anti-height comments are at it as already mentioned. A new-ish theme in comments is about the safety of tall buildings in earthquakes, though I'm aware modern seismic standards are very robust.

 

Just like trump supporters who were dismissive of science when it comes to COVID these people will follow the same ignorance path. 


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#462 yellow_baron

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:53 PM

Has a public hearing been scheduled for this? I'm curious to see how the COV considers this within the context of the Downtown Core Are Plan. This blows past the desired massing and maximum building heights. Not sure if it's a brazen attempt by the developer to test the City's limits or if they're operating under some sort of assurance that the plan will be drastically changed in the near future. 

 

I'm all for building up; however, I've also spent quite a bit of time in Toronto and this reminds me of the worst of Toronto condo developments being parachuted here. The design of the towers is uninspiring and bland, and doesn't align with the context of the neighbourhood at all. I do like that they've spent a fair bit of effort on the public realm, the daycare facility, and a variety of residences. I'm not sure about the massing though....is the future of the city a series of bloated podiums with random towers? Or is the future of the city more in line with walkable and breathable spaces?

 

To use the Toronto context, I wish that this project and the neighbourhood develops more along the lines of Canary District (https://www.canarydi....com/community/), West Don lands (https://www.cobe.dk/idea/west-don-lands) or the River City complex (https://www.harris-square.com/). 

 

That's just my two cents based on my experience living in both cities. I'm operating on a very basic understanding/knowledge of land-use planning and design, but I've experienced the podium/tower circus and the European-style plaza and open spaces approach, and much prefer the latter. 


Edited by yellow_baron, 22 November 2020 - 04:53 PM.


#463 Nparker

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:57 PM

 

...is the future of the city a series of bloated podiums with random towers? Or is the future of the city more in line with walkable and breathable spaces...

I don't see how the 2 concepts are incompatible. How are tall towers with good public realm space at ground level not walkable and breathable?


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#464 yellow_baron

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 08:24 PM

I don't see how the 2 concepts are incompatible. How are tall towers with good public realm space at ground level not walkable and breathable?

They aren't incompatible, but in order for this to work, the design of the podiums and towers needs to shift. Not sure if you took a look at the links in my post - if you look at Canary District or the West Donlands, you'll see good density but a variability in the buildings (both in height and presence) that really adds to the overall feel of the neighbourhood. What Starlight's done here is dump a park between two hideous podiums with derivative towers and called it a day. Is that what we want to settle for?

 

I'm not saying that the proposal is without merit. It definitely could work and we're in the early days. Am really curious to see how the city reacts to this. 



#465 aastra

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:24 AM

Methinks some of the vibe of that Government & Herald project could have been neat here. I'm sure not crazy about the prospect of seeing three tall towers of the exact same design family on the same block. Make one of them unique (or sort of unique) and it would be a big improvement.



#466 Rob Randall

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:59 AM

Methinks some of the vibe of that Government & Herald project could have been neat here. 

 

In terms of the rhythm and granularity, sure, that's a good model. But maybe not the old-town brick look. Harris Green is a new-ish district but while Olde-Towne retro is not ideal, neither is the generic tower-podiums going up around Cook/Vancouver/Johnson.

 

The goal is if someone's walking over here from a neighbouring district, they enter Harris Green and it has a different and distinctive architectural feel. It doesn't have to look like anything that's there already but it shouldn't be a copy of other new stuff already seen.


“I mean I just don’t understand the big Texas part, like maybe he’s from Texas? I want to know the back story.”


#467 Rob Randall

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 07:27 AM

Gene Miller on Toronto real estate developers insensitively turning Harris Green into their latest investment opportunity:

 

I wonder if the community—that’s another name for Victoria, by the way—had the self-awareness, the moral literacy, the social gyroscopy, the informed self-understanding to show up during the consultation process and ask: “Mark, are you—not personal but corporate you—insane? Do you really think the inhuman monstrosity you’re proposing does anything to advance the singular aims of the people of this city, or the potential for improved and increased citizen identity, not to mention Victoria’s distinctive physical signature? Have you spent any time figuring this place out, or is this just another dirt play for Starlight?”

 

If, reader, you imagine the density, the amount of stuff, that Starlight is proposing, or the number of residential units (1,500), troubles me, it doesn’t. I have a problem only with the package, the lazy, city-destroying form and design. I have a problem with buildings that reinforce the cultural message that we’re not all in it together, and that are blind to Victoria’s extraordinary (but fragile) localness.

 

 

https://www.focusonv...chitecture/129/


“I mean I just don’t understand the big Texas part, like maybe he’s from Texas? I want to know the back story.”


#468 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 07:36 AM

if he wants buildings that better interact with the city’s “vibrant street life” that’s just homeless bums and nobody wants them to get near your front door.

we are not “all in this together” if it means street thugs can invade your common property that you pay $800/mo. in strata fees for.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 23 December 2020 - 07:38 AM.


#469 Mike K.

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 07:42 AM

I have a problem with buildings that reinforce the cultural message that we’re not all in it together, and that are blind to Victoria’s extraordinary (but fragile) localness.

This feels more like a yearning for something, rather than a description of something real.

The Harris Green experiment with zero density limits but arbitrary height limits failed on the day it was released. It was unworkable, forced layouts and floorplans people did not want to live in, and had it been adopted as planned, it would have lead to a wall of 10-storey buildings in every direction with (despite unlimited density) far less housing than we are able to build today.

What Miller muses about was his and Madoff’s vision for Victoria, and it has been relegated to the realm of planning documents past. Can they not see it?

90% of our housing problems stem from the Miller and Madoff approach, and their 50-volume collection, ‘I’m not against density, just this particular density.’
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#470 Brantastic

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 09:14 AM

I'm curious what the author means by the development being "vertical suburbs".



#471 RFS

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 09:24 AM

I'm curious what the author means by the development being "vertical suburbs".


Lol. If you don't like suburbs, and you don't like vertical suburbs, what exactly do you like? House boats?
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#472 AllseeingEye

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 09:25 AM

Typical "scream at the sun" Victoria Luddite: I wonder by "Victoria's distinctive physical signature" is Miller referring to:

 

  • Those lovely oil tanks which graced the Outer Harbour for decades? I'll bet tourists from far and wide just couldn't WAIT to jump on an airplane to see and photograph and tour THOSE babies....
  • The equally fetching Bapco PAINT & SOAP FACTORY which perched right on the edge of our jewel of a harbour, also for decades, and all the while spewing all sorts of wonderfully lethal poisons and toxins directly into said waterway? Look up what is involved in soap manufacturing then consider this town allowed it not only to exist but to pour all those deadly chemicals directly into its main harbour.....
  • Perhaps he is referring to our "historic" Old Town which the usual Victoria naysayers, anti-development crowd and successive city administrations permitted - that is to say they collectively stood around staring at their shoes - for close to 50 years while allowing the entire area to literally disintegrate and fall to pieces because of their irrational fear of "new" construction? That irrational thinking continues to this day BTW as evidenced by the Northern Junk debacle......
  • Or maybe he is talking about that lovely world-class Automobile Junk Yard which sat on the very block Starlight wishes to re-develop standing out like the proverbial eunuch at an orgy. An automobile junkyard. Let that sink in for a moment. On prime time downtown land. Is/was that part of the "experiential Victoria experience" the author speaks of? London has the Mall. Tokyo the Ginza District. New York the Rockefeller Center. Victoria had a junk yard....Hoo Boy!!!!!
  • Oh wait...I know.....he must be referring to the lovely state of the Vic West lands (known as Dockyard Green today) which by the late 60's and early 70's looked like some apocalyptic post-war dystopian landscape? That Victoria, perhaps?

 

There is a perfectly good reason why tourist brochures from the 1950's through the 80's showed ONLY the Empress Hotel and Leg Precinct - because the fact of the matter is aside from them, some nice properties in Rockland and Oak Bay and the Butchart Gardens Victoria for the most part with its oil tanks, lumber mill on the Gorge, Paint Factory at Laurel Point (that one just boggles the mind even as I type it...again), and the unbelievably polluted and disgusting harbour and Gorge waterways, was in fact little more than a grotty, grimy and not particularly attractive provincial town.

 

Collectively if those "attributes" comprise much or even some of our "signature" experience and architecture then thank God the past is in the past, dead and buried.


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#473 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 09:51 AM

 

Do you really think the inhuman monstrosity you’re proposing does anything to advance the singular aims of the people of this city, or the potential for improved and increased citizen identity, not to mention Victoria’s distinctive physical signature?

 

I like many of the words he uses, but then I have to remind myself that I've made all of those same complaints about the current incarnation of the London Drugs shopping centre. It's effectively a suburban strip mall, and when it was built it represented an overt attack on Victoria's distinctive physical signature.



#474 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 10:21 AM

 

I have a problem with buildings that reinforce the cultural message that we’re not all in it together, and that are blind to Victoria’s extraordinary (but fragile) localness.

 

But... what if somebody disagrees and says the buildings DO reinforce that cultural message? What if somebody disagrees and says the buildings EMPHASIZE Victoria's extraordinary localness? You know, by virtue of being a positive & energizing mixed-use redevelopment, rather than yet another pile of downtown-disparaging political poop.

 

Let the record show: as 2021 looms around the corner we're now fretting about the supposed cultural messages that new developments do or do not send. We're now fretting about supposedly fragile localness, as if the debating of what "fragile localness" even means couldn't fill a message board all by itself.

 

Can development controversies in Victoria possibly get any more absurd and inscrutable? The use of elusive weasel words is off the charts now. (all credit to a former forumer who used to pounce on this stuff)

 

 

Don’t know about you, but the needle on my crap-alert meter just swung past “overfull.”


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#475 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 10:30 AM

 

Buildings like the ones proposed are disconnected from the city’s experiential plane and both produce and add to an atomization of residents who are divorced physically and energetically from the life of the streets and the city. This is the symbolic code of such development: to reinforce and intensify physical and social isolation, to disconnect and weaken human community, to de-citizenize.

 

The current complex is a suburban-format strip mall. What are we saying? The suburban format that we vilified for so many years is now the model to emulate?



#476 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 11:13 AM

 

In his disturbing new book, The Tyranny of Merit, the philosopher Michael Sandel writes: “Not only has technocratic merit failed as a mode of governance; it has also narrowed the civic project. Today, the common good is understood mainly in economic terms. It is less about cultivating solidarity or deepening the bonds of citizenship than about satisfying consumer preferences. This makes for an impoverished public discourse.”

 

But what about those of us who live in the real world? How are we supposed to negotiate all of this vacuous political nonsense and playground-level social theory? We don't check Twitter every morning to find out how we're supposed to think, or to learn new buzzwords that we're supposed to employ repeatedly in every conversation until the day we forget all about them.

 

I implore Mr. Miller and others, before we get lost in nonsense tangents* can we PLEASE try to stay focused for a minute and boil things down?

 

1) Was the strip mall format okay or wasn't it? From day one it was ugly, awkward, and sorely out of place, and yet it was embraced by Victorians. The strip mall has been sitting there for all these years, but downtown Victoria is still a downtown that people want to preserve and protect.

 

2) Are downtown residential highrises okay or aren't they? Even the uglier ones have been embraced by Victorians. There are now many highrises, but downtown Victoria is still a downtown that people want to preserve and protect.

 

Maybe things aren't quite as fragile as we like to think? I seem to remember this same point was made by an incoming city manager several years ago now. And we've made the point on this board many times ourselves, referring to numerous examples of tragic demolitions and unfortunate new constructions that would seem to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 

Maybe residential highrise buildings were never the menace we were all conditioned to suppose they were? For our entire lives we've been told the next downtown residential highrise would be the one that ruins everything. This fear narrative goes all the way back to the days of View Towers. We're still waiting.

Boil it down: what are the specific issues? Are the proposed buildings just too tall, too many units, too much density in one spot? Okay, so if this exact same proposal were scaled back by 25% would it be a perfect fit? More of that good Harris Green vibe?

 

*okay, now we can resume our nonsense tangents


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#477 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 11:22 AM

My usual disclaimer: I'm not saying we shouldn't be scrutinizing development proposals. That's obviously why we're here, because we want to scrutinize development proposals. If Mr. Miller has concerns about this project or any other project then I'm eager to hear what his specific concerns are. Personally I'm not even much of a fan of this London Drugs project. I've been wanting redevelopment there for a long time, but I'm not particularly thrilled by what they have in mind. As least not so far, based on the images we've seen.



#478 Rob Randall

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 12:30 PM

It just seems like a generic Burquitlam development. Just everything about it underwhelms me. The developers are not interested in creating something enhances the fabric of the neighbourhood.


Edited by Rob Randall, 23 December 2020 - 12:32 PM.

“I mean I just don’t understand the big Texas part, like maybe he’s from Texas? I want to know the back story.”


#479 Nparker

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 12:47 PM

...The developers are not interested in creating something enhances the fabric of the neighbourhood.

Beyond the replacement of a terribly dated, suburban-style strip mall, and vastly underutilized urban car lots.



#480 aastra

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 12:58 PM

I still don't understand why it wouldn't be viable to add some unique personality to one of the podiums (or part of one of the podiums) and at least one of the towers. If you do that and chop the taller towers down a bit then methinks we'd be getting somewhere.



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