Artist rendering of the proposed 26-storey tower Hudson Place 1 at the corner of Blanshard Street and Herald Street. Council has approved a development permit for the revised project, subject to public input from immediate neighbours. (Courtesy of Townline)

26-storey Hudson Place tower moves closer to fruition

Council votes 6-2 to approved development permit; immediate neighbours can still weigh in

If the Hudson Place 1 tower gets built at 26 storeys, it’ll be downtown Victoria’s tallest building.

In a 6-2 vote, city council approved the development permit with variances for the project at 777 Herald St. – the most contentious of which was to add three more metres to the structure’s height than called for under the previous application.

The building is the third of four phases of the Hudson District on the former Hudson’s Bay Company retail site. The City of Victoria will be looking for a final injection of public input from adjacent property owners before council considers giving the final stamp of approval.

The initial application by Townline Properties was for 29 storeys, which raised many eyebrows, and prompted council to send the company back to the drawing board.

In discussions at committee of the whole last Thursday, Mayor Lisa Helps indicated the stepping up of building heights from the Inner Harbour to the area in question was appropriate, based on sketches provided of the skyline.

Coun. Margaret Lucas agreed.

“Looking at the sight lines, it doesn’t stick out as much as when people just hear the height,” she said, acknowledging emails the City has received opposing a 26-storey structure. “It is in a good place in the downtown and I think there’s enough here that makes it very supportable …”

While staff recommended approval of the new plan, noting that it helped create an “urban amphitheatre” feel for the Hudson District with between-building common spaces and public areas, Coun. Pam Madoff voiced concerns about the long-term impact of saying yes to going higher on Hudson Place One.

Not only did it feel like council was moving back to the one-off style of development planning for downtown, she said, future developers along the corridor would use the project as a benchmark to measure their projects.

editor@vicnews.com

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