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200 Douglas
Use: condo
Address: 200 Douglas Street
Municipality: Victoria
Region: Urban core
Storeys: 6
Condo units: (1BR, 2BR, penthouse)
Sales status: now selling
200 Douglas is a 38 unit luxury condo situated across the street from Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.

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[James Bay] 200 Douglas | Condos | 6-storeys | Built - completed in 2014

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#41 Mike K.

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 12:07 PM

Do we know what the current state of that building is? It may be aesthetically sound but there may very well be internal issues that need a significant amount of investment to fix or replace. I'm currently undecided about this proposal but it makes me wonder why a developer would spend millions more on a lot that already has a structure on it instead of spending less to buy an empty parking lot.

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#42 aastra

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 01:03 PM

It makes you wonder. I still don't understand (for example) why that parking lot behind Laurel Point is still there. When they built Harbour Towers it seems they assumed something would eventually be built on that side. Subsequent development along the waterfront has nevertheless left a nifty view corridor through to the harbour. Is 200 Douglas really so much juicier a site?

And then there are the lots around the Legislature...



#43 rjag

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 01:43 PM

If a computer is REALLY low on ram and all the current ram manufacturers arn't make any new ones for the near future at least, you wouldn't get rid of the little ram you have to trade it in for a faster video card or processor, no matter how good the upgrade is. Just like a computer, a city is a bunch of different parts functioning together. Replacing a small or cheap or old component of one critical use for a new fast component of a totally different use isn't always an upgrade. You can't run a computer made entirely out of ram, or entirely out of 3d cards. Just the same with a city, you can't have a functioning city of just condos, or just offices. Right now victoria really needs more rentals, so replacing a perfectly fine rental with ANYTHING other than a rental just doesn't make sense for the function of the city.



Excellent point even though I had to read it twice. If rentals offered a proper ROI based on the cost of land and / or construction, there would be a ton of rentals being built. However the cost of land is significantly higher than 5 or 10 years ago, therefore it doesnt justify rentals. Same argument applies why more condos are being built when we have very little commercial supply in the core, the roi doesnt cover the investment.

#44 gumgum

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 03:48 PM

Baro's analogy tells me that he's been spending to much time in the geek district. ;)

#45 G-Man

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 04:56 PM

^ Ummm I believe that is the Nerd District SHEESH!

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#46 Holden West

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 08:41 AM

Is Murray taking over from Brennan? Are we seeing a renaissance of balanced reporting in Victoria's print media?

Condo plan sparks criticism

By Murray Langdon
News contributor

Sep 19 2007

Developer says proposal will significantly increase housing density in downtown Victoria

Like it or not, a few dozen James Bay residents could face a change of address next year.

Developer Dennis Nyren has a vision to build a 12-storey condominium development overlooking Beacon Hill Park. If approved, the 37-metre-tall building would force the demolition of the Emily Carr Apartments, 200 Douglas St.

Tenants at the building, which Nyren bought in January, fear the loss of their homes.

“Every time an apartment is torn down, a condo goes up,” said Bill Huot, a 14-year resident of the building. “Then what happens?”

Laura Beaubien, a seven-year resident on the three-storey building’s top floor, pays $750 a month for her two-bedroom place. She says the uncertainty of what will happen has already forced some residents to find another place to live.

“I heard a rumour over a year ago, so I started looking,” she said. Her search to find similarly priced accommodation has proved fruitless.

Pieta VanDyke, secretary of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, is concerned with the proposal.

“We have a neighbourhood plan and this is contrary to the plan,” she said. “It’s setting a dangerous precedent.”

The loss of the 28-units would leave many of the tenants in a bind that they might not be able to get out of. She believes that even if any of the 69 condo units are made available for rental, they’ll be well out of the price range of the Emily Carr’s tenants.

“The city needs to take responsibility for this housing crisis,” said VanDyke.

Chris Coleman, city council liaison for James Bay, admits there are a number of issues that council will be looking at, such as the height and design of the building, along with the pitch to twin the end of Simcoe Street in order to access the development’s underground parking.

“There’s a whole slough of things that are fair discussion points,” he said.

Coleman, who attended a recent meeting with the public and the development team, understands why residents are concerned, but added there are already a number of tall buildings at the park’s edge along Douglas Street, something that’s not uncommon in cities all over the world.

“There are examples of height in Europe and the United States where height is built around the park,” said Coleman.

And that’s something Nyren says he believes in: creating more housing, in an appropriate fashion and location.

“Look at Vancouver, Seattle, New York; they made it work. (This project) would significantly increase the density,” he said. “That’s people and that’s a number of homes.”

Nyren conceded that even if some of the condo units were bought by investors willing to rent them out, they would be more expensive than what the Emily Carr tenants are paying now because of the high quality of the homes.

But the Emily Carr Apartments have outlived its use, he said, adding it’s beyond repair.

Nyren wants to build an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable building that addresses many of today’s environmental concerns, something the Emily Carr does not.

“It’s worn out and outdated,” in reference to the lack of an elevator or any balconies, “and it’s incredibly inefficient.”

But that old-world charm is something tenants say they like about the building, concerned with the idea of having a 12-storey cookie-cutter tower take their building’s place.

“We want people to understand the severity of this crisis,” said VanDyke. “We need to stop the demolition of affordable housing.”

VanDyke said there are development opportunities along Michigan Street and neighbouring blocks that would be more suited to such a project.

“We welcome higher density housing in James Bay,” she said. “But this is not the place for it.”

Nyren empathizes and says he feels genuinely bad for any resident that may be displaced. But he insists it’s not necessarily a developer’s responsibility to fill that void.

“It’s the federal government’s job to put this on the radar and create a policy that encourages that kind of development.”

Coleman said city council’s approval of the project is well off in the distance, with the developer having to deal with the advisory design panel, the advisory planning commission and the traffic department. If approval for this, or a scaled-down version, is approved, Nyren believes construction could start sometime next year.

========

If they're going to approve it, they might as well approve it near the height/density requested. At least the housing stock will be increased. But I'd still rather see it somewhere else, like a parking lot. It may be a little run down, but I like to see these building run completely into the ground before they're demolished, as long as the management is decent. A run down but safe, clean building with good management is great for people on the fringe of affordability, like students, welfare folk and others having trouble scraping together a thousand bucks a month. Too bad buildings like this are a rare commodity getting rarer.

IMO, a small run-down building like this is more pleasant to live in than a big run-down building like View Towers.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#47 G-Man

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 08:58 AM

^ Wow that was balanced, except that it seems to say that the JBNEA would be jumping for joy if this was on the empty lot on Michigan which we know is not true considering how that was dealt with last year.

Holden - I am not sure what you mean when you say these buildings are becoming rare in Victoria. I don't think we have actuallly lost any cheap rental accomodations and I know of three projects to increase it. Perhaps prices are going up but that's the economy, the buildings remain.

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#48 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:04 AM

^ Yes, I did a double-take over this: "“Every time an apartment is torn down, a condo goes up,” said Bill Huot, a 14-year resident of the building. “Then what happens?”" and this: "“We want people to understand the severity of this crisis,” said VanDyke. “We need to stop the demolition of affordable housing.”"
Those quotes make "the demolition of affordable housing" sound like an on-going crisis, but off the top of my head, this is the only apartment building I can think of, and other than that, what has been demolished were the SFH rentals on Sutlej (for Castana, stalled). Are there apartments being torn down in other neighbourhoods and I'm not paying attention to that, or is this a perception issue again?
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#49 Holden West

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:19 AM

Yes, now that I think of it the only apartment I can recall being demo'd is the apartment on the Castana site (probably about 20 suites or so).
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#50 Mike K.

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:30 AM

So it appears that this structure may very well be in a state of disrepair and the costs to fix it would increase the rental rates anyways.

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#51 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:39 AM

Oh of course, the Castana demo included that neat apartment building on Cook... D'oh, how could I leave that off? (And FWIW, Max T. didn't cover himself in glory by taking that apartment building down, especially since the project then stalled, regardless of whose fault that was... )

There's also an apartment building that looks like it was condemned or something up on Cook, nearly at Bay (just south of), on the East side of Cook. It looks like it is (or was?) in very bad shape, but I can't think if it's being rehabbed or demo'd. (Its basement windows were boarded up, with the words "no copper wires" spray painted across them...)

The Mount Douglas at OB Junction got a paint job -- so I hope that means it's not in danger of getting axed. I don't get over to the Gorge or too often into Fernwood, so I don't know what's happening there. But really, this 200 Douglas proposal stands out precisely because it proposes to demolish a well-run/ functioning apartment building. That's rare around here.
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#52 Mike K.

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:04 AM

My understanding is that the apartment Max leveled was in such a state of disrepair that the manager of the building actually spoke to council during the public hearing to outline the health and safety concerns the building posed (this would make the case that preserving the building would be economically unfeasible). Council stared at him wide-eyed when they heard all the details and suggested that staff prepare an immediate inspection by bylaw officers and engineers to gauge whether or not the building should be condemned right then and there :lol For obvious reasons Max wasn't thrilled by their decision.

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#53 aastra

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 11:31 AM

But that old-world charm is something tenants say they like about the building, concerned with the idea of having a 12-storey cookie-cutter tower take their building’s place.


Old-world charm, my butt. THIS building is cookie-cutter. It's a cookie-cutter lowrise.

The term "cookie-cutter" is not used correctly by most Victorians.

#54 G-Man

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 11:39 AM

Also you can buy a few different types of cookie cutters and then you can't tell right? :)

I believe that the building on Cook St. has recently been bought. If I had a whack of cash I would have bought it too. I would suspect it will be market housing after a reno.

Any chance to speak publicly about this proposal soon? I would love to talk about rental accomodations at a city council meeting.

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#55 Caramia

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 12:00 PM

The fact that Max deferred maintenance on both of his buildings (the apartment and the house next to it on Sutlej) should hardly have been a valid support for his wish to tear them down. The last tenants of the house had to close off the upstairs cause the roof was leaking. After they moved out, it sat vacant and collected rats and squatters. I really wish we had some kind of mechanism by which we could penalize landlords of vacant or derelict buildings. Instead, we reward them by letting them tear down buildings that, with proper maintenance could have stood for many more years. It just seems wrong.
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#56 Barra

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:14 PM

I wouldn't say that the Emily Carr Apts (200 Douglas St) is particularly beautiful, but it is solidly built. One of the tenants invited us inside and the suites are really nice - sunny, nicely laid out, with hardwood floors. I can see why a developer would want to build $800,000 condos on this site.

As for the proposed tear downs, this is the second proposed apartment tear down for JB in the past few months. I really do thin that 1960's walk-up apartment buildings are at risk, when a developer's return from a condo building that he can sell and walk away from is considerable.

I actually like the design that d'Ambrosio proposed for this site. I think it would look great as a replacement for the Swiftsure (Day's Inn). The design submitted by the Moore/Paterson Group for the Days' Inn site was the worst boring contemporary box that I've seen in ages. The design was savaged by those present at the JBNA meeting when it was submitted. It is proposed to be a Hilton Hotel. The members wanted me to write to the Hilton chain (among others) to let them know how bad it was. So I did.

The JBNA actually DOES want higher density (surprise, surprise) on the government parking lots - Menzies/Kingston/Superior and Superior/Menzies/Michigan. There is a plan for that area - the Legislative Precinct plan - which needs to be updated (in my opinion) to be even more dense than it currently suggests. It would be a great location for mixed development - offices, retail, services and housing. We will be approaching the provincial government to let them know that we'd like them to get on with building on these sites.

The problem that the JBNA had with the 640 Michigan proposal was not so much the density, but the setbacks on the north side. The NW corner of the site is adjacent to a CRD townhouse complex that was built too close to their southern property line. There are a number of units in that complex that face south and have their only windows on the south side. The families living on that side would have been totally boxed in and overshadowed by the proposed development.
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#57 gumgum

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 10:09 PM

Barra, can you please keep us informed of JB related issues?
It's invaluable to hear up-to-date opinions by members of neighbourhood associations.

#58 Barra

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 01:15 PM

Sure, no prob.

Pieta (aka Barra)
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#59 renthefinn

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 11:27 PM

What's wrong with having to look at another building out your window? I have to pay big for it, I can't afford a partially unobstructed view let alone an unobstructed one, supportive housing shouldn't have to pay for these privileges? Makes me think I should quit my decent paying job and apply for disability so I can demand a view from my supportive housing!

#60 Nparker

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 10:01 AM

Touche Ren!

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