Michael Cronquist, project manager for Lyra Residences Limited Partnerships, stands in front of the first phase of Lyra Residences. Its construction will wrap up this September. Construction of the second phase (seen left) is currently underway. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Project brings more than 70 condos to foot of Saanich’s Christmas Hill

It is a grey Tuesday morning and Michael Cronquist, project manager for Lyra Residences Limited Partnerships, bounces up a set of concrete stairs. He passes workers wearing hardhats and steel-toed boots. Classic rock echoes through the staircases as workers hammer, nail and scrap away.

As he reaches the penthouse, he steps through unfinished rooms onto a south facing terrace. Saanich’s Swan Lake, residential areas, Downtown Victoria and the Olympic Mountains unfold before him. The Sooke Mountains appear to the right, while Mount Tolmie rises off centre to the left, while full turn to the left reveals Mount Douglas and Mount Baker.

But perhaps the most surprising view appears off the penthouse’s western terrace — the Saanich Inlet. “Some of the views from the top floors are some of the best in the city,” said Cronquist earlier. No kidding.

But the views are only one reason that distinguish Lyra Residences. Other factors include its concrete construction and its location. It offers access to a lot of parks and trails, said Cronquist.

Swan Lake is within walking distance, and Christmas Hill lies just north of the development. In fact, Lyra Residences lies at the base of Christmas Hill, recessed off McKenzie Avenue.

“What really separates this project is the natural setting,” Cronquist said in an earlier interview. “For a multi-family project within a mature oak forest, it’s unique. The outdoor living space is significant, with large balconies in a mature oak forest, access to Vic Derman Park, Christmas Hill and the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.”

These natural elements are among the selling points to younger buyers, who are looking for that environmental element, said Cronquist. For older buyers, the attraction lies in its geographic proximity to pretty much everything: shops, stores, and various features around the region. It lies 20 minutes from the Legislative Assembly, and 26 minutes from Swartz Bay’s ferry terminal.

Lyra Residences actually consist out of two phases, both eight storeys tall. Saanich council first approved the project in 2009 and the first phase of 39 units will be ready by September, with 32 units sold. The second phase with 38 units under construction now has a completion date for June 2019. As of this writing, 19 units have sold.

Saanich had initially approved Lyra’s two mid-rise buildings as the third phase of a project by Aplomado Developments, which constructed 12 single family custom homes followed by 27 hillside townhouses.

But the condos were delayed. Aplomado regrouped and partnered with Marker Group to create Lyra Residences. Well known Victoria architectural firm de Hoog and Kierulf joined the project to maximize local understanding of the geography.

The views speak to this success.

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Michael Cronquist, project manager for Lyra Residences Limited Partnerships, stands in front of the first phase of Lyra Residences. Its construction will wrap up this September. Construction of the second phase (seen left) is currently underway. Wolf Depner/News Staff

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