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First look: Victoria's new fire hall and the redevelopment of Pacific Mazda

An artist's rendering of the Johnson Yates Block, a multi-phased, mixed-use residential and commercial development along the 1000-blocks of Johnson and Yates streets at Cook Street. The project's first phase, depicted at-top, centre, will rise to 11-storeys and include the new City of Victoria No. 1 fire hall along its Johnson Street frontage. Future phases will yield three additional towers on lands currently occupied by auto dealer Pacific Mazda.  Jawl Residential

First look: Victoria's new fire hall and the redevelopment of Pacific Mazda

Jawl Residential has revealed its development concept for the first phase of a comprehensive mixed-use transformation of an auto dealership and surface parking lots in downtown Victoria's Harris Green neighbourhood.

Proposed for nearly two acres between the 1000-blocks of Johnson and Yates streets (at Cook Street), the Johnson Yates Block project is envisioned to include four mixed-use residential and commercial towers and a state-of-the-art 41,700 square foot Victoria Fire Department fire hall with frontage onto Johnson Street.

The project's first phase, an 11-storey rental tower slated for 1025-1031 Johnson Street, will go before City of Victoria municipal planners this fall.

Designed by HMCA Architecture, the building will include the new fire hall, an emergency operations centre, a 3,200 square foot ambulance station, 130 apartments and an office component all above a 116-stall, two level underground parkade.

New Victoria Fire Department fire hall

New 11-storey rental tower with Victoria Fire Department fire hall.
An artist's renderings of the upcoming Victoria Fire Department No. 1 fire hall and emergency operations centre along the 1000-block of Johnson Street in downtown Victoria. The emergency response facilities will be situated within an 11-storey, 130-unit rental complex as part of the first phase of a multi-tower development.  Jawl Residential

Johnson Yates Block's remaining three phases on the Pacific Mazda lands will be designed to "create a sense of place, maximize light and view corridors and add vibrancy to the Harris Green neighbourhood." The project will also create a public plaza along Yates Stree that will "serve as a gateway to the downtown core."Although concerns over noise have been raised regarding the transition of the No. 1 fire hall from its Yates Street (at Camosun Street) location to the heavily developed Harris Green neighbourhood, Jawl Residential describes feedback from community stakeholders as "very positive" while confirming that "traffic and noise will be mitigated through a variety of strategies that will also improve responsiveness and efficiency between fire and ambulance services in the City of Victoria."

Pending municipal approvals by mid-2019, the 11-storey first phase containing the new No. 1 firehall could get underway as early as mid-to-late 2019 with completion by late 2021 or early 2022.

As for Pacific Mazda's operations, the auto dealership will remain at its current downtown site for several years to come.

In early 2018 the City of Victoria announced it had entered into a partnership with Jawl Residential to build a new fire hall for $33.7 million paid for through internal reserves. The total cost of the City's commitment, which includes sidewalk upgrades and equipment management, will be $35.9 million. C

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