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Fairfield rental proposal back before planners with fresh design, new unit count

A rendering of 1120 Burdett Avenue, a five-storey rental complex envisioned for 1120-1128 Burdett Avenue in Victoria's Fairfield Avenue. Empresa Properties / Curate Developments

Fairfield rental proposal back before planners with fresh design, new unit count
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
A proposal for a rental complex in Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood is back before the City with a third design revision and a new development partnership.
 
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Empresa Properties has been pursuing approvals for a residential building at 1120-1128 Burdett Avenue for several years, with plans initially calling for a 36-unit, four-storey condominium before switching gears in favour of a 44-unit, four-storey rental building.
 
In early 2020 the direction shifted once more with a new architectural firm (Cascadia Architects) at the helm having unveiled a five-storey concept encompassing 42-units, and Victoria-based Curate Developments teaming up with Empresa.
 
“It’s been a long time coming,” says Karl Robertson, head of Empresa Properties. “The City’s vision for the Fairfield neighbourhood has changed considerably since our initial proposal went before planners in 2016, and we’ve change course to realign this project with the new community plan.”
 
The project’s new design approach incorporates a central landscaped courtyard which references similar traditional multi-unit buildings throughout Fairfield. The building also tiers back away from Burdett Avenue, presenting three-storeys along the street edge and terracing back to four and five-storeys to the north of the property. The distinctive rounded corners emphasize the central courtyard, presenting a soft and approachable edge to the design.
 
“I don’t believe architectural design was the reason the former proposals had been turned down,” said Sam Ganong of Curate Developments. “But given the recent changes to the community plan that are more favourable towards new purpose-built rentals, we felt the opportunity to look at the project’s design from a completely fresh perspective and through collaboration with Cascadia Architects would result in something special.”
 
With the partnership’s new plans now before the City, Ganong estimates the rezoning application will extend into the fall, with approvals expected by late 2020.
 
“Provided the City gives us the go-ahead this fall, we estimate construction will begin in 2021 with completion some time in 2022.”
 
Development proposals have historically been contentious in Fairfield, where community opposition to high density projects has lead to extended municipal planning scenarios dragging out for years.
 
However, in recent years multiple projects have prevailed and are in the final stages of construction, in the pre-construction stage, or nearing approvals. Most notable among them are Urban Core’s five-storey 200 Cook Street rental building in the Cook Street Village, JN Development Group’s Unity Commons rental building at the intersection of Fairfield Road and Moss Street, and Aragon Properties’ Cascadia Architecture-designed condominium on Cook Street at Pendergast Street. C

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