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[James Bay] Crystal Court Motel site | Unknown plans

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#1 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 06:51 AM

This is a proposal by Westbank Corp. to demolish the existing motel and replace it with a condo tower and a satellite space for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria beside it.

The site is on Belleville St. in the northeast corner of James Bay. Because it borders Downtown and Fairfield as well, Westbank is showing the project to Community Associations for those areas as well. Architect James Cheng will present to the DRA on April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Silver Threads Centre on Douglas St., across from the old Bay building. All DRA members are encouraged to attend this meeting, after which our regular monthly board meeting will be held.

Here is a preliminary version of the plan. North is at the top (the existing Queen Victoria Inn is shown at the bottom). The condo tower is on the right of the property, across from St. Ann's Academy. The AGGV gallery is on the left. I believe there might be retail in the tower podium. They are proposing an FSR of 3.85:1 and a height of 19 to 21 storeys depending on the width of the tower. That's all I know!

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#2 G-Man

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 07:40 AM

There is a lot of surface parking in that pic which could be put underground and allow for an even larger gallery.

Perhaps this site isn't bad but the proposal is all wrong. If the gallery continued across that whole area and went up say 2 or 3 stories perhaps we could get this up to the 30 or 40 thousand sqft that the gallery deserves.

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#3 Baro

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 09:57 AM

They're going to have a hard time defending the height of the buiding when they've so badly used the space on the site.
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#4 m0nkyman

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 10:59 AM

Did someone tell them that they had to have the exact footprint of the existing building?

#5 G-Man

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 11:03 AM

^ That is exactly what I was thinking. It seems bizarre to me that they would want to do that.

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#6 Icebergalley

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 12:33 PM

Did someone tell them that they had to have the exact footprint of the existing building?


Am doing this off the top of my head and will have to make a site visit... Done... and edited..

All the proposed buildings are located on the east, west and southern property lines.. and the proposal remove 4 of the 6 vehicle access points - 2 crescents off Belleville to get to reception and then the east wing.. and then the east and west access point for parking at the rear of the motel...

.. don't know how tall the lower buildings are..


Also:

with all the narrow sidewalks, no on-street parking, a maxed out # of traffic lanes on Belleville, Douglas and Blanshard, the two remaining access points have to be located to get a vehicle on and off the site safely.. The site has to be able to allow for the tooing and froeing that the development density is creating... lots of challenges..

However, do we want to create a "front door" to the development similar to the way the Marriott has been approved.. ?

#7 Mike K.

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 03:36 PM

With respect to parking issues voiced in another thread, are they the result of a genuine concern or a sticking point for objection?

I have a feeling that should this issue be rectified another unrelated issue will surface to eclipse the latter.

At-present, what exactly are the sticking points for the James Bay community (not us on this board, but the community itself)? There's parking, height, density and...?

Based on media coverage of past projects in JB, I'm curious to see how the issues around Crystal Court evolve from one to the next. Media coverage created the impression that as a developer rectified one issue another was raised.

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#8 G-Man

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:38 PM

My issues are surface parking and too small an Art Gallery. I don't care too much about the rest of the development though it must be pretty skinny thing to topout under 4:1 FSR

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#9 Mike K.

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:45 PM

I should probably elaborate that by "parking issues" I meant the lack of parking expressed in a previous thread.

WRT surface parking is it short-term or handicapped parking or metered for general use? Perhaps its there for individual who may have a difficult time walking to the gallery from other parking facilities?

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#10 Nparker

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:46 PM

I agree with the other posters that the footprint for this project seems all wrong. I understand that locating a tower on the East side of the project makes the most sense and preserves the views from (and sadly of) the Queen Victoria Inn. However, if the image above is correct, the base of the tower is hardly 4 vehicles lengths long, it will have to be "ginormous" in order to make any profit off of the site. In addition, the surface parking off of Belleville seems a terrible use of the land. As previous threads have suggested, as nice as it would be to have the AGGV in the downtown core, there just doesn't seem to be enough space on the Crystal Court site to do it justice. Much better that it be part of the (note the use of THE and not A) revitalized Centennial Square, that includes a new Library as well as a sizable AGGV space. These features along with some residential and retail, would create a true civic landmark of which we could all be proud.

#11 Mike K.

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:49 PM

Isn't the tower represented by the curved dashed line spanning the entire east corner? Sure looks like it but from that image it's hard to be certain if that's the tower or the just the podium.

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#12 Baro

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:01 PM



I was hoping and expecting something like that. Some retail on the bottom, most of the lot being taken up with a big cool curvey glassy art gallery with a roof top accesable sculpture garden, then a really nice high quality condo tower off the back.

3.85:1 ? That's a crime for a city lot. There should be laws AGAINST this low a density, it's a waste of land. A 20 story building shouldn't have the density of a 4 story building. A little pam-fantasy 4 story building with a corner garden/plaza would be about 3.85:1. The PODIUM with the gallery should be 3.85:1. Then stick the condo tower on the back. it's almost like Victoria wants to under-build everything due to some mental disorder hinged on a combo of short-sightedness and a lack of pride/confidence. Someone should write an article!!
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#13 Nparker

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:12 PM

If only Baro!

#14 m0nkyman

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:20 PM

Baro, I'm liking your concept a hell of a lot better than "let's put a tower on top of the motel"

Personally, I was assuming a fully built out, no-setback four story podium, with a roof garden, and then a nice tower. First story retail, second, third and fourth floor as gallery. And go down as many floors for parking underground as needed.

#15 Baro

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:41 PM

here's a ~4.5:1 low-rise that could easily fit on the site and would probably pass with less hassle than the tower and provide quite a large gallery space.



Nice real stone on the bottom floor, some 'good' faux-heritage windows and exterior treatments. Lovely public rooftop garden for the sculptures.

it's a higher FSR than the actual plan, only 8 stories, is broken up enough to not be too bad of a 'fat scraper'. It's dense so we can like it, but it's short so pamco and jamesbay can like it. Everyone wins and the gallery gets a nice large central space. Could even have a little stream going from the top garden to the bottom garden to help spread the raccoon-load between it and the Falls project.

I really don't like the current project, I think it's the worst of all worlds. It's tall which will piss off a lot of people, but it's height without density. A car-centered entrace with SURFACE PARKING and a tiny gallery. I'd honestly rather have a 5-8 story fat-scraper with more density and a bigger gallery. All I care about is the density and the gallery size, as these are the "ammenities" the city is getting. A city's gallery also needs to be a landmark architecturally, excelent striking and hopefully controversial architecture is also an 'ammenity' in this case.

If I was on city council why would I stick my neck out challenging Victoria's extreme height stigma to support a 20 story building that's technicaly in james bay that will provide the area with barely any density and a paltry little gallery? Not to sound like "them", but for once I see the height of this simply for money. There's going to be a small number of very expensive condo's in here. The height is to bost the costs of the units, not to boost the density. Although I have nothing against height and think we often demand too much in terms of ammenities from developers, the reality is that height is often the #1 political 'price' associated with new developments. I do not think this tiny gallery, wasteful density, and poor site plan are worth the political "cost" of the height of this building.

if this was a 15-19 story building with a good design, an art gallery to be proud of, and a FSR over 4.5:1 along with a mix of condo sizes and prices I'd be foaming at the mouth supporting this thing. But as it stands, I'm pretty disapointed, apathetic, even slightly against...
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#16 aastra

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:44 PM

Oh, sure. Add a water feature and we're all supposed to love it.

#17 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

Well, I don't know but that Baro doesn't have a damn good argument there. Any thoughts against?
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#18 G-Man

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 06:38 PM

Wow Baro!

I am sold. I completely agree here. The FSR is just way too low and then you throw in surface parking and a second rate gallery.

I agree boost the FSR and the developer should come out at the end with the same profit. Hell they could double the FSR and still go lower and we could get a way better building and more importantly a way better gallery.

I really like the idea of a roof top sculpture park/gallery.

Are you using Sketch-up?

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#19 m0nkyman

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 06:47 PM

Stop making sense Baro. :P

#20 G-Man

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 06:50 PM

Baro, I'm liking your concept a hell of a lot better than "let's put a tower on top of the motel"

Personally, I was assuming a fully built out, no-setback four story podium, with a roof garden, and then a nice tower. First story retail, second, third and fourth floor as gallery. And go down as many floors for parking underground as needed.


Monkey, I think you have a great idea in here.

The whole podium could be the gallery so you first 3 or 4 floors of the posium and then have the tower rise up out of the East side. That would give a great sized gallery and the tower could still be tall enough to recoup the cost of the gallery.

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