Island Outfitters was emptied after a Jan. 4 fire left inventory charred and melted. (Island Outfitters/Facebook)

Island Outfitters was emptied after a Jan. 4 fire left inventory charred and melted. (Island Outfitters/Facebook)

Housing complex planned for former Island Outfitters property in Saanich core

Store founders, local development company partner to reimagine fire-damaged property

A fire blazed through the former Island Outfitters property on Douglas Street in early January and, from the ashes, comes a new collaboration to bring a mixed-use housing development project.

Victoria’s Aryze Developments has joined forces with Darren Wright and Ward Bond, Island Outfitters founders and former owners of the property, to redevelop the site where the popular outdoor goods store stood since 1997.

READ ALSO: Outdoors store operators happy in new West Shore home

Just after 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, a fire sparked at 3319 Douglas Street, the former Island Outfitters property, and caused extensive damage to the structure. No injuries were reported but the Saanich fire and police departments determined the cause to be arson.

After the fire, Island Outfitters closed and the property sat empty. Bond and Wright decided that “providing some meaningful housing to a region that’s in dire need was the right thing to do” with the site.

READ ALSO: Fire investigation continues at Island Outfitters on Douglas Street

On Oct. 8, Aryze Developments shared notice of the redevelopment project and said the company will be working to draft plans over the next few months. Pending approval, construction could begin in 2022.

Luke Mari, co-owner of Aryze Developments, noted the property is in a convenient location in Saanich’s core and lends itself well to the company’s goal to densify neighbourhoods in a way that supports a walkable and transit-focused lifestyle.

The Aryze team envisions a new structure on the property that would provide residential homes for rent or for purchase.

READ ALSO: Island Outfitters owners share photos of damage caused by fire that ravaged store

“We’re very excited to be working with people like Darren and Ward that have decades of legacy and community involvement,” Mari said.

Wright emphasized that while he and Bond cherish the memories and the community that Island Outfitters created, they felt it was time to step back and let the site be re-imagined. It was important to them that “whoever took over the space would make the best use of it” and they agreed that Aryze Developments would be the best fit.

Island Outfitters reopens in View Royal this month under new ownership this month.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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