Mixed-use development forces Pic-A-Flic Video to relocate

A mixed-use development planned for Cook and Pendergast streets in Victoria is displacing Pic-A-Flic Video, which will open in a new location in Stadacona Centre in October.

Aragon Properties of Vancouver has submitted a proposal to the City of Victoria to build a four-storey project with covered rooftop patios, plus commercial space and underground parking.

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Following discussion with neighbours, the rooftop level will be set back to improve the sense of separation from neighbours and to provide access to sky views and sunlight, Cascadia Architects said in a letter to city hall on behalf of the developer.

Plans call for 48 residential units and 5,759 square feet of commercial space. The entire building will be 55,541 square feet. Details in the application were “carefully crafted to respect the neighbourhood context, the official community plan and the draft updated Fairfield Gonzales neighbourhood plan,” Cascadia said.

This project is among four major developments by Aragon in the capital region. The others are Esquimalt Town Square, now under construction; 755 Cordova Bay Rd. where the former Trio gravel pit was located; and the English Inn in Esquimalt.

Coun. Chris Coleman, who represents the Fairfield area, said that although the official community plan suggests up to six storeys for the Cook Street site, neighbours want to see Aragon’s development limited to four storeys. City staff are analyzing the proposal, he said.

At some point, it will come to council to decide whether to forward it to a public hearing for a rezoning, he said.

The site covers 324-328 Cook St. and 1044, 1048, and 1052-54 Pendergast St. The properties hold three detached houses and a one-storey commercial building housing Pic-a-Flic and a Mac’s convenience store. The houses are not designated as heritage structures and cannot be moved because of trees on Pendergast and Cook, the architect said.

The 2,000-square-foot Pic-A-Flic has been based in Cook Street Village for 35 years. This is its second location.

Owner Kent Bendall said the store will remain open on Cook Street until the end of summer. It will then move its 30,000 movie and television discs to the former Gordie’s Music location, an 1,800-square-foot space at 1519 Pandora Ave. in Stadacona Centre. “I’m just going to shoehorn everything I can in there,” Bendall said.

Bendall, 48, took over the business in January 2016, after working there for 15 years. Even then he was thinking of moving because “these are some of the highest commercial rents in town.” Pic-A-Flic’s new location will be less costly to rent, he said. He did not reveal rates.

When Aragon announced it wanted to develop the land, that encouraged him to look for a new location with plenty of nearby residents, parking, and pedestrians walking by.

Pic-A-Flic is known for its wide range of movies and television shows, many of which cannot be found on online sites. Bendall is always looking out for hard-to-find titles and classics. He scans the internet after work, and sometimes customers make donations.

Topping his wish list: the American silent film Greed from the 1920s, and Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian film from the late 1980s.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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