Bayview Place bills itself as the next chapter in the history of downtown Victoria.
It’s a 20 acre (8 hectare) property located inland from the Songhees coastline and minutes away from downtown Victoria.
Bayview Place, located on Saghalie Road, includes two properties — one of which is a 21-floor condo development that has become home to 134 families in downtown Victoria.
Wednesday’s groundbreaking launches the next stage of development as construction for the Encore is set to begin.
The 134-unit condo tower includes floor-plans that can be altered to fit personal needs, outlets for charging electric cars, and a floating TV panel that slides aside to reveal a couch or spare bed for guests.
The projects are the result of a partnership between Focus Equities’ Ken and Patricia Mariash and Bosa Properties, a family company controlled by Robert Bosa.
As much as the construction of properties is good news for the construction and real estate industries, Ken Mariash maintains it is the attitude of City Hall and the leadership of Mayor Lisa Helps that has made a difference.
Mariash envisioned the development more than 20 years ago, but the attitude of certain politicians at the time (and since) had prevented the project from proceeding.
“If Lisa had been there back then, most of this neighbourhood would already have been built,” said Mariash.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Daryl Simpson, senior vice president of Bosa Properties.
He also credits Helps’ courage in championing Bosa’s BlueSky project on Pandora.
But Helps was quick to credit her staff with the change in atmosphere for developers. She said while she may be a champion of change in organizational culture, it required a shift in how departments do business.
“It needs everyone to get on board to make that change, and I’m glad to say that nowadays when you walk into City Hall it feels different,” said Helps.
“I may have been the instigator, but it’s a team effort.”
She added the Bayview development has shattered the myth that condo presales are difficult in Victoria.
The Encore is already 80 per cent sold, even before shovels are in the ground.
“My message to the development community is that this is the time to come to Victoria. We are pre-selling…that should be the buzz,” Helps said.
He said banks have been cautious to lend money to developers, insisting on 50 per cent presales for condo projects. Now, the market in Victoria is getting stronger and the climate for development has never been better
Bayview Place is expected to be complete by 2017.