This rendering shows plans by Wesbild Holdings Ltd. to redevelop University Heights. Specifically, it shows the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street. Submitted.

This rendering shows plans by Wesbild Holdings Ltd. to redevelop University Heights. Specifically, it shows the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street. Submitted.

Plans for University Heights redevelopment could go to Saanich council by end of year

Saanich politicians chosen in October could consider the proposed redevelopment of University Heights by the end of 2018.

Tamra Groh, director of design and construction at Wesbild Holdings Ltd., said Thursday that the company plans to appear before council with its redevelopment plans after the Oct. 20 municipal election in late 2018 or early 2019.

Related Story: Proposed redesign would 350 add rental units

Construction could start in late 2019 pending approval of permits and complete in late 2022, early 2023, she added.

She offered this tentative time line before the company held its second open public house Thursday evening. The company held its first open public house in late July and plans to hold a third and final open public house on Nov. 1. The company has already held various meetings with local community leaders as represented by the Gordon Head Residents’ Association, Mount Tolmie Community Association, and Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association.

The proposed redevelopment of the shopping centre would mark a major change in the area, now subject to the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan, an ambitious framework designed to increase residential and commercial density, while reducing private automobile use.

Wesbild Holdings — which purchased the shopping centre in 2015 for a reported figure of $52 million — cites this plan throughout its literature and the formal co-ordinates of the project breathe the plan’s spirit.

The proposal calls for the construction of 367 residential units and new commercial space totaling 192,000 square feet. Renderings show tiered residential units on top of a main commercial building. It is proposed that it would house an expanded version of the Save-On-Foods location that currently operates on site. (The retailer would leave the site, then return following the completion of the project).

Home Depot — the other major University Heights tenant — would remain open during construction. Plans also show three other new mixed-use buildings.

Thursday’s presentation differed from the first open public house in several ways. It not only included more information about the visual impact and massing of the project, but also revised the number of affordable housing units to 10 from 15.

University Heights started operations in 1988 and B.C. Assessment currently assesses its value at $53 million.

Tenants include RBC, CIBC, Thrifty Foods Liquor, Save-On-Foods, Landmark Cinemas, V.I. Fitness, restaurants and independent shops.

The re-developed site would feature a similar portfolio of businesses, but also community space. The project also promises measures that improve the local infrastructure for transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians, including a dedicated bus lane on McKenzie Avenue with a pull-in stop for three buses.

Wesbild also promises a car-share program for residents and measures to mitigate traffic impacts. The company anticipates that the number of vehicles entering the site would increase by less than five per cent.

Groh said feedback so far from both the public and district staff has been positive.

“We are just really excited about this project,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Staff celebrate the opening of the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre adjacent to Royal Jubilee Hospital in March 2001. (Photo provided by Provincial Health Services Authority)
Victoria cancer centre marks two decades of saving lives

BC Cancer – Victoria is B.C.’s second largest cancer centre

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three local podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

Victoria Gyro Club member George Barr stands beside the club’s Victoria Day parade float in the late 1950s. The trailer carried a sign advertising the Gyros’ popular hole in one fundraiser game, which raised money for the purchase of Gyro Park lands at Cadboro Bay. (Courtesy Victoria Gyro Club)
Victoria Gyro Club celebrates 100 years of friendship, building community

Club planned to mark centennial with an online meeting April 5

April 11 to 17 is Emergency Management BC’s Tsunami Preparedness Week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsunami preparation in the forefront across Greater Victoria

Tsunami Preparedness Week runs April 11 to 17

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

Most Read