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Capital’s first co-living suites pitched as partial answer to the housing crunch

16-storey building will include 54 co-living units; a new trend in lower-rent living
A rendering of Townline’s development at the southwest corner of Vancouver Street and Pandora Avenue in Victoria. (Photo courtesy of Townline)

Townline developers have been approved to build Victoria’s first apartment with co-living units.

The 16-storey rental building approved for the southwest corner of Pandora and Vancouver Street will have a total of 121 rental units built on top of commercial space. Fifty-four fully furnished living pods of three, four and five bedrooms will include a shared kitchen and living area, according to a release from Townline. Most bedrooms will have an ensuite washroom.

“With the low rental vacancy rate in Victoria we recognized this was a time to be creative and ensure we designed homes for a wide variety of people,” said Chris Colbeck, senior vice-president of the Vancouver-based company. “Co-living is popular throughout North America and provides people with the opportunity to be part of a true community or vertical neighbourhood.”

The development moved ahead with the City of Victoria’s granting of permits for increased height at the downtown corner on Jan. 13, following a stage of public input discussed by council on Dec. 9.

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Co-living has recently become popular with 25 to 35-year-olds relocating for short or long-term employment opportunities, travelling, recently arriving in cities or looking to expand their social network, the developers continued in their release. It also increases the stock of lower-rent housing not necessarily classed as affordable housing.

While already developed in cities such as Toronto, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York, this will be the first rental building of its kind in Victoria.

“If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that urban loneliness exists and people crave human connection, community, flexibility and don’t want to live in isolation,” Colbeck said. “This building provides the opportunity to live in new amenity-rich rental accommodations with a built-in social life.”

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