A stalled waterfront development in Sooke’s core is being resurrected by a Vancouver developer.
The former Mariner’s Village, touted as Sooke’s largest development project in 2011 before slipping into bankruptcy four years later, is back on the drawing board as Harbourview, with initial plans for 98 residential rental units and 16,000 square feet of commercial space at the corner of Sooke and Goodmere roads.
Seacliff Properties, which has major projects underway at Royal Beach in Colwood and Langford’s City Gate — including the new Tesla Centre and the Westview development on Skirt Mountain — plans a phased redevelopment of the 10-acre Harbourview site.
The company has submitted a development permit application to Sooke council for the initial phase and, pending approvals, hopes to begin construction in the spring.
Another 140 residential units as well as commercial spaces are planned at later dates.
Jeff Luccock, president of Seacliff, said Harbourview will breathe new life into Sooke’s town centre and waterfront and provide road improvements in and around the site.
“Seacliff Properties is excited to invest long-term in Sooke and move this much-anticipated project ahead,” Luccock said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to working with the district to bring the high-quality amenities that will significantly enhance the area and be of great benefit to the citizens of Sooke.”
Luccock said the project would provide a “multi-year employment opportunity” for the construction industry, generating spinoff benefits for local businesses.
Keycorp Consulting, which is planning the project for Seacliff, said the proposed development will bring improvements to Highway 14, including a new transit stop along the property’s frontage, an eastbound left-turn lane into Sooke Elementary School, an expanded westbound left-turn lane onto Goodmere Road, and intersection improvements for Sooke and Goodmere roads.
Malcolm McNaughton, Keycorp’s director of planning and business development, said the project will also include sidewalks, boulevard landscaping and a new pedestrian connection, and bring an extension of Lanark Road through to Goodmere Road, completing a much-needed “multi-modal” alternative to Highway 14.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said she is pleased to see the project moving forward, bringing with it long-term investment in Sooke’s core, along with needed housing, amenities and important upgrades to Highway 14.
“The developer’s community contributions are substantial and will benefit Sooke now and for years to come,” said Tait.
Seacliff Properties said it will retain ownership of Harbourview One, a purpose-built rental building, continuing its commitment to the community into the future. The six-storey apartment building is wrapped by townhomes on the lower side, creating a pedestrian-friendly public area.
Along Sooke Road, a one-storey commercial building and a three-storey mixed-use building has been dubbed The Shops at Harbourview.
The former Mariner’s Village site was zoned in 2011 for a comprehensive development on 12 acres that included several community amenities, such as a nature trail, pedestrian connection to the waterfront, affordable housing and medical space.
Billed as Sooke’s largest-ever construction project in 2011, it stalled after completion of the first phase — a 52-unit strata residential building at Lincroft Road.
Plans had called for 110,000 square feet of commercial space, 30,000 square feet of offices and nearly 400 condos and townhouses.
The initial developers were Michael Barrie, former pro hockey player and younger brother of Bear Mountain developer Len Barrie, and Rick Quigley of Fort St. John.
The development went into receivership in late 2015 with debts estimated at more than $23 million, including $442,000 in property taxes owed to the district.
Seacliff also has comprehensive large-scale developments at Fairwinds in Nanoose and a massive project south of Nanaimo called Sandstone, a 294-hectare, 2,200-home development planned for both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway.
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