Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

On cusp of huge redevelopment, University Heights Shopping Centre sold to U.S. firm

A $230-million redevelopment is set to go to council for its fourth and final reading this month

University Heights Shopping Centre has been sold to a U.S. real estate company as the property approaches final approval of its extensive redevelopment plan with the District of Saanich.

This is South Carolina-based Greystar’s first major investment in Canada. The company manages and operates about $230 billion in real estate in 215 markets in North America, Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region, and has offices in Victoria and Vancouver.

John Wilbeck, Vancouver-based managing director at Greystar, said Friday that although the company is global, the redevelopment of University Heights will support local jobs and local companies. “We look forward to developing strong community relationships.”

The purchase price is not being released, said Greystar, which doesn’t expect to make changes to the project plans or timeline of redevelopment.

The $230-million redevelopment is set to go to council for its fourth and final reading this month, and construction is anticipated to start this spring.

An estimated 300 construction jobs and 200 permanent on-site jobs are expected to be created on what is destined to be a mixed-use site, now home to a 1980s-era shopping centre.

The property bordered by Shelbourne Street, McKenzie Avenue and Cedar Hill Road had been owned by Wesbild Holdings, a real estate development company that spent more than four years on the plan.

The redevelopment brings residential units to the site, with plans for more than 590 rental apartments in a region where rental units are in short supply. Of the total apartments, 60 would be designated as affordable.

Also included in the plan is a public plaza, B.C. Transit hub, new commercial areas, up to 11,000 square feet of daycare space, and electric-vehicle-charging infrastructure.

Plans call for the Home Depot store on the property to be expanded. It’s expected to remain open during the site’s redevelopment.

Wesbild president Kevin Layden said the company will do everything it can to ensure a smooth handoff of the property.

Devon Properties of Greater Victoria will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the shopping centre.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com