Downtown Victoria business centre to take on new look

Re-development set for Blanshard Street commercial sector in Broughton/Fort corridor

Having acquired the old credit union building at 1001 Blanshard St., Fort Realty has the final piece of the Fort/Blanshard block. Now, sisters Jayne and Suzanne Bradbury have big plans for the downtown block – turning it into a mini-village.

The Bradburys won the bid for the building last month, after it had been left vacant for three years.

Jayne Bradbury said that the next step in their plan is to work with the city to change the zoning of the building, which currently may only be used as an office or call centre. Though the process is likely to take eight to 12 months, the sisters hope to have pop-up shops or other temporary businesses set up in the meantime.

“There’s nothing as off-putting as a vacant building,” Jayne Bradbury said. “It’s right across from the Royal Theatre, so a lot of tourists see it. It’s not a good representation of what downtown Victoria could be.”

The Bradbury sisters are still unsure what purpose they would like the building to be used for, and are looking to the Victoria Downtown Residents’ Association and nearby business owners and employees for input.

“We really want the tenants we select to satisfy the wants and needs of the people who are already here,” Suzanne Bradbury said.

“This block is technically part of Fairfield, it’s a transition area between residential and commercial,” Jayne Bradbury added. “People work here, and shop here and eat here. One of the things we’ve heard a lot from restauranteurs is that they want to be able to get fresh produce nearby.”

Though Suzanne Bradbury said that there are no plans to knock the building down, at least not within the current decade, there is a lot of work to be done with renovations. Interior repurposing will depend on the tenants’ desires, but exterior renovations will take place in the meantime.

“We already have some ideas for the exterior, it can only improve from how it looks now,” Suzanne Bradbury said. “A lot of moms run their day-to-day errands here, and we want that experience to be pleasurable. Even just some landscaping and paint could help with that.”

The area is bound for an influx of residents once developer David Chard’s Escher building, an 82-unit condominium building, is built just down the road at 838 Broughton St.. The additional residents will have an impact on how the block will function.

“It becomes their backyard, it doesn’t just shut down at six o’clock,” Jayne Bradbury explained.

The Bradbury sisters have already made a few major developments to the block, including repurposing a building formerly used as a convenience store into restaurant space, which currently houses La Taquisa and Be Love Restaurant. The courtyard within the block has also been opened to the public, in hopes that the surrounding tenants will use it for joint events.

Suzanne Bradbury said that a top priority for them is to build on the sustainability of the block. “Bioswale gardens,” which process runoff rainwater from nearby roofs, have already been installed in the courtyard, and are currently being used by Victoria’s Food Eco District to grow herbs.

The proposed mini-village will run from Fort to Broughton along Blanshard Street, and east to the Disability Resource Centre at 817 Fort S. A solid timeline is expected to emerge in six months.

Just Posted

Team Canada athlete pens open letter to City of Victoria about Crystal Pool

Karmen McNamara says an extended closure of the recreation facility would be ‘devastating’

Bluegrass Christmas concert sparks season of giving

Tenth annual show and fundraiser held on Dec. 1 at Cordova Bay United Church

Victoria’s Wild ARC facility welcomes new roof thanks to a rush of donations

The animal rehabilitation centre was in desperate need of repairs after 21 years

Victoria’s vacancy rate predicted to rise above one per cent

Rental rates will continue to rise, despite more availability

Victoria brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Vancouver Island Brewing said goodbye to its confusing hexagon logo

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

BCHL’ers on NHL Central Scouting player’s to watch list

The list includes seven current BCHL skaters

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Most Read