The District of Metchosin has inked a deal with a commercial real estate company to rent out the old Metchosin school and get the most bang for their buck.
Cushman & Wakefield Ltd. Victoria, a real estate brokerage with offices on View Street, will be responsible for leasing the space at 4495 Happy Valley Rd. until Nov. 30, 2019. The space includes the school side comprising of a gymnasium, 10 classrooms, staff and change rooms, as well as washroom facilities, among others.
“My plan is to work with the District to find a quality tenant that fits their needs,” said Elizabeth Jane Mears, an associate with the brokerage, noting the site is currently zoned for assembly uses such as education and community care facilities, churches, retail stores and artist studios. “That will be our guiding tool when we look at leasing.”
There are a few ways the brokerage could go about leasing the 19,000-square-foot space, said Mears. It could rent to a single tenant or it could divide the building and lease it to multiple tenants.
So far, there have been a couple of parties that are “seriously” interested in leasing a portion of the site. Mears hopes to put a proposal before council by the end of the month, but it could take four to six months before the space is occupied, depending on if renovations are needed.
The Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre Association, as well as the seniors centre and Metchosin soap works, among others that currently occupy part of the school will remain in the space.
“I think we’re going to see a really neat tenant mix and user groups for the community,” Mears said. “I think that having this site go from short-term tenancy and some community groups to a fully tenanted property … we’re going to see this as a bit of a changing tide for that area of Metchosin to have a bit more of a bustling, village feel to it.”
The District purchased the roughly five-acre property for $1.5 million from the Sooke School District last year. However, it was unable to secure provincial grant funding to help pay for part of the purchase, so the full amount was borrowed from the District’s general and police reserves – funds which must be replenished over the next five years.
Once the reserves have been paid off, the District can then look at using the facility for community purposes, including a sub-regional protective services training centre, theatre or expanding the arts space.