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#1 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:04 AM

Did I call this thing 6 monhts ago or what? I just had the timeline wrong, and thought the City would rescue Mel and the investors in full.

Overhead walkway? I don't know, that'd be ugly, and if you have to go to the roof of the Crystal, that doesn't help transporting cargo across the road.

Crystal catches city's eye
Architectural gem viewed as addition to the Conference Centre
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View of the three-dimensional model of B.C. at the official opening of BC Experience in the Crystal Garden on Monday, June 26, 2006.
Photograph by : Darren Stone/ Victoria Times Colonist
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Font: * * * * Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The City of Victoria is eyeing the Crystal Garden building as a long-desired addition to the Conference Centre -- and already has a consultant evaluating the possibility.

"I've always thought it was the only thing to do," Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe said yesterday, adding that the city has been in discussions with Ray Parks, CEO of the Provincial Capital Commission, which owns the Douglas Street building.

The 1925 greenhouse-style Crystal Garden building "would make a great space for trade and exhibition" shows, Lowe said.

The PCC has been looking for a tenant for the building since the B.C. Experience tourist attraction, the previous tenant, went bankrupt in September after being open just three months.

Lowe called it a "great opportunity" to expand the Conference Centre, and said the city has to "hurry on this one," because others may also be interested. Still, he cautioned it's "too early to see whether or not it will work."

Victoria has long wanted extra space for its Conference Centre, built in 1989, in order to attract larger conventions. Conference Centre officials have said it has lost business because of space constraints.

In 2004, when the PCC shut down the tropical garden in the Crystal building, Victoria indicated it was interested in the site for conference use. But the city backed off when consultants said needed upgrades would cost more than constructing a new, larger building.

However, the building subsequently underwent extensive renovations for the short-lived B.C. Experience. According to Parks, a total of $3.6 million was put into improvements: $1.5 million from the province to replace the glass roof; $1.4 million from the PCC, and $700,000 from the B.C. Experience.

"The building today is in better shape than when it was original. That is because it is up to modern code," Parks said.

The city has also since put in a pedestrian crosswalk on Douglas Street linking the Conference Centre and the Crystal Garden.

The fate of the building has been a hot topic since the B.C. Experience shut down last month, with various people and groups suggesting it could become a public market or a pool (its original use), or that the Royal B.C. Museum or Maritime Museum of B.C. could expand there.

But Parks said the building can't be turned back into a pool due to structural reasons, and the museums said the glass ceiling would be bad for artifacts.

The Crystal will be discussed in camera at today's PCC board meeting. And on Friday, a meeting of B.C. Experience creditors is scheduled. More than 230 creditors are owed a total of $9 million, with the Royal Bank owed $6 million.

Gene Drennan, trustee of bankruptcy for the Crystal, said the best time is now for the city if it wants to lease the building for a good price. While a "handful" of calls have come in about the B.C. Experience assets, no serious offers are pending. "I would call it quiet at the moment."

Businessman Bob Wright, who has extensive tourism holdings, including the Undersea Gardens, and former Tourism Victoria president Gordon Denford, agree that the best use for the Crystal is as an addition for the Conference Centre. They suggest an above-ground walkway to link the buildings.

The key would be to lease the Crystal to the Conference Centre for a reasonable figure, Denford said.

The lease would have to be tailored around the Crystal's operating costs to make the plan viable because the "revenue situation from it is not going to be that huge."
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#2 G-Man

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:15 AM

They could make a very cool walkway but I would doubt the city would spend the money. Personally it seems pretty half ass to have two seperate buildings.

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#3 Holden West

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:46 AM

An overhead walkway would ruin the look of the Crystal. And it would have to be very high so the constant container traffic from Ogden Point could pass under. 8)

They could install a cut-and-cover tunnel. Consider it our very own 40 foot RAV Line.

I'd love to be at that PCC meeting so I could give them all a "HA HAA!" Nelson-style. If I recall the poll we had earlier, I said BCX would last at least a year before bankruptcy, then the RBCM would take over and run the exhibit for another year before they gave up.

Perhaps the market idea is unworkable due to the parking constraints and convention expansion is the only reasonable option right now.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#4 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:01 PM

Doesn't the City also own the triangle shaped property just north of the Crystal Gardens too?

I think this could also be another future part of the conference center maybe!!!

#5 G-Man

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:08 PM

They do and I suppose that would be a possibility if they combined it with a Hotel of some sort.

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#6 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:22 PM

That's exactly what I was thinking too actually.

#7 aastra

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:57 PM

Victoria could do with another modern hotel, in my opinion. A major chain like Hyatt or Four Seasons.

#8 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:29 PM

I thought there was once talk of a boutique hotel run by Fairmont for the bus terminal site?
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#9 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:41 PM

Or Hilton, or Sheroton.

#10 Holden West

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:56 PM

The Empress wouldn't likely sell their property to a competitor.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#11 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:46 PM

I thought the City owned that little triangled piece of property no??

Does the Empress own that too? Do they own the coach line property or are they thinking of buying this? These are things I am not too sure of.

#12 Mike K.

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:47 PM

The Empress/Fairmont owns the land the bus station sits on and Fairmont plans on developing it along with the rose garden.

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#13 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:49 PM

So the City owns the traingled piece of property then?? this is what I have always understood. If they do they could co ordinate a project with the crystal garden building with the conference center.

#14 gumgum

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 08:25 PM

Wait a minute? They're plowing the rose garden???
I know I sound like a girl but: THEY CAN'T GET RID OF THAT ROSE GARDEN! That's a local treasure!

#15 Mike K.

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 08:44 PM

Perhaps not the whole thing, but some of it may go to make way for a new development.

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#16 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:08 PM

I agree with Rose boy up there....I don't want the Rose garden to go.... :?

#17 zoomer

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:20 PM



#18 Urbalist

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:59 PM

bumped to Jan 16, 2007

#19 Scaper

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:03 PM

I disagree with your #5 at 5 stories....the Empress it's self is equal to around 12 stories. So we could easily handle a 10 - 12 story hotel here.

Also I believe current zoning for this section in town is for 43 meters or possibly equal to 14 stories. Being right beside the Aria, a 12 story flat iron style building would fit in quite nicely, as a Modern Hotel.

My Views.....:)



Welcome to the site by the way!!! :-D

#20 Mike K.

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:05 PM

Are those actual plans or is that your personal vision for the site?

Neat concept, btw.

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