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19-storey rental tower rejected by Victoria over design issues, shadow impacts

Height plagues proposal despite multiple revisions since 2017
A rendering of a rejected proposal for a 19-storey, 266-unit rental building on View Street in Victoria. (Courtesy of Nelson Investments)

An attempt to bring a 19-storey rental building to Victoria has been axed over concerns how it would fit into its neighbourhood and potential impacts on a much larger housing development.

Nelson Investments hoped to transform a 45-car parking lot at 937 View St. into a 266-unit tower of studio and one-bedroom apartments.

The proposal has had about six different looks since it first came forward in 2017, but design issues and height variances in the version presented at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting prompted City of Victoria staff to recommend the project be declined. Councillors ultimately agreed.

The prospect of rental housing had several councillors hoping the project could be put back to Nelson for design adjustments. However, staff said the developer was reluctant to make any further revisions to the project’s current iteration in prior discussions.

The tower would have been located between View Towers and an approved six-storey building to the east that’s yet to be built. The proposal was seeking nine floors higher than the maximum the site is zoned for and staff said that height would have detrimental impacts on shadowing, skyline view and sunlight access – issues exacerbated by being beside the View Towers.

READ: Victoria staff not happy with design of 19-storey apartment building proposal

Councillors noted the potential for privacy arising from the proposal’s relation to View Towers, as well as the impact on the Harris Green Village redevelopment, being considered across the street to the north.

That has yet to go to a public hearing but would add 1,500 rental units to the block. If both ultimately received approval, Nelson Investments’ tower would cast substantial shadows over Harris Green Village’s planned half-acre public plaza – aiming to serve as downtown park space – for most of the year.

Mayor Lisa Helps said the development would be one of the few she’s voted against this term.

“We have to look at the whole area in context.” 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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