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W&J Wilson building, built in 1870, on the market for $4.5 million

The building was home to W&J Wilson Clothiers, known for its high-end clothing, until it closed last year
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The W&J Wilson building on Government Street in the Old Town retail district was first constructed in 1870. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The 150-year-old W&J ­Wilson building at the corner of ­Government Street and Trounce Alley is for sale for $4.5 million.

A fixture in Victoria’s ­downtown for generations, the one-storey building is located in a premier retail district in Old Town attracting both local ­shoppers and tourists.

AY (Avison Young) Victoria Realty Ltd., which is marketing the 1215-1221 Government St. site, said the building was constructed in 1870 and its facade was created in 1912.

The building, which is on Victoria’s heritage registry, is a “handsome example” of Edwardian era architecture and reinforces the historic ­character of the 1200 block of the ­Government Street precinct, according to a City of Victoria description.

The building was home to W&J Wilson Clothiers, known for its high-end clothing, until it closed last year, citing ­changing demographics and tastes in clothing, the pandemic and resulting lack of special events that helped drive sales. The clothing company still has stores in Oak Bay and Sidney.

While the original Wilson ­family still owns the property, the Thompson family took over the clothing store in 1956.

AY Realty describes the building as an “iconic landmark” property in the city’s Old Town, close to Victoria Harbour. It has 11,100 square feet of rentable area and has been upgraded over the years.

Along with its ground-floor space, the building has an extensive lower level and basement area. Its Government Street frontage is available for lease or for use by an owner-occupier, the company said.

Part of the property has ­tenants. It holds Park’s ­Restaurant, with frontage and access via Trounce Alley. And Quazar’s Arcade is located in part of the building’s lower level, reached by stairs in the alley.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com