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Lots eyed for Fernwood cohousing proposal re-envisioned as a rental complex

An artist's rendering of a three building, two and three three-storey purpose-built rental complex proposed for several lots at Chambers, North Park and Grant streets in Victoria's Fernwood neighbourhood.  Alan Lowe Architect

Lots eyed for Fernwood cohousing proposal re-envisioned as a rental complex
Following the recent unraveling of a proposal to build market cohousing at Chambers and North Park streets in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood, a different concept has been formally unveiled by a new ownership group.
Dubbed Fernwood Commons, Victoria architect and project representative Alan Lowe has envisioned a three-building complex that will yield 31-units of purpose-built rentals split between a 23-unit woodframe apartment rising to three-storeys, a restored Teacherage Building housing six-units, and a duplex consisting of two-units.
Following two community consultation sessions held with Fernwood residents, Lowe confirms the latest plans for 1802 Chambers Street (bordered by North Park and Grant streets) now reflect a design style in-keeping with the area’s built form.
Lowe also says the changes incorporate a shorter (a drop from four-storeys to three) and narrower main building, allow for additional setbacks along Chambers and North Park streets, on-site parking has been increased from 14 stalls to 22 and an inner courtyard will receive more visual presence along Grant Street.
Pending a successful rezoning application currently before the City of Victoria, construction could get underway in 2018 with completion by late 2019.
The site's previous proposal, a three-storey, four-building cohousing community named Fernwood Urban Village (FUV), would have yielded 31 self-contained strata-titled residences ranging from just over 300 square foot studios to 1,200 square foot family-sized units. A series of amenity rooms would have provided guest quarters, a fitness facility, shared cooking facilities and an art space.
Earlier this year and several years following the concept's unveiling, developer Bill McKechnie of Humboldt Construction and Design Co. issued a statement on FUV’s website confirming that “financial and legal challenges” had forced the cancellation of the cohousing project. C

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