Businesses currently located between 1312 and 1324 Broad St. will need to find new homes if UVic Properties’ proposal for student housing, condos and retail space at the site are approved. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

UVic Properties charts ambitious course for off-campus holdings

University of Victoria’s commercial and residential division plans major changes downtown

As a property owner and manager, the University of Victoria doesn’t just control lands and buildings in and around Ring Road.

In fact, UVic Properties owns and manages over 135 commercial, retail and office spaces, as well as 45 residential properties in the Capital Region, not to mention the Vancouver Island Technology Park in Saanich and the Marine Technology Centre in North Saanich.

Lovers of Il Terrazzo’s Italian food dine in a downtown building owned by UVic Properties, while thirsty patrons daily drink craft beers at Swan’s Hotel and Brew Pub, owned and operated by the university.

But clients of businesses located in UVic buildings on Broad and Johnson Street – those who enjoy board games, getting a unique tattoo or dining on fish and chips, for example – may one day have to look elsewhere for those services.

UVic has big redevelopment plans for its properties between 1312 and 1324 Broad St., as well as at 622, 625 and 630 Johnson St. These properties, as well as Swan’s, were gifted to the university in 2001 from the estate of the late Michael Williams, in hopes they would help fund UVic’s academic goals.

ALSO READ: UVic’s mini-satellite to launch in 2020, study dark energy

In all, 17 businesses operate out of these addresses, some of which include Wolf Sheep Art House, The Old Hat Hair Shoppe, Old Vic Fish and Chips, Vibestreet Dance and Games Workshop. All may have to move to accommodate UVic’s newest plans.

In partnership with Chard Development, UVic has envisioned the complete renovations of these properties to create 59 units of student housing and 104 market-level condos, as well as some retail space. The ambitious project would see many new additions, but would aim to preserve the Duck’s Building, built in 1892 by former B.C. finance minister, Simeon Duck.

A rendering of the new buildings at 1312-1324 Broad Street. City of Victoria

Peter Kuran, president and CEO of UVic Properties, described the project as a “four-wall restoration” of the Duck’s Building, with new buildings on either side to help support it.

“We did a review of these assets, and seismically and otherwise they need a huge overhaul,” he said. “So it needs a sizable renovation, and that’s how we got to this point. It’s a challenge with these older buildings, but we have a new plan and we’re very excited.”

The student housing would be market-rate rentals made available to graduate and upper level students, allowing them the opportunity to live downtown.

“What we’ve heard is, ‘gosh I’m a grad student, but I just can’t get any housing,’ so we want to offer market rental and offer preference so when you do come through UVic you have living options,” Kuran said.

There would be no time limit for when graduates had to leave, he added. “After you’re a student, you’re a graduate and we’re doing a bit to help you get [on] your feet … it might be just the time you need housing and stability.”

ALSO READ: UVic welcomes more than 3,700 new grads

The student rental suites and condos will both be micro units, averaging out at 400 square feet.

While these changes are still in their early stages of planning and approval, UVic is continuing renovations of Swan’s Pub. The bar is becoming more open, with new liquor licensing allowing minors to sit in previously adult-only areas.

“It hasn’t been touched in 30 years, so it’s getting a new feel, a bit of renewal,” Kuran said. One change came when staff found one of Williams’ old motorcycles stored underneath a Johnson Street building. “We polished it up and hung it on the wall in homage to him.”

The pub’s renovations will wrap up in January.

Also wrapping up is UVic’s restoration of a building at Queenswood, a property it purchased from the Sisters of St. Ann at the corner of Queenswood Drive and Arbutus Road. It will officially open up as the new home of Oceans Network Canada on July 23.

While there’s always lots happening, Kuran said, the properties are doing exactly what they’re intended to.

“It’s what this portfolio is for, it invests into the local economy and provides much-needed funds for students and student services, it’s sort of self-perpetuating.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

 

A rendering of the new buildings at 1312-1324 Broad St. Courtesy City of Victoria

Just Posted

Tillicum Centre evacuated after false alarm in Save-On-Foods

A fire alarm was mistakenly activated by falling food

VicPD mourns loss of retired police dog, Conan

Conan and human partner helped find missing children, fugitives and more

Harbour authority names dock for Victoria’s record-breaking sailor

Jeanne Socrates is the oldest person to sail around the world unaccompanied

Man who fell 50 feet shares his tale to raise funds for Victoria hospitals

Mitch Lapore helped launch the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s latest campaign

Christmas events set to begin across Greater Victoria

Lights, parades, gingerbread and more are coming to down until the new year

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

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

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Time to start baking in time for Sooke’s gingerbread contest

Proceeds go to support the work of Sooke’s the food bank

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Three cops investigated in connection to ex-Vancouver detective’s sexual misconduct

Fisher was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to kissing two young women who were witnesses in a criminal case

Violence response procedures updated for B.C. schools, police

ERASE program expands to target gangs, bullying of students

Most Read