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Turner building buyer wants offices, coffee shop back

The buyer of the old Turner Building hopes to put a coffee shop on the ground floor and build offices above, says Alan Lowe, the project’s architect. It is too soon to say exactly what will happen, Lowe said Tuesday.
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The derelict Turner Building on Richmond Road has a new owner.

The buyer of the old Turner Building hopes to put a coffee shop on the ground floor and build offices above, says Alan Lowe, the project’s architect.

It is too soon to say exactly what will happen, Lowe said Tuesday.

“We intend to go to council Thursday night to ask for time to review the building and to stabilize it so that we can look at all our options,” said Lowe, a former Victoria mayor.

The Turner Building, near Royal Jubilee Hospital, is under a time constraint. Because of its poor condition, it faced demolition this fall and twice received 30-day windows to give the Turner family time to either arrange for demolition or to plan a redevelopment. Last month, the building was put on the market for $1.4 million. Two adjacent lots were also available and purchased by the new owner as well.

Lowe would not disclose the buyer’s name or the total sale price.

The latest remediation deadline for the 2002 Richmond Rd. site runs to Dec. 21, Lowe said. Victoria’s final council meeting this year is Thursday. The sale closes later this week and that is when the new owner will have access to the building, Lowe said.

“In order for our client to look at all the options before them, we felt probably the best thing to do was to have our structural consultant review how we can stabilize the building until we make a decision on the direction we are moving forward with,” said Lowe.

Engineering firm Read Jones Christoffersen has been hired to evaluate the building. The same company did a report for the city on the building as well as for the Turners, Lowe said.

“It’s a key site in the Jubilee village centre, so it is our client’s intention to keep a coffee shop or something on the ground floor and obviously we want to make sure it is a building that will fit in within the Jubilee centre neighbourhood. Our client does want to build some office space there.” The site is between an office building at 2020 Richmond and the Fort Royal Medical Building, Lowe noted.

If possible, the owner would like to save some element of the building, he said.

Lowe could not provide a time line for new construction, saying a project would have to go through a rezoning first.

The two-storey 1940s building was a destination coffee shop, run by Ian Turner. It has been closed up for years and deteriorated.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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