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Developer of under construction condominium asks Esquimalt council for two additional floors, 16 more units

Pacific House, a 66-unit condominium project under construction at 899 Esquimalt Road in Esquimalt, could grow by 16 additional homes and two floors, if a proposal to amend the building's height receives approval from Esquimalt council.  Citified.ca

Developer of under construction condominium asks Esquimalt council for two additional floors, 16 more units
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
The developer of a residential highrise already underway in Esquimalt is hopeful council will permit the addition of two floors and sixteen units, according to documents filed with the municipality.
 
 
Metro Vancouver-based Lexi Group says the economic reality for developers has changed since COVID, and housing pressures continue to weigh on communities facing an under-supply of new-build inventory. Rising costs and rising interest rates, meanwhile, have made an impact on existing developments already in the process of being built. 
 
“The real estate industry is facing significant challenges in bringing new housing supply to market. With interest rates rising at their fastest pace in over forty-years and construction costs soaring 51% since the start of the pandemic,” Lexi Group states as part of its height and density rationale, adding, that “the viability of many projects has been severely limited. This has prompted many builders to reassess and modify their construction plans, often requiring increased density to offset rising costs.”
 
Known as Pacific House, the nine-storey condominium, as viewed from 899 Esquimalt Road at Head Street, and 12 storeys tall as viewed from Wollaston Street at Head Street, could grow to 11 storeys tall along Esquimalt Road and 14 storeys tall above Wollaston Street should Lexi Group’s proposal secure approvals.
 
Under this scenario, the unit count would increase from 66 to 82 homes. The added floors would be situated above the sixth floor, meaning purchasers of the sub-penthouse and penthouse suites would maintain their units on the top two floors.
 
“This could be considered as a rare situation since Pacific House’s structure allows for the additional floors,” Lexi Group states, adding that time for such an approval is of the essence.
 
“Since the construction is progressing, it puts the project in a unique situation in terms of time and when to make the changes.”
 
A schematic depicting an additional two floors at the Pacific House project in Esquimalt.
A schematic depicting two extra floors at Pacific House, currently under construction at 899 Esquimalt Road at Head Street.  Lexi Group
 
The tower’s parking ratio would decrease, from the present-day 1.3 stalls per unit, to 1.05. The new height would increase from the current 34.99 meters, to 40.77.
 
In exchange for 16 new units, Lexi Group says it would gift a suite of nearly 1,000 square feet to the Township of Esquimalt to do with as it chooses.
 
“In keeping with the intent of providing a high-quality density bonusing [sic] package, in good faith and without prejudice, we will be voluntarily offering to provide a complimentary [sic] unit to the Township of Esquimalt with an interior living space of up to 999 square feet to the betterment of the community needs for the provision of any housing needs to be decided under Council’s discretion,” Lexi Group says.
 
On VibrantVictoria’s real-estate discussion forum thread dedicated to Pacific House, buyers have weighed in, appearing unaware of the developer’s proposed changes.
 
“Very interesting, not sure what to make of this as I've never ever seen it in my entire career,” wrote purchaser ‘MarkoJ,’ who is also an active real-estate agent in Victoria.
 
Contributor ‘DavidSchell’ wrote “I assume [there] is no compensation for existing owners due to increased delay of occupancy this would result in,” wondering about potential construction delays and financial impacts from such delays.
 
Partially addressing the above comment, however, Lexi Group states in its package to council that adding two floors at this juncture “will enable us to produce sixteen homes within almost the same construction lifespan,” suggesting only minimal delays will be experienced compared to the current, 9/12-storey massing.
 
 
‘MarkoJ’ added further context to his reaction of the new plans, saying “I bought on the 7th floor and was supposed to have the sub-penthouse and penthouse above me and now I will have the two extra floors, [then the] subpenthouse + penthouse. Doesn't seem like the end of the world? Mind you more people using elevators. The 16 new units won't have parking, etc.”
 
Construction on Pacific House began in mid-2022, and was earmarked for completion this year. The tower's initial height was proposed in early 2018 at 12 storeys above Esquimalt Road with 70 units, prior to securing approvals at nine storeys and 66 units.
 
While a mid-stream height adjustment as a building is under construction is virtually unheard of in the Capital Region, developer Salient Group recently secured approvals for an 11th floor at the company’s upcoming ten-storey rental tower undergoing site excavation along the 800-block of Fort Street in the City of Victoria. Council granted Salient approvals for its proposal, which will yield 14 rental units.
 
Another project, also in the City of Victoria, recently secured council’s permission to walk back affordability measures at an approved development, instead offering $22,500 per unit as a fee to the municipality, and the dedication of parkland. C
 
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