Construction of a new liquor store in Esquimalt could start this spring if the township approves a building permit for the former Tudor House Pub site.
Featuring a design of glass walls and wood framing, the building is among recent initiatives signalling a development revival in the township.
“We are very, very pleased,” Bill Lang, president of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday.
The new building is to rise in place of the 109-year-old Tudor House pub, which was destroyed by fire in July 2013.
Debris was cleared away and residents have been waiting for a new development at the corner of Admirals and Esquimalt roads since then.
Last July, Esquimalt council approved a development permit. The building permit application was submitted March 22 and staff are reviewing it.
Andrew Emmerson of GBL Architects said if everything goes smoothly, construction could start within a few weeks and wrap up in early 2017 at the earliest. Wales McLelland of Burnaby is the general contractor. A construction value is not yet available.
“The lower level of the space will function principally as a liquor store with an associated tasting bar, while the upper mezzanine level is a multi-functional space for the purposes of hosting tasting sessions and other social events,” a GBL statement said.
Plans call for 6,500 square feet of ground-level retail space, topped by a 2,500-square-foot mezzanine.
Other features for the property include a wall of plants on the east side of the building, two pocket parks to enliven the street frontage and create a public amenity, and a 5,000-square-foot temporary community garden. A temporary parking lot is also planned.
Development for other uses could eventually happen.
Assessed at $2.5 million, the site is owned by Dirty Digger Holdings Ltd. and Rambo Management Ltd. Directors are members of the Dumas family of Langley. They could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins has not spoken with the owners recently, but they have been in touch with Esquimalt staff. “So everything seems good,” the mayor said. “I have followed up with them at various times and, from what I understand, they are quite excited and they wanted to move forward as quickly as they could.”
The aim is to get the liquor store operating first, she said.
“They haven’t closed any doors in terms of what they might do with the rest of the property,” Desjardins said. Other permitted uses on that side include a pub, hotel or residential units in a building of up to 12 storeys.
“This is really going to increase the activity on that corner and I think it will be transformational along with the village project to have those kinds of services,” Desjardins said.
“It’s going to create a new vibrancy on that corner.”
The locally owned Red Barn Market is setting up a 12,000-square-foot store kitty corner to the Tudor property, planning to open in spring 2017. That venture is being developed in a retail partnership with the Songhees First Nation.
The grocery store will be constructed on a lot once occupied by a government liquor store, which closed in 2013.
Also moving forward is the mixed-use Esquimalt Village project on Esquimalt Road that would see redevelopment on 0.8 hectares of municipal land, which once held the original municipal hall and public works yard.
As Esquimalt looks forward to new projects, the municipality is receiving “significant interest” from developers wanting to know what land is available and for what uses, Desjardins said.