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Refinements to Fort Street rental proposal yield improved design, on-site parking and more units

An artist's rendering of 1010 Fort Street. The 12-storey, 55-unit rental complex was initially envisioned as a nine-storey low-rise constructed with a modular technique. Switching to a concrete design shaved significant height on each floor, and has allowed developer NVision Properties to deliver on-site parking, an uptick in units and a more refined look at a similar overall height. NVision Properties

Refinements to Fort Street rental proposal yield improved design, on-site parking and more units
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
A proposal for over 50-units of rental housing along the 1000-block of Fort Street continues to evolve as proponent Nvision Properties, a sister company of Victoria-based Abstract Developments, makes steady progress towards a finalized design.
 
Known as 1010 Fort Street, the residential complex with a single street level retail unit has dropped an initially planned modular construction method in favour of traditional concrete and steel, yielding shorter floor heights and a more sophisticated architectural statement.
 
Adam Cooper, Abstract’s Director of Development, says that along with an improved overall aesthetic, the decision to forgo stacked modular construction gave way to a more comprehensive mix of residential layouts, an uptick in the unit count and the inclusion of on-site parking.
 
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“Abandoning the modular construction technique allowed us to propose a 12-storey building in lieu of a nine-storey building with only 13 feet separating the two heights,” Cooper said. “We were also able to increase the unit count from 53 suites to 55, and incorporate seven below ground parking stalls.”
 
Initially proposed in the spring of 2018, 1010 Fort’s earlier design pitched a prefabrication construction method that would have seen the building rise at a faster pace. However, due to geotechnical restrictions, the modular technique would not have accommodated on-site parking and relied on simpler massing.
 
And with the inclusion of seven parking stalls in the new design, Cooper says community feedback will help guide the project team towards ensuring the parking supply is directed at where it matters most.
 
“We’re looking forward to engaging the community to assess whether public use, residential use, car share spaces or ride-sharing stalls, or a combination thereof, is the best approach for the building’s on-site parking. Considering the small ratio of parking stalls to residences, this building will appeal to residents who are likely to embrace alternative transportation options and allocating all spaces to an alternative designation may be seen as the best use of that parking capacity.”

1010 Fort Street artist's rendering.
An artist's rendering of 1010 Fort Street, a 12-storey, 55-unit rental complex proposed for Fort Street between Vancouver and Cook streets. NVision Properties 

Rising to 39 meters, 1010 Fort Street’s latest design falls six meters below the City of Victoria’s Downtown Core Area Plan’s (DCAP) 45 meter height limit, and the project’s density is also below the maximum permitted in Harris Green. Overall the changes, Cooper believes, represent a more refined product that reflects the future of the Fort Street corridor.
 
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into sculpting the architectural features of the building to create visually appealing setbacks and terracing, a podium that is more consistent with the existing built environment, and all while working within the parameters as laid out in the DCAP. The new design lightens up the tower and makes it work so much better, we feel, on the narrow site we’re working with and in relation to its neighbours.”
 
1010 Fort Street is one of several developments the firm has underway in the immediate area, with the 75-unit Black & White condominium nearing completion on Fort Street at Cook Street, and the recently launched Bellewood Park comprised of two condominium buildings and a collection of townhomes along the 1200-block of Fort Street.
 
As part of its community engagement process, this evening Nvision Properties will meet with the Victoria Downtown Residents Association to present its latest design and generate additional public feedback.
 
Following municipal approvals, Cooper estimates construction will require approximately 18 to 24 months, although it is too early to say when shovels will hit the ground. C

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