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12-storey Esquimalt condo proposal aims to fill ownership gap

One and two-bedroom building passed along to a public hearing
A rendering for the 12-storey condominium that’s proposed for the northwest corner of Esquimalt Road and Nelson Street. (Courtesy of Aquila Pacific/Casola Koppe Architects)

A proposed 12-storey condominium building that looks to suit Esquimalt’s first-time buyers and those wanting to downsize has been moved ahead.

Council on July 4 approved sending Aquila Pacific’s 109-unit proposal to a public hearing.

The building would sit at the northwest corner of Nelson Street and Esquimalt Road and the proposal largely fits the township’s plan for the site, though rezoning is needed to allow ground-floor commercial space that would likely be a cafe.

Aquila Pacific representative Mark Holland told council the homes and townhouses in the neighbourhood already provide larger living spaces, so this project is focused on one and two-bedroom units. He added the building would also fill a gap in the ownership housing stock. The current plans suggest one studio, 64 one-bedroom and 44 two-bedroom units.

Since the proposal seeks increased density, 10 units will be sold at 85 per cent of the market price.

Councillors had mixed views on that split, with some noting future developments might want to consider including more three-bedrooms and others questioning if there’d be enough interest from families around living in those larger units in a condo. The impacts of the cost increases that come from requiring projects to have more two and three-bedroom spaces were also weighed by council.

Mayor Barb Desjardins said the site would be a great place to house the local workforce, mentioning its proximity to the naval base and shipyard.

READ: Esquimalt sides with core density over parking concerns with 200-unit project

Holland said aspects of the first two floors will try to bring people together by creating a “hub of social activity.”

Those social features will include the ground-level cafe, plus a fitness and amenity space. The second floor will have a lounge, kitchen and dining room, along with an outdoor landscaped patio atop the cafe. The plans also include a 22 square-metre publicly accessible open space on the southeast corner of the property.

Aquila Pacific is looking to include 110 parking spaces, including 11 visitor and commercial ones. The building would also have 109 bike parking spots, one-year bus passes for the residents of the below-market units, a bike repair room and a dog wash station.

An on-site Garry Oak tree would be retained. The developer plans to build planters for increased privacy with neighbours and will landscape the site with songbird and pollinator-supporting native plants.

The developer also says it will improve sidewalks along Esquimalt Road and Nelson Street. Follow us on Instagram. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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