Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and developer David Chard put shovels to the dirt during the launch of the Escher condo project on Broughton Street.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and developer David Chard put shovels to the dirt during the launch of the Escher condo project on Broughton Street.

Escher to ‘revitalize’ Broughton

New condo project on Broughton Street is expected to be a catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Victoria.

A new condo project on Broughton Street is expected to be a catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Victoria.

On Wednesday, Chard Development broke ground on an 84-suite condo project at 838 Broughton St., which was formerly a parking lot. The 10-storey Escher project is expected to bring roughly 125 residents to the block by the time of its completion, which is expected by early 2017.

David Chard, president of Chard Development, said Broughton Street was an ideal location for the residential development because it gives owners a sense of what it’s like to live downtown but in a low-key area.

“We liked it because of the [YMCA] being right across the street,” he said. “You’re still in easy walking distance to all the amenities, restaurants, shops. It’s just on the edge, but you’re still in the downtown core.”

The revitalization of Broughton Street in particular began with the recent renovation of the Chard-owned commercial building next to the Escher development.

“The second step for us is to build this and have 84 suites which really will bring 125 people to this block,” he said. “We still see it as a low-key area, but it’s going to get rejuvenated.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps praised the company for making use of an old surface parking lot and turning it into residential housing.

“There’s a stereotype that there’s not much developable land in Victoria, but there are lots of surface parking lots. Surface parking lots are a hangover from the 1950s when car was king,” she said. “I’m curious when this building is built out to see how many people will have cars … we’re building for the future.”

She noted that constructing developments around neighbourhood anchors such as the YMCA and the Royal Theatre will add to the revitalization of the area.

“This is a catalyst for the redevelopment of Broughton,” she added.

It is expected the development will also bring a boost to local businesses.

Suzanne Bradbury, co-owner of Fort Properties, a company that owns commercial space along Blanchard Street and up Fort Street, spoke in favour of the development during rezoning consultations.

She believes the development will help draw residents to shops and restaurants in the area.

“For our business tenants, a lot of whom are restaurant or retail tenants, having people live on this block in their neighbourhood is critical to the survival of their business,” she said. “There’s eyes on the street, people to use the businesses, I think it will make a big difference in their neighbourhood in terms of solidifying its character.”

The building will also include bike storage, a pet washing area, a rooftop terrace and barbecues.

With past developments, Chard has allowed owners to choose basic paint colours. But with this development, customization options include selecting the finishes of cabinets, paint colour and design of some of the cabinetry.

Sale for Escher began in September and the building is now 25 per cent sold.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, development agent for cannabis supplier Seed and Stone’s, holds products from the new Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

A convicted sex offender, whose crimes included offences against children, was arrested at Gonzales Beach after the man was spotted by an off-duty officer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Convicted sex offender arrested at Gonzales Beach

After committing crimes involving children, offender barred from public beaches, being in proximity to kids

VicPD asks anyone who sees Daniel Shumka, or with information on his whereabouts to call 250-995-7654 or report anonymously through Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man wanted on drug trafficking charges

Daniel Shumka, 50, is 6’1” and about 195 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes

Victoria police arrested three men following a double stabbing April 19. The two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Three arrested after double stabbing in Victoria

Two people sent to hospital after being stabbed, hit with bear spray

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/ screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read