This Week At City Hall: Condos, Housing And What P-Dog Is Listening To Right Now

Monday, January 24
CITY COUNCIL MEETING (5:30 pm): Lot of housing things before council tonight — which is nice, seeing as there’s a housing crisis going on.

First up, a proposed high-rise at 2300 Broad Street. Property owners to the north and south are none too happy. They point out that the building is taller than allowed under the zoning for the area and that the building doesn’t really fit the character of the neighbourhood. I don’t know. What do you think? I’ve included a pic of the proposed building with this post.

Man, I came into the p-dog office today to work and as I type they’re listening to Dead or Alive’s, “You Spin Me Right ‘Round.” If Stephen’s editorial this issue feels especially shoulder-padded and purple, now you know why.

On the down side, I think the residents are right. The building does kind of clash with its neighbours and it does exceed the area height zoning by a fair margin. At the same time, it could be worse. The building has a green roof, three townhouse-style condos on 15th and the ground level will include retail and a restaurant. And it’s round. Which is, you know, better than another concrete and glass box.

Council will also look at two affordable housing developments. The first is a low-rise apartment building at 1610 Angus. It’s a Souls Harbour Mission project and will contain 20 units intended for homeless youth. Because the units will be affordable rental, the building will qualify for support under the Housing Incentives Policy.

Later, at 1747 Montreal St, another low-rise apartment building is proposed. It will contain eight “pocket suites” — basically, small-size bachelors aimed at low-income single people. This will also qualify for tax exemptions under the city’s incentive policy. A petition has been submitted by Heritage Neighbourhood residents who oppose the project. Basically, they’re concerned about how much social housing is getting clustered in their neighbourhood and fear the development will attract unsavoury, transient types, hobos and junkies.

Well, admittedly it does suck that social housing seems to get clustered in certain neighbourhoods. It’d be nice to see some of it in, say, Harbour Landing or Wascana View. (Although, good luck catching a bus out that way.) But I still think it’s self-defeating and illogical to use the lack of housing diversity in some neighbourhoods as a rationale to try to scuttle a decent, affordable housing project in another.

Wow. Now it’s Radiohead on the p-dog boom box. If Stephen’s editorial turns out especially twee, now you know why.

Also up tonight is a condo conversion proposed for 4303 Rae St. Sound familiar to you? It should. This conversion was turned down by council back in May on the strength of some letters from tenants stating they felt bullied by their landlord about the conversion. Well, the landlord and the building’s property manager never got to see those letters until after the meeting at which their application was turned down. And when they did…. well, needless to say they felt the allegations were not only false but libelous. They took the city to court to have them re-evaluate the application and won their case.

And that’s why 4303 Rae is back before council. I should write more on this situation later — it really is pretty messed up (and maybe not in the way you think) — but for now I’ll just say I expect council will be much less opposed to this conversion now.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a request for $35,000 in funding to support a bid to host the 2014 North America Indigenous Games, a request to convert a restaurant at 302 Albert St into a nightclub, a proposal to express support for the extension of the federal government’s stimulus program funding deadline, and a proposal to rezone some land at 2315 Abbot Road to accommodate the new Arcola School.

To download the full agenda, go to the city’s website.

Hang on. That’s a lot of Radiohead in a row. This isn’t the Best Of Radiohead, is it?

Man, you guys disappoint me.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

11 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Condos, Housing And What P-Dog Is Listening To Right Now”

  1. Regarding clustering of affordable housing: I’m pretty sure Cathedral still has the highest amount of subsidized housing in the city. So what may be perceived as a bad idea, can also bring students, artists, and other creative types to a neighbourhood – it just takes a bit of time. Stick it out Heritage – you can do this!

  2. I understand some of the opposition, however Broad Street is a main artery and it isn’t unreasonable that the scale be higher than the previous zoning listed (I’d be more concerned if a highrise were going into the Heritage, North Central, or Cathedral neighbourhoods where it really would stick out sorely). There are a few other tall apartment buildings in that area so I don’t imagine this project will be totally incompatible.

    For me, I’m just happy to see the commercial spaces brought down to grade to be more compatible with the pedestrian realm. Opening up the corner of 15th into a bit of a plaza space will be a big improvement as well.

  3. That building looks kind of cool, and it’s across the street from the Canadiana. Also the tall apartment building on College is a block away…. I don’t think this building will detract from the neighbourhood at all.

    Speaking of new buildings…. what’s the deal with Capital Pointe? The Plains has been sitting there empty for a very very long time. How much longer is it going to be that way? At least when it was running, it had life. Now it has none. What’s the deal? I thought it was supposed to be gone a long time ago.

  4. @anonymous: rumour has it on the skyscraper message board about three or four months ago Capital Pointe lost a lot of its financial backing ….

  5. Ah, well that sheds some light. I always found it odd that they were pre-selling condos before the building went up, without any known date that it would be built. How can you get a mortgage for something when you can’t tell the bank when it will exist? I sure hope SOMEthing gets built there soon. That site deserves better. Hey I know, why not re-open the Plains!

  6. Did anyone reading this go to last night’s meeting? (David?) I had a car emergency that needed dealing with so I had to miss it. (Damnable car.)

    As for the appropriateness of the building… I find it ironic that the people who are complaining about it are from buildings I find really unpleasant looking.

  7. Paul: I too was unable to attend last evening’s City Council meeting.

    Last week’s budget meeting was enough of a shock for me for awhile, especially witnessing the surplus slaughter.

    Any idea of the name of the lucky person who’s going to get $75,000 to study traffic on Quance St?

  8. The Capitol Pointe thread on the skyscraper forum has about 20 pages of posts. The most recent talk about internal demolition of the Plains being ongoing, and that to meet LEED standards that’s necessarily more involved than just taking a wrecking ball to the building.

    I’m no expert, but I think pre-selling condos in buildings that have yet to be built is quite common in larger centres like Toronto and Vancouver. There’s presumably different contractual provisions and guarantees that come into play related to deposits by purchasers and target-dates for construction.

    Marketing a project like this in a city like Regina is probably a challenge. You want to give prospective buyers a ball-park timeline to induce them to sign on, but if you’re overly optimistic and end up repeatedly pushing back deadlines it calls your credibility into question.

    In June, I was told by the realtor that 70 of the 144 condo units had been sold. If the project is still on track, I’d expect construction to start by early spring. If it doesn’t, then the original occupancy targets would definitely have to be pushed back.

  9. I was past the old Plains site last night. It was dark, but from across the street it looked like they’d put up a new fence around the lot since the last time I’d been by there.

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