15-storey condo and 12-storey rental towers to rise in downtown Victoria

The excavated pit for Hudson Mews along the 700-block of Fisgard Street will help springboard the project once crews start construction on the tower. File photo from June 3, 2012. © Skyscraper Source Media Inc.

After a multi-year hiatus the next phase of the Hudson’s Bay Department Store property redevelopment is finally moving forward along the 700-block of Fisgard Street. At 12-storeys with some 120 units and ground floor commercial, the Hudson Mews tower will be the largest mixed-use all-rental housing development to be built in Victoria in several decades.

In March of 2010 developer Townline Group of Companies dug a large pit adjacent to The Hudson building and shored the walls in anticipation of an immediate start to the Hudson Mews tower as the department store renovation neared completion. Even a giant construction crane, used to hoist materials for The Hudson renovation, was left on-site to start work on the upcoming tower.

Initial plans called for a  75% subsidized rental and 25% market (condo) project, although a partnership between Townline’s subsidized housing spinoff TL Housing Solutions, BC Housing and the City of Victoria disintegrated and led to a hiatus of over two years.

Fast-forwarding to the present, crews have begun prepping the Hudson Mews site for builders and construction is expected to begin by late summer with completion scheduled for late 2013 or early 2014.

Hudson’s two remaining towers, at 24- and 17-floors, will be built as market conditions warrant. The tallest of the two (at nearly 72 meters) will eventually become the City of Victoria’s tallest building eclipsing the currently under construction 21-storey (66 meter) Promontory condo that next year will overtake the City’s existing tallest building, James Bay’s 22-storey (62 meter) Orchard House.

The Era property in the 700-block of Yates Street remained a partially dug-out pit since a development proposal from the mid-2000's failed to materialize. File photo from June 9, 2010 © Skyscraper Source Media Inc.

Across downtown Victoria in the 700-block of Yates Street, Concert Properties’ 15-storey, 157-unit Era mixed-use condo and commercial project is also in the early stages of construction. Crews have arrived on-site and construction preparations are now underway. Excavation for the underground parkade is expected to begin in the coming weeks with the start of building some time in the fall. Completion is expected by early 2014.

The Era property was also not immune to its fair share of development drama. Multiple proposals had come and gone since the early 2000’s with one tower, a 12-storey mixed-use office, commercial and residential project dubbed Mozart, nearly embarking on a sales marketing campaign before developer Eric Charman fell ill and put the property up for sale. Since the mid-2000’s the property switched hands several times, eventually being acquired by Concert Properties with plans to build a 12-storey office tower.  The office concept eventually morphed into the Era residential development due to changing market conditions favouring additional residential units over office space. VV

Stay up-to-date on the Hudson Mews project via VibrantVictoria’s discussion forum here. Era is discussed here. Be sure to follow VibrantVictoria’s Victoria Condos Facebook page to receive updates on local condo projects and be sure to follow us on Twitter to never miss an important update on a variety of topics covered on VibrantVictoria’s discussion forum.

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