BC Housing unveils Pandora Ave. affordable rental tower and daycare facility across from Our Place
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
Published December 7, 2022
BC Housing, the Capital Region Housing Corporation and the City of Victoria have unveiled plans to build a 20-storey affordable and supportive housing tower, plus a community centre and daycare facility in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue.
The project includes 47-units of supportive housing residences in studio layouts, and an additional 158-units as affordable homes in studio, one, two and three-bedroom configurations. A commercial component housing a community centre and 36 childcare spaces will total some 16,300 square feet.
The proposed development site, spanning between 926 and 932 Pandora Avenue and the 900-block of Mason Street, was acquired by the City of Victoria in the spring of 2020 for $9.6 million from local developer Kang & Gill, which was in the process of securing municipal approvals for a ten-storey mixed-use residential and retail tower.
At the time of the purchase, Victoria council had considered the formation of a City of Victoria-operated housing agency, with the Pandora Avenue acquisition serving as one of the initiative’s potential first projects. It is not clear whether the City of Victoria will pursue such an organization, or rely on services already provided by BC Housing and the Capital Region Housing Corporation.
Referred to in planning documents as 930 Pandora, the highrise will stand as the tallest building in northeast downtown, and will be situated across the street from Our Place Society’s six-storey homelessness outreach complex.
The architectural firm behind the proposal is Victoria-based de Hoog & Kierulf Architects.
|A rendering depicts 930 Pandora's ground-oriented commercial and daycare spaces as seen from the Mason Street frontage. BC Housing|
BC Housing is not requesting any height or density variances, the organizations says. The proposed tower height of 69 meters with 205-units of residential density are already permitted under the City’s Official Community Plan for the area. The proposal also falls under the auspices of the City’s newly minted Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing (RDAH) process, granting municipal staff oversight over approvals of select affordable housing pursuits, and will be the first such project expected to receive the City's blessing without council's involvement.
In a letter drafted to the City of Victoria, BC Housing says the RDAH “will allow our project partners to build and deliver new affordable housing to those in need with greater expediency and less risk when compared to a standard application process.”
Speaking to affordability, BC Housing notes that the homes will “be affordable through a combination of provincial funding, provincial operating subsidies, and a long-term operating agreement.”
The City of Victoria will own the tower’s community programming space, while operators will be selected at a future date. C
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