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1693 Fort

Compact & Innovative Rental Accommodation for Students

Located within walking distance to urban village centres

The project is an innovative housing concept that will provide rental accommodation for students within close walking distance of both the Jubilee and Stadacona Large Urban Villages.

The compact form will be an urban marker at this Fort Street pedestrian node and presents neighbourly and fine-grained contemporary façades on the Fort Street and Belcher Avenue frontages.

Design Inspiration

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The building expression is both contemporary and dignified. The main palette of the building is light toned and neutral, comprised of light and medium grey metal panels, charcoal window frames, and architectural concrete.

Commissioned artwork is to be integrated with the architecture, and will be visible at the building entrance, through the bike room glazing, and at the penthouse roof overhang. With the curated artwork as an accent, the building materials will compliment rather than compete with the surrounding mix of building styles. While the materials palette is restrained, the expression of the building has a subtle playfulness, which took inspiration from a student’s bookcase.

The façades at Levels 2–5 are designed so that each storey reads as a horizontal ‘shelf’. Vertically proportioned bedroom windows are arrayed on these ‘shelves’ in a randomized pattern; these elements are set within a field of textured profiled metal panels conceived as the paper edges of a book, turned backwards on the shelf. These patterned lengths are bracketed by the living room window bays, which project out from the main façade and tie the storeys visually together. One feature bay projects out at an angle, marking the main building entrance below on Fort Street.

Project at a Glance

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Height

Stepped 6-Storey
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Site Area

9,644 sqft
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Floor Area

26,813 sqft
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Floor Space Ratio

2.78 FSR
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Number of Homes

23 Homes
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4 Bedroom Pods

12 Units (62%)
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2 Bedroom Pods

7 Units (30%)
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3 Bedroom Pods

4 Units (18%)
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Car Parking Stalls

7 Stalls
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Pre-Wired for Electric

7 Stalls
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Car Share

74 Modo Memberships
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Bike Stalls

88 Stalls
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Long-Term Bike Stalls

85 Stalls
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Short-Term Bike Stalls

3 Stalls

Site Layout & Building Form

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This area of South Jubilee is a heterogeneous mix of commercial and residential uses, from single family character homes to multi-family and longterm care.

Neighbouring buildings are characterized by an informal relationship to Fort Street and include a range of building styles, composed mainly of stucco and painted wood cladding, with some brick accents.

Policy Context

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The subject property is located on the border of the Jubilee Large Urban Village and near the Stadacona Large Urban Village, in an urban residential area.

In the Official Community Plan (OCP), urban villages are envisioned to absorb 40% of all population growth yet they only make up 3.5% of the city’s land base. As such, we need to be careful about redevelopment to ensure these scarce lands are utilized appropriately.

The housing forms characterizing these areas are low-rise and mid-rise multi-unit buildings up to six storeys including townhouses and apartments, freestanding commercial, and mixed-use buildings. The density envisioned for the Large Urban Village areas is up to 2.5 FSR.

Our project, as proposed, is at 2.78 FSR which is above the OCP allowance. There are provisions in the OCP to exceed the stated density for the advancement of certain plan objectives; in our case, the objectives are rental housing, affordable housing, and public art.

This project is supported by not only the current OCP but also by the Housing Strategy Phase 1 and 2, Go Victoria Mobility Plan, Climate Leadership Plan, upcoming Missing Middle Housing Study, and dozens of action items in the 2019 -2022 Strategic Plan.

Why Student Rental?

Each year, more than 52,000 students attend a post-secondary institution within the Capital Region, approximately 7,000 of which are international students.

Two of the three major post-secondary institutions do not have any provisions for on-campus housing and the University of Victoria only has the capacity to house about ten percent of their total student population. With the insufficient availability of on-campus housing, the vast majority of university students are independent renters. The unregulated, off-campus housing that is scattered throughout the region does not necessarily provide an environment to foster education and has little to no control on housing conditions or rental rates.

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Transportation

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Street Network

Fort Street is a two-way street extending west/east is classified by the City of Victoria as an arterial road. Belcher Avenue is classified as a local road.

Walking & Cycling
  • The site is well connected to both walking and cycling networks. Fort Street is part of Victoria’s regional cycling network and downtown can be accessed in 10 minutes via bike lanes on Fort Street or the cycle track on nearby Pandora Avenue. Continuous bike lanes on Foul Bay Road and Henderson Road provide students with a direct cycling route to Camosun College Lansdowne Campus and the University of Victoria.
  • All streets surrounding the development site have sidewalks as well as controlled pedestrian crossings at major intersections.
  • The City of Victoria is rapidly upgrading its network of All Ages and Abilities (AAA) cycling infrastructure. Plans call for the existing cycling lanes on Fort Street and Pandora Avenue to be upgraded to protected cycling lanes, creating a continuous AAA cycling route that connects the site to Victoria’s downtown area. In addition, new AAA cycling routes will be created on Leighton Road and Stanley Avenue. These cycling upgrades are scheduled to be under construction in 2021 and completed in 2022. Students are often interested in cycling but concerned for their safety when riding adjacent to heavy traffic, so it is anticipated that these protected AAA cycling facilities will increase the rates of cycling to and from the development. With its large volume of bike parking, the proposed development at 1693 Fort Street is well-positioned to support the anticipated cycling demand.
  • The location is within a walking distance of most everyday amenities and services, and all daily errands can be accomplished either on foot or on a bike. Walk Score is an online tool that assesses the walkability and bikeability of a location based on distances to a wide variety of amenities and services. The site scores a 75 for walkability which it defines as “Very Walkable”.
  • The location receives a Bike Score of 93 out of 100, placing it in Walk Score’s “biker’s paradise” category. This already high score is expected to improve with the cycling upgrades performed over the next few years.
Car Share

Modo is currently the only car share provider in Victoria with a fleet of over 85 vehicles. Across BC, Modo has over 800 vehicles with car drops at BC Ferry terminals and other transit hubs, allowing for a true car-lite lifestyle. A study completed for the City of Toronto found that on average 21% of car share members were able to shed a vehicle while 45% were able to postpone the purchase of a vehicle. A University of California study found that on average each Modo vehicle removed up to 11 private vehicles due to users selling their vehicles or foregoing the purchase of a vehicle.

The site has five Modo vehicles within a 10 minute walk which is commonly regarded as walkable. The closest Modo vehicle is located 200 m away on Jubilee Avenue near Oak Bay Avenue. Approximately 20 other Modo vehicles are located in downtown Victoria, which is easily accessible by bike or transit.

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Transit
  • The site is well served by transit. The proposed development site is surrounded by seven major transit corridors, all within 400 metres—a 5 minute walk. The transit table presents nearby transit routes and approximate distances from the development site to bus stops. Buses along these routes are designed to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, and mobility aids.

  • Students at the University of Victoria, Camosun College, and Royal Roads University have unlimited, discounted access to public transit through the U-PASS, which is paid for automatically in their student fees. With high service frequency, short travel times, and a low cost, public transit is expected to be a popular option for most student residents.

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Aryze Philosophy

As an integrated team of home builders, developers and urban planners, we’re deeply committed to increasing the quality of housing—and the quality of communities—in Victoria, BC.

Approaching every project with intention and care, we aim to contribute to the built environment in a way that enhances your sense of space and your sense of place. It’s in this commitment that we strive to create a lasting impression on the cities, neighbourhoods and homes in which we build.

Learn More About Our Approach

Stay Informed

If you would like to be included on project updates for our proposed development at 1693 Fort, please fill out this form.

If you have a specific question about the project, someone from our Development team will be in touch.

Aryze Developments
1839 Fairfield Road
Victoria, BC V8S 1G9
community@aryze.ca
250 940 3568