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‘Remagined’ Mayfair mall development would include housing

Expansion at shopping centre site expected to span several years

The new owner of Mayfair shopping centre and the commercial lot to the south where Bed Bath and Beyond is located is embarking on a long-term development plan for its holdings that includes new housing.

Neighbourhood open houses are set for Monday and Tuesday to share ideas and goals prior to a detailed plan being drawn up.

The goal is for owner Central Walk to submit a rezoning application and application to change the official community plan in early spring.

Valen Tam, company director of asset management, said the plan is to create a “contemporary, inclusive, and accessible social-commercial community gathering hub that combines commercial, residential, and semi-public uses.”

Central Walk favours a mixed-use development, saying it is looking at a “significant offering of housing.” No numbers of units have been determined yet.

Possible heights were not outlined yet, either.

Plan could include recreation, civic and educational uses.

Open houses are intended to raise public awareness of what could be possible, forge relationships with the community and start a dialogue with the City of Victoria, a company statement said Wednesday.

Central Walk is headed by Vancouver Island resident Weihong Liu, who owns Mayfair, the commercial lot, Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre and Arbutus Ridge Golf Course. She bought Mayfair last year.

The shopping centres were previously owned by Montreal’s Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Central Walk manages a portfolio valued at more than $3 billion, it said.

Avery Stetski, land use chair of the Burnside Gorge Neighbourhood Association, said the group has not formally vetted any application, but has been in touch with the owner’s representative.

“We acknowledge that this is a significant project for the city, and we are pleased to work with the owners and their representatives to ensure our community’s ideas and suggestions are heard.”

Niall Paltiel, principal of Ascend Planning who is working with company officials and Victoria’s Cascadia Architects on the project, said redevelopment could take place over many years under a phased plan.

It would likely start on the Blanshard side of the property, then move toward Douglas, where the newest expansion and upgrading of Mayfair was completed in 2019.

The shopping centre, which has about 100 shops and ­restaurants, was expanded by 100,000 square feet at a cost of $72 million. It now has a total of 522,391 square feet of retail space and 2,042 parking spaces.

Additional opportunities will come up for public input on Mayfair, Paltiel said.

“It is about reimagining what a shopping centre could be as a community hub.”

Mayfair and the nearby commercial site are being looked at as one property, he said.

For health and safety reasons, pre-registration for the open houses is required.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com