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21-storey residential proposal emerges for Sussex and Saunders streets near CFB Esquimalt

A massing schematic of a 21-storey residential tower proposed for the 1300-blocks of Saunders and Sussex streets in Esquimalt, near CFB Esquimalt. Currently on the properties are two four-storey rental blocks.  Intracorp Projects / WA Architects

21-storey residential proposal emerges for Sussex and Saunders streets near CFB Esquimalt
Mike Kozakowski,
Vancouver-based Intracorp Projects has submitted a rezoning application to the Township of Esquimalt, that if approved and built, would yield the second-tallest building in the municipality.
Hot on the heels of a recent approval of GMC Projects’ 26-storey 900 Esquimalt mixed-use condominium, rental apartment and retail development on Head Street at Esquimalt Road, Intracorp’s 21-storey proposal near CFB Esquimalt’s fire hall is seeking a massing significantly taller than the township’s present-day built environment, and well above proposals already approved for the western end of Esquimalt Road.
Currently on the lands, at 1337 Saunders Street and 1340 Sussex Street, are two four-storey apartment buildings. 
As part of the concept before the township, Intracorp will deliver a south-facing outdoor public amenity area along Sussex Street with an approximately 20,000 square foot park, a play area for children and extensive landscaping.
In terms of design, WA Architects’ vision features a mix of exterior colours and materials, vertical shapes and a footprint with a wider west-east frontage. The main entrance for residents is on Saunders Street at Ontario Drive, while a cafe or retail space is planned for Saunders Street at Nelson Street.
Exterior rendering of 1337 Saunders Street.
A rendering depicting the lower floors of a 21-storey residential proposal between the 1300-blocks of Saunders and Sussex streets in Esquimalt.  Intracorp Projects
Comprised of over 350 homes, the unit mix will range from studios through to three-bedroom suites. Parking will be in the form of an underground parkade, according to plans submitted to the Township.
Intracorp recently secured approvals for a multi-phased redevelopment of 129-135 Gorge Road in the City of Victoria, where the company plans to build a rental community in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood that will include public spaces along the Gorge Waterway.
In the immediate area of the Saunders Street proposal, several high density projects have recently secured approvals or are already underway, including a 12-storey rental investment at 602 Nelson Street, and a 13-storey tower at 612 Constance Avenue now under construction, both from developer Aquila Pacific. Last year, Esquimalt’s current tallest building, the 11-storey Vista Senior Living building, reached occupancy and stands nearby on Admirals Road just north of Esquimalt Road. Several lowrise rental apartments are also underway, or recently completed in the immediate area. A short stroll east on Grenville Street just off Esquimalt Road, a 17-storey residential rezoning application is before the township.
Elsewhere in the region, south Island municipalities have shown a willingness to support highrise buildings as demand for homes continues to outstrip supply. The District of Saanich recently gave a green light to a years-long application for a 24-storey tower at Uptown Shopping Centre. Esquimalt, as previously mentioned, approved in April what could be the tallest building on Vancouver Island, a 26-storey tower on Esquimalt Road at Head Street. 24-storey Scene is in the early stages of ground work in Langford, and Colwood is processing several proposals for highrises at the Colwood Corners project, and nearby on Island Highway behind Thrifty Foods.
The Island’s tallest building, the 25-storey Hudson Place One condominium, is situated in downtown Victoria and reached occupancy in 2020. On Yates Street between Vancouver and Quadra streets, last year the City of Victoria approved a development featuring a tower that could reach 32 storeys as part of a redevelopment of the Harris Green Village commercial centre. The latter is not expected to be completed until the mid-2030s, however. C
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