Developers of a local project plan to install 68 solar panels on the roof of a 27-unit, multi-family residential building on Alder Street in Saanich. Rendering by Low Hamond Rowe Architects

Developer wants to crown new Saanich rental with 68 solar panels

Alder Street project one of three new purpose-built rentals on the way

Travis Paterson

News Staff

The developers behind a proposed 27-unit rental building on Alder Street plan to include 68 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

It’s part of a move to be more innovative, says Luke Mari, who’s Purdey Group is building the project in partnership with Aryze Developments at 3216 and 3218 Alder St.

It’s one of three purpose-built rental developments the partnership are currently proposing. The others are in Royal Oak and James Bay.

“We are constantly trying to innovate in our development projects, we have others that will be coming with renewable energies to stay ahead,” Mari said.

After nearly a decade without purpose-built rentals there are several on the way in Greater Victoria including a major 14-storey tower at Uptown.

“There’s a need for it, as developers we’re the ones shaping community and there’s a social obligation to do this,” Mari said. “There’s a hole in the market, people need housing, it’s not always profit driven.”

All three Purdey-Aryze rental projects will be managed by Devon Project Management.

Because the cost of solar panels has come down so significantly, they are becoming more attractive. At Alder, the power will tie back into the B.C. Hydro grid but the estimated capture will be enough to power the common areas and also offset the elevators, which are a major electrical draw.

The installation will be done by Power 2 The People, who convinced Mari through their work retrofitting a local condo building.

“The idea is we’ll tie into the grid and maintain a [lower pay rate] for a building of this size,” Mari said.

The building will be constructed to a Build Green standard and Mari said there are plans to include conduits for electric car chargers, though that’s yet to be finalized.

“This is a long term building, and we assume mass marketed electric cars are on the way,” Mari said. “We want to have a charging station ready.”

The Alder units range from studio to two-bedroom units, and are purposely larger than the market standard, Mari explained.

“The two bedrooms will all have two bathrooms, which is different than other new rentals, to accommodate families or roommates sharing the space.”

When Purdey and Aryze took over the land it was zoned for a condo development with 1,300-square-foot units and underground parking.

“The unit sizes were too big, so we changed the design with Low Hammond Row Architecture by shrinking the size of units and removing the underground parking, which is extremely expensive,” Mari said. “Surface parking helps make the cost more attainable for renters.”

Public consultation in the neighbourhood has gone well, Mari added, with a neighbouring Pacifica Housing complex, Accent Inns, and both the border for Mount View-Colquitz and Quadra Cedar Hill community associations supportive (Alder Street is the border for those associations).

The plan has passed through Saanich’s Advisory Design Panel and is expected to make it to council for a few minor variances, hopefully by late summer or the fall.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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Developers of a local project plan to install 68 solar panels on the roof of a 27-unit, multi-family residential building on Alder Street in Saanich. Rendering by Low Hamond Rowe Architects

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