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Site of historic Cordova Bay venue hits real estate market

Beach House Restaurant to remain open until end of August, owner says
The Beach House Restaurant and nearby lots have been listed as for sale. Owner, Kate Phoenix, says operations will continue as normal until the end of August. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

The site of Cordova Bay Village’s Beach House Restaurant has gone up for sale alongside its nearby parking lots in two separate listings.

Formerly known as McMorran’s, named after the family that ran the business, the Beach House has been a Saanich landmark and a popular Greater Victoria destination since it first opened as an ice cream stand and general store in the 1920s.

Today, the restaurant occupies two side-by-side oceanfront lots at 5105 and 5109 Cordova Bay Rd. – listed for a total of $5.5 million.

According to the listing, most of the Beach House sits on the northern lot zoned for residential use, while the rest resides on the southern lot zoned for commercial use. All together the properties cover 16,732 square feet and have 10 onsite parking spaces.

When McMorran’s ultimately closed its doors in 2010, Kate Phoenix purchased the vacant building and nearby lots. After extensive renovations, including a new roof and repairs to the foundation, Phoenix opened the Beach House in 2012.

“With 55 staff employed, many private events booked and strong relationships with several local suppliers, we gave careful consideration to all of our commitments,” Phoenix told the Saanich News in an email Wednesday.

Phoenix said staff and suppliers have been given 19 months’ notice, while no events have been taken for any date past August. The Beach House will hold its last wedding on Aug. 27, she added.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria real estate sales crater by nearly a third in 2022

Real estate listing agent Glynis MacLeod said there’s been some interest since the Beach House listing came out in late December.

“Some have expressed interest in using the buildings as a restaurant,” MacLeod said. “Others are real estate developers or are interested in commercial use.”

But despite initial interest, she admitted it’s difficult to predict who the buyer might be or speculate just how long the properties will take to sell.

The second listing for four lots on the opposite side of Cordova Bay Road is being marketed as a development site through William Wright Commercial Real Estate Services at $9.9 million. MacLeod said it had been decided to use a commercial real estate company as a way to maximize market exposure.

That listing covers three undeveloped adjacent lots at 5090, 5094 and 5098 Cordova Bay Rd., as well as a fourth lot with a house at 985 Abbey Rd.

While all four lots are zoned for single-family homes, the local area plan suggests zoning could be more commercially oriented in the future, the listing says. It also says the seller requires the lease-back of the parking lots until September of this year.

Saanich’s Cordova Bay neighbourhood has seen a number of major development projects get the green light in recent years, like the Haro condominium project completed in January last year.

But until Phoenix closes up shop for good and retires later this year, the Beach House will continue with business as usual.

ALSO READ: Saanich oceanfront among priciest neighbourhoods on Vancouver Island

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Austin Westphal

About the Author: Austin Westphal

Austin Westphal is the newest member to join the Saanich News team.
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