Victoria's Christ Church Cathedral precinct eyed for redevelopment to offset seismic, heritage restoration costs
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
Published November 14, 2023
Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral lands could look strikingly different in the years to come as the local Anglican Diocese furthers a redevelopment pursuit for its multi-acre site bordered by Burdett and Rockland avenues, and Quadra and Vancouver streets.
Presently on the 3.5-acre Fairfield site stands the nearly 100-year-old cathedral fronting 911 Quadra Street, a deanery along the 900-block of Burdett Avenue, and Memorial Hall at 912 Vancouver Street and Rockland Avenue, home to Christ Church Cathedral School. Several smaller structures are also on the property.
According to planning documents submitted to the City of Victoria, the diocese has been in discussions with stakeholders and the City over the last two years to gather input on a rezoning opportunity for land bordering the cathedral and its adjacent landmarks (or replacing buildings of low architectural value), while adding housing and other uses. Revenue from new development would help fund approximately $50 million in seismic and heritage restoration work required at the site, planning documents state.
The project’s objectives, according to development consultant Wiser Projects, include:
“Reposition the Cathedral Precinct within the larger community context by increasing accessibility, relate to the surrounding context in a more sensitive and practical manner, and offer increased value to community through more diverse site offers (housing, community commercial, etc.), retain, celebrate, and enhance the Precinct’s existing heritage assets for community members and visitors alike, and create development density to expand the social, community and cultural offerings available on site, while also generating revenue to support the future financial viability, renovation and upkeep of the Diocese, Cathedral, and key heritage buildings in the long-term.”
In order to achieve meaningful densities totalling approximately 200 residences, several plans designed by Faulknerbrowns Architects have been identified depicting height and massing scenarios in between current buildings and on the footprint of the deanery.
Development scenarios include the option for a 23-storey residential tower between the cathedral and Memorial Hall along Rockland Avenue, with a six-storey residential complex situated on Burdett Avenue at Vancouver Street, and a low-rise amenity building west of a retained deanery.
|A massing diagram depicting a development scenario with a 23-storey tower on Rockland Avenue. Anglican Diocese / Faulknerbrowns Architects
Another option calls for a 20-storey tower on Rockland Avenue, a five-storey residential building on Burdett Avenue at Vancouver Street, the deanery replaced with a five-storey building, and an amenity complex west of the former deanery.
A third plan would see a 13-storey tower on Rockland Avenue, an 18-storey tower on Burdett Avenue at Vancouver Street with a six-storey counterpart immediately to its west, plus the amenity building west of a preserved deanery.
The final hypothetical massing calls for an 11-storey tower on Rockland Avenue, a 14-storey tower on Burdett Avenue at Vancouver Street, two five-storey buildings where the deanery is located and between the 14-storey tower, and an amenity building west of the deanery.
|A massing diagram depicting a development scenario with a 11-storey tower on Rockland Avenue and a 14-storey tower on Burdett Avenue at Vancouver Street. Anglican Diocese / Faulknerbrowns Architects
All visions include an expansion of Memorial Hall, and significant land improvements for improved pedestrian access to and through the property, along with beautification of the cathedral’s Quadra Street public realm.
With the project now in its pre-application status with the City, the diocese is expected to further a formal proposal in the coming months as it seeks approvals for a rezoning and potential official community plan amendment. Formal development plans will be unveiled following a securing of approvals from the City for required massing and densities. C
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