Major changes ahead for the Macaroni Grill building, Victoria’s ‘Alamo’

Remember the Alamo —because Victoria’s version is about to disappear.

Victoria’s planning committee has given the green light for a development permit so exterior renovations can be made to the former Macaroni Grill building at Mayfair Shopping Centre as it makes the transition into a new home for the Island Savings Credit Union.

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If you think that’s a long way from the Alamo — the historic mission in San Antonio, Texas — you’re not alone. But there is a connection. “I remember when the original [Macaroni Grill] building was approved and I asked them what their architectural inspiration was,” veteran councillor Pam Madoff explained this week.

“Apparently, it was the Alamo. So another Victoria landmark will disappear with the loss of the Alamo,” she joked. “Regardless, I’m prepared to sacrifice the Alamo and put the recommendation [to issue a development permit] on the floor.”

Proposed changes to the building’s exterior include:

• reconfiguring the south side entry, cladding it with metal and cedar;

• concealing the existing sloped roof by extending the south and west walls upward;

• replacing the sloped ceramic tile roofs with metal standing seam roofs;

• moving some windows and adding red cedar cladding on the Douglas Street and south facades and painting existing and new stucco.

The brick building was home to the Macaroni Grill for 17 years. In 2011, the Spectra Hospitality Group, which held the Macaroni Grill franchise, renamed it Luca's Cucina and Taphouse. The 370-seat restaurant, one of the largest in the region, closed in February 2012.

Island Savings, which has been in its current 5,500-square-foot site inside the mall for almost two decades, increases its footprint to 7,700 square feet with the move to the stand-alone building.

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