Businesses in the Colwood Corners plaza have started clearing out to make way for the City Centre development.
Those that remain have until the end of November to move to new locations – some within the plaza and some offsite – before the southern section of strip mall that used to include Fairway Market is leveled make way for the first five-storey building.
Adam Gant, founding partner of the developer League Assets Corp., said what could grow into the third largest construction project in Canada is on track to begin site preparation by the end of the year.
“There’s lots going on behind the scenes,” Gant said. “We’ve hired extra people to keep it moving. It’s a huge team, about 50 people, just working on this project.”
London Drugs and other commercial tenants slated for street-level retail locations in the first building are signing off on architectural drawings of what their new space will look like. The 76 condo units are up for private sale to people who paid $1,000 for first pick of the pre-sales.
The final design will go to Colwood council in early September for a building permit. Then excavators can get to work. “That’s when the public will really be able to see something going on,” Gant said.
A sales centre will be the first thing to go up on the site. Public sale of condos in a 25-storey highrise, the second building slated to be built on the site, are expected to open next March.
League will offer a financing plan to lower the down payment required on its units to help lure current renters into first time home ownership.
“There’s a huge shortage of rental housing in Greater Victoria. If we can make it more affordable for people to own their homes, it will free up some of the rental stock and potentially get some people off the street as everyone can move up a rung in the housing ladder,” Gant said.
Buildout of City Centre is expected to extend over 15 to 20 years, eventually covering the full 10-acre site near where Goldstream Avenue meets Sooke Road. If built to full capacity, the development could yield 3.8 million square feet of floor space and create a new downtown core for Colwood.