A massive mixed-use development on the site of what was Belmont Secondary School will play a big role in establishing Langford as a vibrant community, says the city’s mayor.
Stew Young said the Belmont Market Shopping Centre that Sobeys will be building on the triangular 8.5-hectare site adjacent to Westshore Town Centre completes the downtown core and helps set the tone for the area.
“It will be awesome. This brings a whole bunch more jobs obviously. It’s a good use for that land and it solidifies Langford with a downtown core,” Young said. “It finishes off the rest of it and will act as an anchor.
“There’s an energy and excitement in the downtown core starting and this will solidify that.”
The project, to be built out in several phases, calls for a 200,000-square foot shopping centre, anchored by a 52,700-square-foot Thrifty Foods, one of Sobeys’ grocery labels.
There will also be office space and about 330 residential units included in the overall project bordered by Jacklin Road, Jenkins Avenue and the Galloping Goose Trail.
Commercial real estate firm CBRE said the project is designed as a town centre in itself, with a main street and angled parking as well as surface-parking stalls.
“We wanted mixed-use there,” said Young, noting that’s the kind of development he likes in the region. “I like the fit. How great is it to walk out the door of your new condo or apartment and get a coffee or go shopping and not have to start your car?”
The project is also good for the Langford tax base.
Young, who estimates the project will be worth in excess of $100 million, said the city will now get something from a site that offered no tax revenue as a school.
“Economically it’s a great deal for us, taking a site where we have no taxes and getting taxes out of it,” he said. The added tax revenue will help pay for city projects such as extra policing and a new pool, he said. “It strengthens our tax base and lets us keep doing all the little projects our residents want.”
No one from Sobeys was available for an interview about the project.
Thrifty will anchor the first phase of the development, which is expected to be ready for tenants by July 2017.
According to CBRE, several units are available for lease in that phase, ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 38,000 square feet.
Sobeys bought the property in 2014 for $23.25 million. That money was used to help build two schools — a new $54-million Belmont Secondary at the site of the former Glen Lake Elementary, and Royal Bay Secondary, valued at $40.8 million.
Young said when the Belmont Market Shopping Centre is complete, taking up one of the largest available parcels of land, he expects the city will start to see more in-fill development in some of its older neighbourhoods.