Capital: Massive buildout in Vic West pushes skyward with plans to spend $1B

Construction could start by year’s end on the fourth new condominium building at Bayview Place as the region’s strong economy and hot real estate market continues to spur development.

When excavating machinery begins digging a huge hole to start that project, another group of nearby workers will be finishing the Encore, the third condo development on the 20-acre Bayview Place property.

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The Encore consists of a 17-storey tower, a pool and a five-storey structure. It will be ready by late spring 2018. Bayview One and the Promontory are already completed.

Bosa Properties of Vancouver is building Encore and the Promontory.

Focus Equities, Bayview Place owner, does not have plans for a partner for the fourth condo.

The roll out of Bayview Place is a major element in the decades-long evolution of Vic West, along with the Burnside-Gorge neigbourhood to its north and Esquimalt to the west.

These projects total hundreds of millions of dollars, provide incomes to hundreds of skilled trades workers and support local suppliers.

In 2008, the global financial crash slowed real estate sales and construction, but building has resumed as B.C.’s economy rebounded and demand jumped.

New housing and amenities such as parks, walkways, and cycling paths are being added on the west side of the Johnson Street and the Point Ellice Bridge. Paddlers ply the adjacent waters.

Close by, the mixed-use Dockside Green is primed for new construction under its revised development plan. LeFevre and Co. is nearing its years-long build out of the Railyards. Construction of the $24-million Victoria International Marina, a luxury facility, is underway and the Blue Bridge replacement project is nearing completion.

Bayview Place developer Ken Mariash is aiming to bring back E and N rail service between Langford and Vic West.

The eventual development cost for Bayview Place is expected to hit $1 billion. The site will eventually hold eight new buildings, along with a retail and commercial core at the historic Roundhouse site with its five buildings, plus parks, walkways and other amenities.

About 3,000 people are expected to live at Bayview once it is complete, said Paul Corns, Bayview Place communications manager.

The Roundhouse property is used for special events at this time, he said.

Combined construction costs for the first three Bayview Place buildings are about $300 million, said Chris Reiter, project manager at Bayview Place and Focus Equities. That does not include soft costs, such as fees to architects and engineers. Another $20 million has been spent on infrastructure.

About 100 skilled trades workers are at Encore these days. That number will rise by up to 350 by the time it is finished as a larger range of trades is brought in to finish the development, Reiter said.

The fourth condo project will have between 175 and 200 units, Reiter said. Its site is already zoned for between 24 and 26 storeys. It will have studios ranging up to three-bedroom units, which proved popular in Encore, he said.

Once ground is broken, construction will take 18 months to two years, he said.

Another future building may have hotel units on the lower levels, with condominiums above, Reiter said.

A seniors centre is also planned. Reiter is in talks with a potential partner interested in offering a continuum of care. No development date has been set.

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