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‘Lean, mean and modern’: Developer plans $60M Old Town condo project

Developer Chris LeFevre is planning a $60-million, 164-unit condo project on the northern edge of Old Town, featuring a design harkening back to the area’s industrial heritage. “It will be lean, mean and modern,” LeFevre said.

Developer Chris LeFevre is planning a $60-million, 164-unit condo project on the northern edge of Old Town, featuring a design harkening back to the area’s industrial heritage.

“It will be lean, mean and modern,” LeFevre said.

This will be the first of his Old Town developments to feature all-new construction. In the other 10, LeFevre took over often dilapidated buildings to restore and convert them for residential and commercial use.

The project is called Ironworks, named for the neighbourhood’s industrial past, LeFevre said, referring to the former Albion Iron Works on Chatham Street and the nearby Capital Iron building on Store Street, originally home to a marine scrap business.

Exteriors of the project will be clad in Cor-Ten steel, a product that does not need painting and weathers to a rust-like colour. The design “respects its industrial past with what I would call progressive modern architecture,” LeFevre said.

Development applications were to be submitted to Victoria City Hall on Wednesday.

The four-building project, with courtyards, would be built on what is now a 90-vehicle parking lot at Chatham and Store streets, across from Capital Iron. The two larger buildings would be five storeys, and the two smaller ones would be three storeys.

The development will be 98,479 square feet.

Required zoning is in place, LeFevre said. Only “nominal” variances are being requested.

Construction would start in June on the first phase, with a 90-unit building at the corner of Chatham and Store streets.

Slightly more than 1,800 square feet of commercial space is planned for the Store Street side of the building. Ground-floor live-work units would be located in this building and the adjacent structure along Chatham Street.

Plans for Ironworks include 170 underground parking stalls and bicycle storage.

LeFevre’s other projects in Old Town did not include parking because the buildings were already standing.

“To be able to build new is very exciting,” he said. “I feel I have a very strong sense of the marketplace down here.”

The capital region’s strong housing market and interest in living downtown is spurring construction.

Units would range from 400-square-foot studios to one bedroom and a den. Anticipated prices are from slightly less than $300,000 into the $500,000 range.

Land purchase cost, soft costs (such as consultants’ fees) and construction costs would total more than $60 million for Ironworks, LeFevre said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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