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Old June 1st, 2005, 05:46 AM   #41
aastra
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Wonderwall, I appreciate your point about not wanting Victoria to end up looking like a cookie-cutter North American city full of bland towers. But we really don't need to worry about this because it will never happen. The 1960's and early 1970's are long gone, and Victoria was lucky to get through them with only one major curse (View Towers, which could have been much worse).

Go down the list of recent developments/proposals in Victoria and try to single out even one of them as a harbinger of doom. Shoal Point, the Reef, Parc, Shutters, the Marriott, Astoria, Belvedere, City Place, 860 View, the Wave, Corazon...heck, throw in the Sussex Building and St. Andrew's Square and all of the stuff on the Selkirk waterfront, too...you'd have to be blind or a hardcore curmudgeon to think these buildings are anything but a major esthetic improvement over the wastes each of them replaced. And the anti-highrise crowd should also be pleased, because most of these high profile projects are in fact darned short, much shorter than they would have been in any other city Victoria's size.

Just imagine how nice downtown Victoria could be if there was a striking building on every corner, instead of a parking lot or an abandoned shack or whatever. Just imagine how alive the streets would be if there were more residential buildings downtown -- it'd be like tourist season all year long, except the tourists wouldn't be tourists at all, they'd be residents.

I wish Victorians would stop obsessively comparing their city to other cities (favourably or unfavourably) and start thinking about ways to improve Victoria, period.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 06:05 AM   #42
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^ Nicely said!

I think I will take the two nicest lots in a city on the water and make them into parking lots. Hmmmm. Can't build anything else there because it might detract from the two buildings that people come to see in this city. We wouldn't want people to walk to far from Governmnet Street either.

Still reading the last few posts gives me hope for the city
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Old June 1st, 2005, 06:35 AM   #43
Wonderwall
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That's exactly my point! All the buildings mentioned - shoal point, the reef, the selkirk waterfront - are short. They add to the city without dominating it. Victoria has tons of space to expand laterally, so we need not build anything 40 stories. If you want to fill the holes in the city, and there are many, we should be focusing on lowrises. Two 10 storey buildings fill more parking lot than one 20 storey building does.



The chronic amount of unleased space is not because it is condemned or otherwise unleasable, but simply a lack of demand. It will fill as tourism solidifies again, and developers convert space to condos.

gastown is a hole.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 07:11 AM   #44
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A lack of demand? Commercial space in downtown is expensive. Anyone considering leasing is not about to spend top dollar for an aging storefront.

That is the reason why landlords are forced to renovate their offerings or convert them to alternate uses (which is often the case). Retail in downtown Victoria thrives in modern structures, if you hadn't noticed, where the value of the space reflects the rent one pays.

Back to your 10 storey building over 20-storey building example. Wouldn't it be better to have two 20-storey buildings on those lots? You could house more people that way and surprise surprise, create even more support for retail establishments located on the base floor and elsewhere (otherwise known as creating demand to keep those retail establishments thriving). As for Victoria having too much space available...you're right, we're expanding in the western communities (not the inner city) at an incredible pace, eating up all that luscious space As for downtown, our barren parking lots are all whats left. All that concrete amounts to few hectares, really, not much by any means.

As to the buildings you showed in those photos, the reality is the costs associated with acquiring land in downtown Victoria and developing the property (with ever-increasing construction costs) does not allow for lowrise or even one or two-storey structures. Highrises or extremely blocky, massive structuresj (it's either height or girth I'm affraid) are the only buildings that make sense in the urban core. Anything else just won't fly based on economics.

Btw, the buildings aastra lists are not all "short," in fact all but four of them are 12-storeys and up with one being 20-storeys. Now tell me, what's the problem? Are they bringing more people to the core? Are they reviving their once-barren or underused development sites? Yeah, I'd say so
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Old June 1st, 2005, 05:30 PM   #45
Guerrero
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^Exactly.

Also no one is proposing building a whole bunch of 40 Storey towers in Victoria. 20 - 25 Stories are what we need and they don't all have to be right around the Empress either. A 20+ storey tower behind the old Bay building would go a long way to reviving that area of downtown. Also the reaon that people should think twice about condemning tall buildings is if you allow a taller structure it won't need to have so much girth. This allows more light on the street and preserves view cones to the surrounding hills. I give you the example of the Parc Residences which id had been built 5-10 Stories taller it would not have required taking up that entire lot that it sits on. I would bet that the taller building would have actually have felt less imposing. Also that building on the corner of foul bay road and Oak Bay Ave is a sad example. If they had built it with even a couple of stories of residential it would have provided life to that part of the street even after 5 o'clock. I think that one storey commercial buildings should be banned within the city limits it is a waste of valuble land.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 03:58 AM   #46
Wonderwall
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Talk about Deus Ex Machina.

And as for the new building at Oak Bay and Foul Bay - why would you add people to it? All the buildings adjacent to it are 1 or two storeys. Add life to the avenue after 5'oclock? Yea, good idea. Everyone wants to buy gardening tools, used books or go to the bank when the stores are all closed.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 04:39 AM   #47
aastra
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I like Oak Bay Avenue at night. It's a great place to go for a coffee, go have a beer, go for a walk. Beautiful at Christmas. More people would make it only more attractive, in my opinion. Also, the businesses that are there now won't always be there. They've changed over the years, they'll continue to change.

Thank goodness nobody said, "Create a city where Fort Victoria is? Yeah, good idea. Everybody wants to live on the edge of a stinking mud flat with uninhabitable forests on all sides." Times do change.

Can anybody explain to me what "sustainable development" means in that article? She seems to be suggesting that taller buildings are somehow not sustainable.

Her reference to "principles-based planning" is also confusing. The implication is that highrise developments are somehow not principles-based, whereas lowrise developments are.

One thing we all need to remember: the folks who built the Empress Hotel or the legislative buildings or Christchurch Cathedral weren't being guided by sage councillors on the best way to "preserve the scale of the city". Back then the developers reinvented the scale of the city with every new project.

But then again, I suppose those were the old days. It's 2005 now and we're much more enlightened. The aspirations and attitudes of a century ago might have produced magnificent architecture back then, but similar thinking today could only wreak disaster.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:07 AM   #48
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"Downtown Victoria is already very dense..."

Huh? I would say that the DT isnt very dense at all. What is the population of downtown, perhaps 2000 people?
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:13 AM   #49
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Two things:

First, I don't even know where to start with the comment about Oak Bay Avenue. The Village area in Oak Bay is great as Aastra pointed out verywell. I think it would be a benefit to all of Victoria if that evening life (don't want ot say night life and scare anyone) were extended all the way along to Oak Bay Junction. Why would it benefit Victoria as whole you ask. Well if it was built up enough and by this I don't mean twenty storey towers all along just Commercial ground floor with residential above it would create a new draw for locals and tourists to spend their money at. They say that the biggest problem with tourism in Victoria is that most only stay for the day or over night lets give them more options for places to go so that they extend their visit. To have an extended commercial zone along Oak Bay Avenue would also attract more people to Victoria looking for places to set up offices. Not just retirees. Anyways I think that everyone gets my point. Single storey commercial in Victoria should be illegal.

Second, In response to Pam's article well I think that if everyone thought the way does then we would still be using oil for lighting and pulling stuff around with horses. Everything new is bad everything old is good. Nice!
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:15 AM   #50
jada
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If you have seen Pam Madoffs home you would think that she still does use oil lanterns for lighting.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:21 AM   #51
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Too funny! Only 5 months till the election!
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 06:15 AM   #52
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You really have to read the article before commenting on it. She points out there is more to density than height. So, even if you do think that, for some reason, people in condos contribute more to local businesses than house dwellers, they need not reside in something 20+ storeys.

I am aware that Oak Bay is the best part of the city. Oak Bay has 18k people (and has had for half a decade). It is bewildering to suggest that 20 people living above some stores will affect businesses here. But, I digress; my criticizm of the criticizm of the once-torched Foul Bay x Oak Bay building was that there is nothing wrong with the building as is. After all, the site was a former gas station, and sat empty for quite a while (as they must). A building is always better than a parking lot. Remember?
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:23 PM   #53
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Personally, I think downtown is the best part of the city. Of course I am biased as that is where I live. I think that a more vibrant and longer OakBay village could be somewhere that tourists may want to go and spend time (MONEY) not just ride a double decker down the street. Picture a smaller version of Kerrisdale in Vancouver.

As for density I think that short broad buildings would block out more light from the street then a taller, narrower building would.

On a different note, has anyone seen the plans for the new building on fort street across from the Mosaic building? I would love to know what it is going to look like.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 09:09 PM   #54
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^I think it's a four-storey building with retail on the ground floor. Not too sure on the design specifics, however.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 11:38 PM   #55
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I like the idea of an 'Old Town' (inner Harbour) and a 'New Town' (upper harbour) and smarten up the area around the Bay. Time to sleek it up a little and make use (both residential and commericial/office) of the dockside areas too. Someone had mentioned the location earlier and I do agree its time to up the limits a bit. This area is far enough away from the Inner Harbour that some old dear isn't going to have a stroke at the mere sight of a 28 story wall of glass. I think Victoria is going to be forced to change whether it likes it or not - its 10-20 years down the road.

I'd even like to see the density increased around the university (maybe slightly lower height limits though) , Langford and Colwood. The latter areas need some sort of central focus and contain the sprawl a little better.

Last edited by Tri-City Guy; June 2nd, 2005 at 11:45 PM.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 12:09 AM   #56
Wonderwall
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More density right near the university probably isn't in the cards; certainly not in henderson, caddy bay, or queenswood/10 m. point. That's what they get for not building it downtown.
They are building something - "tuscany village"? at Shelbourne/Mackenzie. That seems like a good area for some new development. All along Shelbourne would be nice to see gentrified. Maybe they could even replace the trees (given to the city as a gift) that were cut down to build that hideous mall.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 12:53 AM   #57
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I think that Cedar Hill X Road and Shellboure should be built up into a little town centre for the uni. Shellbourne is ripe for it especially between there and Hillside mall as it is mostly rundown duplexes.

As for the northend of downtown. I think it is just a matter of time with most buildable lots in the south part of town already either in the process of being built or proposed for building.

Hopefully the Bay will become the next big project we will hear about. If RG Properties (the owner) ever finishes the arena
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 12:56 AM   #58
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^RG doesn't own the old Bay, they had an option to buy it, but didn't take it up. I think it's Townline Group that bought it, Koz should know, as far as I know they're planning on possibly building a highrise on the parkade site, and possibly converting the rest to loft type units with ground floor retail.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 01:10 AM   #59
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Oh I thought it was the other way round. Well I only live a block from there and I would love to have something other then that awful parkade there. Though what that is going to do to event parking for the arena one can only guess.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 05:42 AM   #60
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Yep, ren knows his stuff! As for the Bay parkade, it's hardly used for events (ironic because everyone cried doomsday regarding the parking issue). Townline originally planned to upgrade the parkade prior to redeveloping the site but has since shunned away from that idea as the need just isn't there.

Anyways, that parkade will indeed be home to a new highrise. The full scope is yet to be determined but the plans won't be released until late Jul/early Aug.

And Guerrero, you're right about that area of Saanich. Saanich council stated that if highrises and higher density were to be developed anywhere in that municipality, northern Shelbourne would be an area they'd favour (apartments already litter the streets, the next step is height).
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