The new downtown Victoria fire hall may receive its final review by city council this week before heading out for a public hearing.
The property at 1025 Johnson St. is the first of four phases of the “Johnson| Cook | Yates Development” by Jawl Residential properties and Dalmatian Developments.
The initial building will be 12 storeys tall and include underground parking with 116 spaces, two floors dedicated to the new fire hall and ambulance hub, one floor of office space and eight floors of residential space.
“We have been working toward the transition of this property from its current uses into a mixed-use community for more than a decade and have worked closely with city staff and the community to create an updated amenity package that I think truly shows our commitment to delivering an innovative project that responds to the City’s most pressing needs –affordable housing, improved public safety and welcoming public spaces in the downtown,” said David Jawl, director Jawl Residential and Dalmatian Developments.
“Once complete, it will be the largest purpose-built affordable rental building of its kind in the city.”
The seismically-upgraded Victoria Fire Hall No. 1 will include six dedicated fire hall bays, two dedicated ambulance bays for the BC Ambulance Services’ “rest, ready” location, and act as the headquarters for the new Emergency Operations Centre for the City of Victoria, which will be on the second floor.
There will also be 16,500 sq.- ft. of office space on the third floor, and the lobby for both of these areas will include indoor and outdoor seating and historical fire hall displays.
The City of Victoria will purchase the fire hall for $33.7 million.
The top eight floors will be dedicated to 130 rental units, ranging in size from 365 to 1,011 sq.-ft., all of which will fall under the City of Victoria’s definition of affordable housing. Units will be available at a below-market price through Pacifica Housing, which will own and operate the affordable building in perpetuity.
The rental rates will slide in affordability depending on household incomes which can range from $15,000 to $107,000.
The project will also see a large public plaza on the bottom floor.
Phases two, three and four will be comprised of 14, 15 and 17-storey buildings which will also feature a mix of commercial, retail and restaurant space, as well as residential space varying from studio to three-bedroom homes. In total, the four phases will hold more than 500 residential units. The last three phases are still in their early planning stages and no dates are set.
The plans for phase one were initially approved by council in February, but time was needed for city staff and the developer to finalize conditions on terms focused on affordability and public space.
On Thursday, the final plans will go to council for a first and second reading before being presented at a public hearing at an undetermined date.
If all pending rezoning and development permits are approved, construction of phase one is expected to be completed by 2023.