The Burnside Gorge Community Association is praising plans by the new owner of the 1912 Scott Building to repurpose its upper floor space for housing and build an adjacent six-storey rental tower on an adjacent parking lot.
“It looks like a great proposal,” said association president Avery Stetski. “Their ideas are tremendous.”
The concept “fits in perfectly” with the local area plan for a large urban village and would bring amenities to the corner of Douglas Street and Hillside Avenue, he said.
Stetski’s comments are based on a presentation to the association’s land-use committee from the new owner, District Properties of Vancouver, which acquired the 2659 Douglas St. building and parking lot at 735 Hillside Ave.
Michael Nygren, a director of District Properties, could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday. The sale price was not disclosed. B.C. Assessment records show that the Scott Building is valued at $10.6 million and the parking lot at $2.6 million.
Michael Miller, a listing agent for the property with Colliers International Victoria office, said the sale closed Nov. 14.
When the 51,000-square-foot office building originally opened, it was built for residential use, according to Colliers’ marketing information. It noted the high-profile building is an example of Chicago-style architecture.
The Scott Building has been renovated through the years, with many of its character attributes restored. The exterior finishes are a combination of brick, stucco, marble and tile with ornate terra cotta trim, Colliers said.
The redevelopment project is a contrast to others that have caused the neighbourhood association concerns. The group has spoken out about the number of shelters and supportive housing projects that have been located in the neighbourhood. Problems such as drug dealing and use, and associated crime are driving away young families, the group said.
“Compared to everything else we are fighting in this neighbourhood, it was a welcome change,” Stetski said.
A rooftop garden, a courtyard between the Scott building and the rental tower and underground parking are planned in the Scott Building redevelopment, Stetski said.
A 45-degree corner space would come out of the existing building, he said. “They say that the structure of the building is such that it was like that in the past. What it does is it really opens up that corner.”
The top two floors would be used for residential and offices. Commercial-retail, with possibly a restaurant, would remain on the ground level.
A Burnside Gorge Community Association meeting is planned at its centre on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. to receive input from residents of the neighbourhood.