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Elk Lake Inn and Suites headed for renovation and expansion

After rooms and restaurant are renovated, an older two-storey, motel-style section of the hotel is set to be demolished to allow a six-storey attached addition

Elk Lake Inn and Suites Victoria is heading for a major upgrading and expansion starting next week.

The Royal Oak hotel will become a Holiday Inn Express, part of the IHG family of hotels, said Bradley Martin, a director of the company that owns the property.

Martin said both Saanich and Victoria are in “desperate need” of new hotel rooms because they’ve lost so many over the last 10 to 15 years.

Once work is completed, the hotel will have 138 rooms, up from the current 87. The hotel will continue to operate during the renovation.

The two-stage plan will begin with renovation of the 2001 section of the building, facing 4670 Elk Lake Dr., with its 71 rooms and common areas. Improvements will include new carpeting and furnishings.

Its Lakes Restaurant is being upgraded at the same time and will be temporarily closed.

Restaurant booths will remain in the same area, Martin said. “I’m hoping that everyone is going to really like the new vision on there. … It’s going to be a real refresh.”

The first phase is expected to be wrapped up close to the end of the year.

In the second phase, an older two-storey, motel-style section of the hotel with 16 rooms is set to be demolished to allow a six-storey attached addition. A total of 67 new rooms are planned in the addition.

The developer is seeking an amendment to a development permit but rezoning is not required. “Even with this ­addition, we are still leaving density on the table,” Martin said.

The addition, designed by Studio 531 Architects Inc. of Victoria, should be open in 2024, he said.

Paul Nursey, chief executive of Destination Greater Victoria, called plans for the property, close to Saanich Commonwealth Place recreation centre, “fantastic.”

“That site has long been very important for sporting events at the Commonwealth pool,” he said.

The property has historically been a place where a lot of flight crews stay, Nursey said.

Greater Victoria’s accommodation sector is rebounding as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

The Holiday Inn is among at least five new hotels or expansions in the pipeline, bringing new rooms and jobs to the region, along with investment of tens of millions of dollars.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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