The City of Victoria wants to develop downtown land it bought for almost $10 million last year into a mixed-use space that will include over 200 affordable housing units and a community centre. (Black Press Media file photo)

The City of Victoria wants to develop downtown land it bought for almost $10 million last year into a mixed-use space that will include over 200 affordable housing units and a community centre. (Black Press Media file photo)

Community centre, 220 affordable housing units planned for Victoria-owned downtown land

The city bought the property at 926 and 930 Pandora Ave. for almost $10 million last year

The City of Victoria wants to develop downtown land it bought for almost $10 million last year into a mixed-use space that will include over 200 affordable housing units and a community centre.

The city purchased the land at 930 and 926 Pandora Ave. last year and is now partnering with BC Housing and the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) to redevelop the property.

The proposed site would include a gym and child care spaces in a 19,000 square-foot ground-level space. A City of Victoria release said the community centre also plans to host neighbourhood programs.

The proposal also includes 170 affordable housing units, which would be operated by the CRHC, and 50 supportive units, which would be leased by the province. BC Housing said staff would be on-site 24/7 to provide supports that include outreach workers, life-skills training, employment assistance and referrals to other services and support groups. BC Housing added that an experienced non-profit would run the supportive housing units.

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Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said redeveloping the currently vacant property “will breathe new life” into the surrounding neighbourhoods.

“This is an exciting and inclusive neighbourhood revitalization project that will provide a community centre for both downtown and North Park, which have long been advocating for one, and will provide much-needed housing for families and others in need of safe, secure affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis,” Helps said.

The release said the 220 housing units would be funded through two provincial funds.

“This development is incredibly exciting, providing 220 new homes for people who need those homes desperately, as well as delivering amenities to the broader community,” said David Eby, B.C.’s housing minister.

The city said BC Housing will be responsible for the project’s construction and engaging with the community throughout the process. The city says the project’s density and design will align with Victoria’s official community plan and design guidelines.

BC Housing is accepting comments and questions about the redevelopment by email at communityrelations@bchousing.org.

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