This rendering shows plans by Wesbild Holdings Ltd. to redevelop University Heights. Specifically, it shows the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street. Submitted.

Plans for University Heights redevelopment could go to Saanich council by end of year

Saanich politicians chosen in October could consider the proposed redevelopment of University Heights by the end of 2018.

Tamra Groh, director of design and construction at Wesbild Holdings Ltd., said Thursday that the company plans to appear before council with its redevelopment plans after the Oct. 20 municipal election in late 2018 or early 2019.

Related Story: Proposed redesign would 350 add rental units

Construction could start in late 2019 pending approval of permits and complete in late 2022, early 2023, she added.

She offered this tentative time line before the company held its second open public house Thursday evening. The company held its first open public house in late July and plans to hold a third and final open public house on Nov. 1. The company has already held various meetings with local community leaders as represented by the Gordon Head Residents’ Association, Mount Tolmie Community Association, and Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association.

The proposed redevelopment of the shopping centre would mark a major change in the area, now subject to the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan, an ambitious framework designed to increase residential and commercial density, while reducing private automobile use.

Wesbild Holdings — which purchased the shopping centre in 2015 for a reported figure of $52 million — cites this plan throughout its literature and the formal co-ordinates of the project breathe the plan’s spirit.

The proposal calls for the construction of 367 residential units and new commercial space totaling 192,000 square feet. Renderings show tiered residential units on top of a main commercial building. It is proposed that it would house an expanded version of the Save-On-Foods location that currently operates on site. (The retailer would leave the site, then return following the completion of the project).

Home Depot — the other major University Heights tenant — would remain open during construction. Plans also show three other new mixed-use buildings.

Thursday’s presentation differed from the first open public house in several ways. It not only included more information about the visual impact and massing of the project, but also revised the number of affordable housing units to 10 from 15.

University Heights started operations in 1988 and B.C. Assessment currently assesses its value at $53 million.

Tenants include RBC, CIBC, Thrifty Foods Liquor, Save-On-Foods, Landmark Cinemas, V.I. Fitness, restaurants and independent shops.

The re-developed site would feature a similar portfolio of businesses, but also community space. The project also promises measures that improve the local infrastructure for transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians, including a dedicated bus lane on McKenzie Avenue with a pull-in stop for three buses.

Wesbild also promises a car-share program for residents and measures to mitigate traffic impacts. The company anticipates that the number of vehicles entering the site would increase by less than five per cent.

Groh said feedback so far from both the public and district staff has been positive.

“We are just really excited about this project,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read