The proposed development at 622 Admirals Rd. is big for Esquimalt in more ways than one.
At 12 storeys, it would be the tallest building in the area. Built over more than one lot, it would dominate that end of Esquimalt. I think it’s too big.
But with the Legion reputedly on its last legs, the liquor store rumoured to be closing and the bong shop mascot achieving late-night TV fame, I wonder who will take over that site if you say no to Monimos. It’s a pretty grim corner and could soon be derelict.
In this context, I think the development is a good thing. What will be important here though, if the development is built, is that it remain permanently as seniors housing and not become general single occupancy rental units. I urge council to use whatever tools they have to make this “seniors only” requirement stick, permanently.
With the existing Ovation building just over the road, this development would anchor the Admirals end of the Esquimalt Village Project and may provide an impetus for others to invest in the village. To my mind, that is another factor in the development’s favour, especially if council says no to this project. It’s hard to see other developers coming forward and hard, then, to see the village redevelopment taking place anytime soon.
So, I’m torn about this development given the pros and cons.
What I know for sure is that the Esquimalt Village Project is a critical for Esquimalt’s future and a building of the scale proposed would be a defining part of it.
I think its size, design and proposed use need to be considered in the context of where we want the village concept to go. I hope very much that council takes this long-term perspective as they deliberate third reading on this project.