Upper Fort Street neighbourhood “on fire”

Fort Street is quickly emerging as a hub for young creative talent who are becoming a driving force in Victoria’s economy.

Fort Street is quickly emerging as a hub for young creative talent who are becoming a driving force in Victoria’s economy.

Over the past five years, the newly-branded Upper Fort neighbourhood, stretching from Blanshard to Moss streets on the edge of downtown Victoria, has undergone a revitalization from Antique Row to a commercial corridor for locals and tourists.

Suzanne Bradbury, chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association and co-chair of Fabulous Fort, said a number of quality restaurants, boutiques and businesses are attracting new creative-type residents to the area, many of whom are from the technology sector.

“We’ve seen this historic avenue evolve from a tourism and antiques focus to a rich commercial corridor full of amenities and services serving our local community,” said Bradbury. “Our real estate and rents are very affordable compared to other larger centres. It’s incredibly beautiful. We have this sort of richness and vibrancy in our urban core. With all those things combined, I think Victoria is starting to attract a lot of attention on a national scale. A lot of eyes are turning our way.”

Bradbury added organizations such as Fabulous Fort — a collection of Fort Street businesses — have helped raise the profile and identity of the street. Businesses have come together to tackle issues collectively and create public spaces such as the parklet on Fort Street outside the Dutch Bakery.

The most recent project to take root in Upper Fort is Black and White, a six-storey condo development at the corner of Fort and Cook streets. Being the premier project of the Upper Fort neighbourhood, it will consist of a number of one and two-bedrooms condos. Construction is expected to begin in November and be complete in fall 2018.

Mike Miller, president of Abstract Developments, said the project will be a catalyst that jumpstarts the next wave of development in Upper Fort.

“About a year-and-a-half ago, I could feel it. You could feel the ground shaking and the shift happen and the whole environment shift,” Miller said, adding the company recently moved its corporate office from Oak Bay Avenue to Fort Street where staff have “taken in” the area as well.

“The timing for Upper Fort is now and we feel that there’s so much more to come.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said this is one of the most exciting new buildings in the city and helps contribute to creating a sense of community in the up-and-coming neighbourhood.

“Fort Street is on fire right now, we’re seeing new businesses spring up all the time, we’re seeing new tech companies renovating buildings on the street which feeds the new businesses,” Helps said.

“So Fort Street is a microcosm of the kind of economic ecosystem that we’re trying to build in Victoria where all of the business and community that’s happening builds more business and builds more community.”

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

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 Oct. 27

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

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read