Pandora rental tower to introduce 3, 4 and 5-bedroom co-living units

Victoria’s first purpose-built co-living residences ranging from three to five-bedrooms have been proposed as part of a highrise rental tower eyed for Pandora Avenue at Vancouver Street.

The Victoria offices of Vancouver-based development firm Townline, which is finishing construction of Vancouver Island’s tallest building at downtown Victoria’s Hudson District, has updated plans for its 15-storey 975-983 Pandora Avenue proposal to include a refined design and a unique collection of apartments suitable for multi-tenant or shared living accommodations.

Described by Townline as co-living units, 54 homes will be in the form of three, four and five-bedroom suites featuring a combination of bedrooms with private bathrooms, and bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Unit sizes will push to upwards of 1,200 square feet.

The new residences are in response to demand for shared accommodations, namely among those in university or college, where rental scenarios can be on a per-bedroom basis typically in homes converted into multi-tenant housing. Saanich, which is a popular municipality for homes made available to students, has recently begun to clamp down on what it refers to as properties in violation of local bylaws prohibiting unrelated individuals from cohabiting in a single residence.

Townline’s proposal will include traditional unit sizes and layouts alongside the co-living spaces, with an additional 67 residences (for a total of 121) in the form of one and two-bedroom homes.
Ground floor retail space, with frontage onto Pandora Avenue and Vancouver Street, will be situated within the tower’s base. 123 parking stalls will be situated in an underground parkade.
As part of the proposal, the now-closed Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which has stood at 983 Pandora Avenue since 1949, will make way for construction. Although considered a unique example of Moderne Ecclesiastical architecture in Victoria, much of the building has been altered in the decades following its construction and is no longer true to its original form, according to Townline.
“Although the form, scale, and massing of the building remain relatively unique, over the decades, various parts of original building form have been upgraded and replaced. Ultimately, the underlining architectural integrity has been compromised, including the replacement of the original windows,” Townline writes in its submission to the City. “Due to this assessment, this proposal does not seek to designate or retain any portion of the current building.”
However, the residential tower, designed by Rafii Architects of Vancouver, will incorporate interior design cues in homage to the church.
Pending municipal approvals in 2020, construction could get underway by year’s end or in 2021. 
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