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

City of Victoriadevelopmentfire

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

Just Posted

UPDATED: Traffic flowing normally after morning crash on Douglas Street

Traffic at the Douglas and Finlayson streets intersection was temporarily impacted

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read