Rendering shows the finished Customs House residential/commercial project at Government and Wharf streets. Site work for the luxury homes project is due to start this fall, with the projected completion time early 2020. Courtesy Edelman

Rendering shows the finished Customs House residential/commercial project at Government and Wharf streets. Site work for the luxury homes project is due to start this fall, with the projected completion time early 2020. Courtesy Edelman

HOMEFINDER: Customs House envisions Inner Harbour luxury in Victoria

Residential project blends heritage features with modern design

When people think about residential development in downtown Victoria, high-end luxury isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind.

Stan Sipos and his Cielo Properties aim to change that with the Customs House project, which is part heritage revitalization and part new construction and begins development next month. The 57 residential suites will be comfortably sized between 1,450 and 4,400 square feet, with 10- to 13-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows in some cases and of course, the unparalleled view of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

“Our objective was to design a building that is not only modern, but is respectful to the old,” he said. He envisions something akin to the luxury apartments lining Central Park in New York, or in old London. “Something that [doesn’t] discredit or reduce the fabric of the neighbourhood,” he said.

Sipos isn’t shy about the target market for these high-end homes, 40 per cent of which have already sold. Some suites have fetched more than $2,000 per square foot, said to be a record for Victoria.

Cielo Properties – cielo is the Spanish word for heaven – has a wealth of experience building transformative projects around Victoria. The Vogue on Government Street between Johnson Street and Pandora Avenue was a non-descript former government office building that became a sought-after residence with a solid anchor tenant in Mountain Equipment Co-Op at street level.

“When we converted that into residences and MEC became the main tenant there, it transformed the whole core,” he said, adding that it generated huge traffic to an area that had previously been avoided.

While the Customs House site is one of the gateways to the city’s downtown, it has long been lacking vibrancy and engagement at the street level, Sipos said.

The City of Victoria’s plans to revitalize Ship Point across Wharf Street from the Courtenay Street side of this block will dovetail nicely into plans for the site, he said. The Customs House project will seek out very exclusive, unique street-level retailers – Sipos said he’d love to get an Apple store as a tenant.

“This has tremendous potential to create a new sense of quality and vitality. With the new parkette at Ship Point and other changes to the area, the fabric of the neighbourhood will change.”

So far, sales inquiries have come in from virtually around the world: New York, Singapore, Europe, even Dubai, as well as from locals and elsewhere in Canada.

With a unique location in the heart of the Inner Harbour, Sipos feels a strong responsibility and a passion to make the most of the opportunity to develop here.

“We’ve worked harder on this than any project I’ve ever worked on to make sure we have everything right, from the storefronts to the look of the buildings. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity really. We have a project that is front and centre for our city.”

For more details, visit customshouse.ca.

editor@vicnews.com

developmentReal estate

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

Just Posted

A tenant starter kit will help newly housed people transition from a survival mindset to a secure, safe place where they can start planning ahead. (Photo courtesy of Our Place)
Tenant starter kits help support people moving into long-term homes in Victoria

For the formerly homeless, it takes more than just the new address to transition

Sidney town crier Kenny Podmore delivers a proclamation honouring the late Prince Philip outside of city hall on April 17, the day of the Duke’s funeral. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Sidney)
Sidney, North Saanich honour the late Prince Philip with proclamation on Saturday

Sidney’s town crier delivered a proclamation for the Duke of Edinburgh outside of city hall

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 exposure at Ecole Victor-Brodeur in Esquimalt on April 12, 13 and 14. (Screenshot via Google Streetview)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at K-12 French school in Esquimalt, Island Health reports

People at Ecole Victor-Brodeur may have been exposed April 12-14

The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre is asking for donation support as it prepares for its busiest season of the year. (Photo courtesy of BC SPCA)
Wild ARC looking for donations to care for yearly influx of vulnerable animals

Spring and summer are the southern Vancouver Island centre’s busiest time of the year

North Saanich Fire Department is looking for individuals interested in becoming volunteer firefighters who want to give back to the community and learn new skills while gaining personal confidence. (Submitted/District of North Saanich)
North Saanich actively recruiting volunteer firefighters

Department is searching for new recruits from now until the end of May

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

Most Read