First look: Public square and green space at heart of mixed-use 1,500 rental unit Harris Green Village redev
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published December 3, 2019
Plans to redevelop downtown Victoria’s Harris Green Village shopping plaza and a nearby automotive dealership will centre on an expansive gathering and green space, according to a presentation by property owner Starlight Developments.
An approximate half-acre of land dedicated as a central square is at the heart of Starlight’s vision for a 1,200-to-1,500-suite rental project with a wide spectrum of commercial services across multiple parcels in the 900 block of Yates Street (bordered by Quadra, View and Vancouver streets) and the 1000-block of Yates Street at Cook Street.
|An artist's sketch of Harris Green Village's public square between the 900-block of Yates and View streets, looking towards Yates Street from View Street. Hapa Collaborative for Starlight Developments|
|An artist's sketch of Harris Green Village's public square between the 900-block of Yates and View streets, looking towards View Street from Yates Street. Hapa Collaborative for Starlight Developments|
Starlight’s public engagement process began in the spring of this year with the project team gathering feedback on the popular commercial node’s redevelopment potential as viewed through the lenses of downtown residents and neighbours, the business community and a variety of project stakeholders.
“Our public engagement process to-date has generated significant interest from the community and we’ve heard loud and clear how important this area of the city is to everyone,” said Mark Chemij, senior development manager, Starlight Developments. “A modernized Harris Green Village represents an opportunity to create much needed rental housing centred around a vibrant and inviting public plaza.”
After months of initial design work and consultation in partnership with architectural firm IBI Group, landscape architect Hapa Collaborative, urban designer D’AMBROSIO architecture + urbanism, and City Spaces Consulting this evening Chemij and his team revealed their initial concept at a meeting hosted by the Downtown Residents Association as part of the City of Victoria’s Community Association Land Use Committees framework.
|An artist's rendering of a two-tower proposal for the Harris Dodge dealership along the 1000-block of Yates Street at Cook Street, looking southwest from the Cook and Yates streets intersection. IBI Group for Starlight Developments|
Attended by a gathering of individuals keen to participate in shaping the future of what are arguably two of downtown Victoria’s most prominent sites, Starlight’s presentation showcased a series of architectural drawings responding to a widely held desire for more public space in the downtown core, a significant infusion of purpose-built rental housing and a commitment to maintaining Harris Green Village as an all-encompassing retail hub.
The architectural massing of the Harris Green Village properties was presented in the form of three residential towers in the 900 block rising to 19, 22 and 25-storeys, while the Cook Street property includes two towers at heights of 15 and 17-storeys.
Retail is envisioned along the street frontages of both land parcels with residential suites throughout cascading low-rise podiums above.
An application for rezoning will go into the City of Victoria in early 2020.
Starlight Developments, a division of Starlight Investments, is one of Canada’s largest owners of rental housing with thousands of units under management across the country and throughout the United States.
The company owns several purpose-built rental properties across the Capital Region, including a collection of highrise towers in James Bay. Starlight's acquisition of the Harris Green Village shopping plaza and the Harris Dodge dealership stems back to 2016. C
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