Capital Park project 20 years in the making

James Bay neighbourhood Association president sees value in Capital Park development

The development of Capital Park will be a positive addition to James Bay, says the president of the neighbourhood assotiation.

Council recently approved the Capital Park development behind the B.C. Legislature, bordered by Superior Menzies and Michigan streets. The project fulfills part of an agreement known as the Victoria Accord, created more than 20 years ago.

Jawl Development Corp. and Concert Properties plan to redevelop the 6.2-acre property they bought for $34 million in 2013 into a mixed-use space, including offices, retail amenities, housing options and public areas. A library branch has also been proposed for the space, which Marg Gardiner thinks is crucial to Capital Park’s success.

“The library is needed to make the development become a community building development,” said Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association. “If we don’t get the library, it will just be more of an office development.”

The Victoria Accord had a number of goals for the property, including the need for a mix of land use around the Legislature, ensuring that streets are people-oriented, the presence of amenities to serve the residents and employees of the new developments, and preserving the views of the Legislature from all sides.

Construction on Capital Park is expected to start this summer with the first phase being complete in 2017. The final phase is planned to be finished by 2019.

There will be approximately 235,000 square feet of office space in two four- to five-storey buildings, 175,000 square feet of retail space primarily on Menzies Street and approximately 175 rental and condominium homes integrated into four buildings on the western and southern portions of the site, ranging from three to five storeys.

“It will be a very transformational development within James Bay,” said Gardiner. “[It] will make James Bay much more complete.”