Pandora development in full bloom

A former government office building will blossom into a four-storey residential and commercial development next spring.

— Pamela Roth

A former government office building located in the 500 block of Pandora Avenue will blossom into a four-storey residential and commercial development next spring.

Construction has begun to transform the former Ministry of Forests and Service Canada building at 595 Pandora Ave. into the Abacus — a 51-unit rental apartment complex with approximately 5,000 square feet of commercial space at ground level.

The units, ranging in size from 580 square feet to 1,500 square feet, will boast 10-foot ceilings, granite countertops, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. Units on the top floor will have two levels. The building will include a gym and 30 to 40 parking spots.

Victoria-based Cielo Properties is the company transforming the building that was constructed in the 1990s.

In 2008, Cielo was responsible for the conversion of the Vogue Building on Government Street, in between Johnson Street and Pandora Avenue, where 46 condos were created on three floors. Mountain Equipment Co-op is housed on the ground level.

When Cielo President Stan Sipes was told the government was vacating the building on Pandora, he thought about doing a similar conversion.

“I always thought it was a great looking building, but I never really thought much of it,” he said.

Transforming the building into residential homes is no easy task.

According to Sipes, the building has to be 100 per cent seismically compliant to withstand an earthquake. This caused engineers to create a new core around the existing core of the building. Since office space is typically quite open, extra columns for support have also been installed.

When all is said and done, Sipes believes the location will be a big draw for people who want to live downtown and have green amenities, such as bike storage and car charging facilities. There’s also a big demand for more rental housing in the city.

“The market is really calling out for new rentals that have all the bells and whistles versus an old stuffy place that hasn’t been renovated for 40 years,” he said.

“There’s a lot of young working professionals who like living downtown and might not necessarily need a car. It’s a busy area with lots of shopping.”

The 500 block of Pandora Avenue is undergoing a major transformation as developers tap into strong demand for homes in Old Town.

Anthem Properties completed the two-building, five-storey Union condo project beside Swans Hotel.

In September 2014, the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Building between Union and Fan Tan Alley also underwent restoration into rental properties.

 

Just Posted

Mad Hatter’s Ball offers laughs in support of Boys and Girls Club

Annual fundraising event features improv performances at McPherson Playhouse May 24

SidFest 7 ready to rock the Mary Winspear Centre

The Bankes Brothers and Madrona Drive headlining May 24 concert

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read