The next chapter in the controversial bid to build a condominium at the former home of the Capitol Theatre was revealed this past week by IN8 Developments. In response to public objection and a city commissioned peer-review report by E.R.A. Architects, which recommended a height “in the low teens”, the developer has scaled down their original 20-storey plan to 16 storeys; plus one if you count the rooftop patio. Revised renderings of the Capitol condo continue to show the building towering over its neighbors by a factor as much as eight times. That disproportionate relationship and the importance of our downtown’s human scale, contributed to the original plan’s downfall, and may continue to haunt this latest iteration, which developers are suggesting as “…kind of it for us“. All things considered, this week’s poll asks:
Are you in favour of the revised 16-storey Capitol condominium?
- No, it needs to be reduced further. (59%, 449 Votes)
- Yes, the 4 storey reduction is enough. (31%, 235 Votes)
- No, it should have been kept 20 storeys. (10%, 79 Votes)
- Something Else (I'll tell you in the comments) (0%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 766
IN8’s pseudo-final offer is based upon their claim that the project would not be profitable if further height reductions were required. While that may in fact be the case, the hard position provides little optimism for those who support development in principle, but aren’t entirely satisfied with a 4-storey reduction.
The developer’s position puts the city between a rock and a hard place with respect to promoting development, expanding the tax base, rejuvenating downtown and respecting heritage and proportional scale. Thus the multi-million dollar question is whether or not the city will respect the official plan and the results of the peer-reviewed study by rejecting the 16-storey Capitol, and ultimately risk killing the idea once and for all. But if by some miracle another revised pitch is forthcoming, what might plan c resemble? With pressure mounting and a precedent in the making, how many storeys are too many? More importantly, how many storeys would you limit this project to?
Image credit IN8 Developments.