Onni Group personnel have begun preliminary work on the site of the Colwood Corners development, although full-blown construction isn’t likely to begin until the later this year and a building permit still needs to be secured.
The project, which passed another council hurdle at a recent meeting when it was granted a parking variance, will comprise commercial and rental residential development on a site that has lain dormant since the failed Capital City Centre project halted construction in the spring of 2013.
It’s unclear whether Onni will be able to make use of existing infrastructure, which includes a large concrete foundation and fencing. “Some of our consultants are looking at it because some of it’s for storm water management,” said Onni development manager Dionne Delesalle. “Next steps for us is re-evaluate the existing site and then move forward.”
The area was recently identified by Colwood residents as the city’s present and future town centre in a survey, although one that clearly needs some work. Residents expressed a desire to see the area become an attractive place to spend a day or an afternoon, with multiple, walkable destinations.
Delesalle believes Onni’s plans, which call for approximately 14,000 square metres of ground floor commercial and office space, should help create the type of atmosphere residents desire.
“It’s got commercial, it’s got office, it’s got amenities, it’s got residential … there’s been significant work on the pedestrian-level connections and plazas. We envision a great mix of commercial (outlets) with a variety of goods and services available in one place … I think it ticks all the boxes from a town centre standpoint.”
Delesalle noted there has been “good traction” on commercial leasing opportunities, with plenty of interest, and that an agreement with an anchor tenant is nearing completion.
He declined to identify any of the potential tenants.
The Vancouver firm has developed comparable properties on the Lower Mainland, but all differ somewhat from Colwood Corners. Delesalle points to Suter Brook Village in Port Moody as a comparable development because of its village feel, pedestrian connections and amenities, although Colwood’s development differs with its architectural features and will be designed with less office space.
“Because (Suter Brook) is on a (Skytrain) station you’ve got office and you’ve got high density,” he said.