The first crack at reinventing Colwood Corners included a hotel and residential towers, and dates all the way back to 2006. A severe downturn in the economy in 2008 and other unforeseen factors that came into play ground that dream to a halt a couple of years later. The next proposal sparked a flurry of work before bankruptcy put the brakes on that kick at the can, leaving a giant hole in its wake, circa 2012.
So word this week that the Onni Group is putting shovels in the ground later this month and starting site preparation on a scaled down version on what might have been has to fall into the category of good news for Colwood council and the city’s residents.
The project includes 150,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, which should create employment opportunities and spur economic activity. More importantly, though, the roughly 470 new units of living space being added to the 12.5 acre site is a most welcome addition to the region. The West Shore’s reputation as a great place to live, raise a family or retire is drawing interest from a host of demographics, and the construction of new homes for the hordes moving here hasn’t been able to keep pace with the demand.
There are numerous examples in recent years of developments and condo projects in Colwood and Langford that sell out within weeks of hitting the market.
The Brookes Westshore International Baccalaureate School under construction a stone’s throw away from Colwood Corners already has Royal Roads University as a neighbour. That will create an educational hub along what is currently a pretty nondescript stretch of Sooke Road, creating the potential for more growth.
It took more than 10 years to get Colwood Corners up and running, but credit Colwood council for its vision and kudos to Onni for coming up with something that addresses a broad range of needs. While residents will have to wait until 2020 for a look at the finished project, that shouldn’t be a problem considering how long it took to get this far.
It will be interesting to see what else arises during that time, and how much more the face of Colwood changes throughout the process.