Tour through the proposed redevelopment of University Heights with the artistic renderings below. Please be reminded that these images are subject to District of Saanich approval, and may change at any time.
An aerial view of University Heights from high above the intersection of Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue.
One can see the existing gas station in the foreground as well as Home Depot in the distance, both of which do not form part of the University Heights redevelopment.
Looking at University Heights from across Shelbourne Street, near the new CIBC, one can see the new building along Shelbourne Street now consists of a more urban design vocabulary that will act as a landmark building in the District of Saanich and serve as a gateway to University Heights.
The consolidation of the two previously proposed commercial buildings into this single mixed-use building is more consistent with that which was envisioned within the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.
Moving north along Shelbourne Street, views of University Heights now reveal the pedestrian gateway into the site by way of an accessible landscaped stair and ramp beneath the dramatically cantilevered building providing both an architectural statement aesthetically, as well as the functionality of weather protection.
A strong horizontal design element defines the commercial second floor which will be home to a daycare and office-oriented users such as medical professionals. The upper podium realm will be landscaped with trees adding a vertical element to the landscape design, while enhancing the urban tree canopy to help achieve the District’s Climate Action Plan. Adjacent the pedestrian gateway is the Shelbourne access driveway, maintained and upgraded in its current location, providing vehicle access to both the High Street retail level as well as to the underground parkade
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS PEDESTRIAN CONNECTOR
A close-up view of the Shelbourne Stair, serving as the pedestrian gateway to University Heights, will safely and creatively animate pedestrian’s connectivity throughout the new centre.
Some of the key design features of the landscaped Shelbourne Stair will include: dramatic wooden-clad beams which will celebrate University Heights introducing mass timber development to the District of Saanich; separated stairs, ramps, and walkways providing safe access; access to a public elevator to
provide an additional level of accessibility; a commemorative World War I plaque in collaboration with the Memorial Avenue Committee.
INTERNAL HIGH STREET
An internal site view of University Heights looking south from Home Depot along High Street gives one the look and feel of the internal landscaped streetscape showcasing the ground floor retail with residential above. The redesigned at-grade access from Shelbourne, viewed here coming into the site on the left, enhances vehicular circulation for both Home Depot and the new retailers, as well as provides opportunities for additional public gathering space at University Heights where special community events could be hosted.
INTERNAL HIGH STREET
An aerial view positioned above Home Depot looking south down High Street. From this elevated position one can see the second level daycare and its outdoor play area in the newly designed Shelbourne building.
The Shelbourne building from this angle also reveals the weather protected public plaza being covered by the cantilevered architecture where one might envision café and restaurant patios. Further, this angle also reveals the podium vegetation that adds a vertical element to the landscape design above street level, while also enhancing the urban tree canopy to help the District achieve its Climate Action Plan.
INTERNAL HIGH STREET SET UP FOR COMMUNITY EVENT
An aerial view positioned above Home Depot looking south down High Street. Maintaining the Shelbourne driveway access allows for the ability to close off High Street and significantly increase the amount of public gathering space at the centre where special community events could be hosted without compromising pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle circulation throughout University Heights.
Special community events might include extended retailer sidewalk sales, farmers markets, food truck festivals, car shows, art displays, outdoor concert series, charity fundraisers, family day functions, and other pop-up events. The University Heights team looks forward to working with the neighbourhood, future retailers and community organizations to deliver a hub to host exciting local, community, and regional events.
Viewing University Heights from McKenzie Avenue looking northwest, one can see the McKenzie access driveway just beyond the gas station that will
function similarly to present day, as well as the new McKenzie Avenue transit hub in the distance. The new transit hub design will provide 3 full bus bays and 2 bus shelters located mid-block. The bus bay design of University Heights has provided for a mid block entrance directly into the site through a covered breezeway that will provide additional shelter to transit users, shown here to have a decorative red canopy.
A retail streetscape fronting McKenzie will activate and animate University Heights’ interaction with the public realm. On-street bike parking will be placed throughout the site and ensure there is ample above ground and below ground bike parking for residents, employees, and shoppers.
CEDAR HILL ROAD AND MCKENZIE AVENUE
Viewing the southwest corner of University Heights from the intersection of McKenzie and Cedar Hill looking northeast showcases landscape design elements both at grade as well as the upper storeys surrounding the redevelopment that help to enhance the public realm, contribute to the District of Saanich’s urban canopy, and enhance the quality of life to both residents and neighbours. Also showcased, new protected bike lanes and sidewalks, along all University Heights frontages, that will help ensure safe travel for those coming to the centre or commuting throughout the region.
CEDAR HILL ROAD
Moving north along Cedar Hill looking east into University Heights, one can see through the site past the Cedar Hill driveway to the retail High Street beyond. Parkade access is to the immediate left once onsite. By moving this vehicle driveway access south along Cedar Hill near McKenzie, traffic along Cedar Hill has been minimized. Also visible in this rendering is the Art Walk proposed along the Cedar Hill sidewalk adjacent University Heights. The Art Walk will animate the redevelopment’s Cedar Hill elevation, transforming it into a series of interactive dynamic and individually curated sidewalk art galleries with seating areas for residents and neighbours to interact. It is important to note that the artwork depicted on these renderings are only conceptual and do not in any way present a final design.
CEDAR HILL ROAD
Viewed from Cedar Hill closer to the intersection of Arrow Road, looking back towards McKenzie an alternate view of the Art Walk is revealed as is the podium access. The podium access defines the mid-block public connection that runs east-west from Cedar Hill to Shelbourne through University Heights by way of a safe and fully accessible pedestrian corridor. The design is such that along the way are publicly accessible kids play structures, green open space, and a fenced dog park. Vehicular access at this location is limited to the podium for resident pick-up and drop-off, as well as move-in and move-out activity.
PUBLIC COURTYARD AND PARK
A southern aerial view overlooking the landscaped public courtyard along the east-west pedestrian connection from Cedar Hill through University Heights to Shelbourne showcasing the kids play structure, green open space, and dog park. The design of the courtyard is vehicle tolerant, not dominant, as the paver stone shared spaces allow for vehicle circulation to facilitate pick-up and drop-off activity, at the same ensuring traffic is calmed to respect the pedestrian realm.
Notable design elements include: A unique “bird nest” style playground that will create a unique play experience for children adjacent open green space for both active and passive play; a fenced-in off-leash dog park for both residential tenants and the public; a 2-storey fully programmed resident amenity building, located between the two residential buildings.