One month after the downtown fire not much information has been released. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Developer looks to demolish building remnants of downtown Victoria fire

Victoria staff recommend demolishing the former Plaza Hotel ‘as soon as possible’

Not much remains of the Plaza Hotel following a devastating, albeit suspicious fire, and even less will be there soon.

This week city council will consider granting a heritage alteration permit to the building’s owners which would allow them to demolish any remaining infrastructure.

On May 6 a fire razed the property at 603 Pandora Ave., causing smoke and ash to pour through downtown streets for days. One caretaker who may have been on-site remains unaccounted for even five weeks later, though the BC Coroners Service said that it has not been called to the scene for a body.

READ MORE: One man missing in relation to downtown Victoria fire

An investigation led by the Victoria Police Department and the Victoria Fire Department found the cause of the fire to be suspicious, but no new information has been publicly released.

ALSO READ: Downtown Victoria fire deemed ‘suspicious’

Regardless, developer Ocean Gate Ltd., is applying for permission to demolish the remaining infrastructure, which consists of two half-walls on the east and west side of the building.

“We are applying for a Heritage Alteration Permit to address safety concerns, clean-up of site, removal of debris and further excavation of the site,” wrote Nick Askew, managing partner of Ocean Gate Development Ltd. in a letter to the city.

ALSO READ: 4 million gallons of water used on downtown Victoria fire so far

Askew also wrote that they are working with a new architect to advance designs for the property, and that plans will ideally be presented in upcoming months.

Ocean Gate Development had previously submitted plans with a different architect for a 100-unit residential building in 2017. Plans for this development were moving forward, with an advisory design panel that happened on Feb. 27.

ALSO READ: Public left guessing one month after downtown Victoria fire

Police wrapped up their on-site investigation on May 24. On the same day, developers had city staff tour through the property to undertake a heritage assessment of what remains of the building, which was erected in 1910. The purpose of this assessment is to identify any remaining heritage infrastructure elements that could be salvaged and reintegrated into new building designs.

Through the investigation, staff found two polished granite columns, several white glazed bricks that had fallen from above, some heavy timbers that suffered little damage from the fire, and several 10-feet tall cast iron columns. Additionally, sidewalk glass prisms were found beneath the existing sidewalk.

With the retention of these elements, city staff are recommending that council permit the demolition of the Plaza Hotel “as soon as possible.”

Council will hear the request at a committee of the whole meeting schedule for Thursday, June 13.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase comes to Victoria

Bakers spent more than 100 hours perfecting their creations

Victoria police find fentanyl, cocaine, meth and cash during downtown arrest

VicPD arrested three people on Oct. 30 in a downtown parking lot

Petition calls on province to cover transfer fees after Island adoption centre closes – again

‘Choices clients weren’t told the ship was sinking,’ says would-be parent

VicPD unable to locate suspect following James Bay ‘stalker alert’

Flyers posted around neighbourhood warn of man being followed and a verbal confrontation

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

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

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read