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Roundhouse developer seeks community support

Developer Ken Mariash is hoping to get things rolling again on the second phase of the Bayview project.
Bayview Place is seen behind the Songhees condominiums in Victoria in November 2022. Developer Ken Mariash is hoping to get things rolling again on the second phase of the project. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

In the hopes of catching the attention of Victoria city ­council, the developer behind the ­Bayview and Roundhouse projects on Songhees is bringing the community together for a project update.

Ken Mariash, founder of ­Bayview Place and Focus ­Equities, said it’s time to bring the community together and “talk to the neighbours” to let them know there are still plans to bring a new development out of the ground on the 20-acre Roundhouse site.

“We met with them a year ago and a year before that,” he said, noting it’s just time for another update and explanation that they are still waiting to get through the city’s planning department and, he hopes, a date with the city’s committee of the whole.

Mariash admits he’s ­getting tired after working on the project for more than 20 years, but is still intent on seeing the Roundhouse project through. The Roundhouse is the second large phase of the Bayview project. The Roundhouse envisions as many as nine towers ranging in height from 18 to 28 storeys with 1,900 residential units, 16 per cent of which are to be below-market rental units, 76,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and 40 per cent of the site devoted to publicly accessible amenities.

Mariash, who is the first to admit he’s had a fractious relationship with the city over the site, said he’s hopeful there’s a chance to get things rolling again.

“No one wants to get this thing started again more than us,” he said, noting they have spent millions in carrying costs to maintain the land over the last several years. “We’re never going to get that money back, but you can’t just stop. The project’s too big.”

Mariash’s enthusiasm for the Roundhouse does not seem to be diminished.

“It’s a hell of a project. We may not make any money, but we’ll certainly be able to leave behind a fabulous project,” he said.

Part of the project includes a site Bayview donated last year to the Greater Victoria Housing Society, which hopes to build an 18-storey tower with 180 rental units of affordable housing.

Today’s community ­meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. at the ­Bayview presentation centre at 80 Saghalie Rd. The event, which will run until 8 p.m., will feature a keynote address from Brent Toderian, a former chief planner for the City of Vancouver who is now advising on the Bayview project.