With Victoria’s vacancy rate at less than 0.5 per cent, David Chard’s latest downtown building, Yello on Yates, is stirring up even more interest than usual.
“What really makes it unique is that it is a purpose-built rental project,” Chard says.
As president and CEO of Chard Development and past chair of the Urban Development Institute (UDI) Capital Region, Chard has made a significant impact on Victoria’s skyline, from the 14-storey Juliet condominium on Douglas St. to the luxury 11-storey Sovereign condominium on Broughton St. Yello, located at 819 Yates St., marks Chard’s seventh project in Victoria in the past 14 years.
You are now completing construction of Yello on Yates, which adds 200-plus units to Victoria’s rental inventory. Any insights about the rental market here and its challenges?
Rental is a real challenge in Victoria, in B.C. and in Canada — it’s actually been a challenge to produce a significant amount of rental since the 1970s. That is the major attribute of this project. Affordability is the real challenge [when it comes to rentals], especially today with construction costs increasing. They’ve been increasing rapidly over the past 12 months, and from what we see they will continue to do so for the next 12 to 24 months. For rental, that is a real challenge.
Who do you see as the target market for Yello?
We figure [Yello] will be very attractive to the high-tech sector because there is a shortage of accommodation. High-tech workers can be somewhat transient. They might come in for six to 12 months, and they don’t want to buy. The one thing I continually hear is that it’s hard to find accommodation in Victoria. We’ve got 209 units, and that seems like a lot as we build it, but we think those 209 units are going to disappear quickly when we bring this to market.
What would you like to see happen in Victoria with construction and development?
It is happening, and I will take that down to the City of Victoria. I’ve been very involved with the UDI — and the UDI and the City have a great relationship where we have both tried to assist each other on how we can improve and ensure that more development can occur to help the housing situation. I give full marks to the City of Victoria in that they have listened to how they can help — and they are helping.
Do you have a vision for the future of Victoria’s skyline?
I wouldn’t say it’s [our company’s] vision; I would say it’s the vision of the City and the residents. We have always stayed within the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the downtown plan. Our buildings are within the height of those very important documents. We feel we are fulfilling the vision that is set forth in the OCP and the downtown plan.
Chard Developments in Victoria
Total number of developments: 6 completed, 1 under construction and 1 pre-sales.
Condominium buildings: 6
Commercial: 1 office renovation
Rental buildings: 1 building under construction
This article is from the October/November 2017 issue.