Capital Iron building part of 7-acre parcel going on the market

A nearly seven-acre assembly of land that includes the historic Capital Iron building, running from the foreshore of Victoria’s Upper Harbour east to Government Street, is going on the market for an unspecified price.

The land and buildings are owned by Victoria’s Greene family. Morris Greene founded Capital Iron as a scrap business. The business was taken on by son Ronald Greene and its retail offerings have grown ever since.

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Mike Black, Ronald Greene’s son-in-law, is now sole owner of the Capital Iron business, which is a tenant in a building at 1900 Store St. Capital Iron also has stores in Sidney and Langford.

“Capital Iron is not for sale,” Black said Tuesday.

He anticipates that a land and building sale will permit the business to remain in its 1862 heritage-registered building.

The store’s lower area, to the west of Store Street, is filled with outdoor furniture, garden pots, plants and more now that spring is here.

“Capital Iron has control of its leases for all three stores for the foreseeable future,” Black said.

His daughter Kylie, Capital Iron’s executive project manager, joined the business in summer 2017 with the goal of taking over when Black retires, he said. She represents the fourth generation in the business.

The collection of lots will be marketed by Cushman and Wakefield. The listing will be ready in two to three weeks.

Family spokesman and consultant David Ganong said, “This is probably one of the best sites remaining in the city of Victoria. Where else do you find seven acres?”

Developers have approached the family in the past, he said.

He anticipates that given the size and scope of the lands, that Lower Mainland developers will be interested, noting that other major development properties have been purchased recently by Vancouver companies.

“There is so much attention on Victoria from the Vancouver development crowd, it would be a natural.”

Existing zoning allows for mixed use and industrial use, with some residential. The grade of the property on the Capital Iron side runs from sidewalk level down to the water. The property offers a panoramic view that includes Vic West and downtown.

The properties were assembled over many years. The land and building are owned by Greene family companies, Store Street Holdings Ltd. and Kaeru Holdings Ltd.

“Their objective is to sell the entire assembly because that is probably where the most value is,” Ganong said. “This will not affect the existing tenants. Their lease tenure is still intact.”

Other than Capital Iron, tenants include Valhalla Pure Outfitters, 1834 Store St., and the Hop, 1910 Store St., where locally made goods are sold.

Across Store Street to the east is Capital Iron’s parking lot, plus commerical buildings running to Government Street. That site is bordered by Discovery and Chatham Streets and is home to clothing store Mark’s at 530 Chatham St., plus a strip of businesses facing Government Street, including Compugen, Sports Rent, Island Graphics, and Ark at Home Fireplaces.

The Greene family holdings are coming on the market as developers increasingly turn their attention to the north end of downtown, once an enclave for heavy industry. This is an area in transition, with developers are working on condominium plans. These include Chris LeFevre, who is aiming to put up a condo project with some commercial space nearby at Chatham and Store streets. Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. will open a tasting room at the corner of Discovery and Government Streets.

Note to readers: This is a corrected version of the story. David Ganong is president and founder of Canada ICI, a firm specializing in capital markets and real estate financing. He is no longer managing director of Colliers International on Vancouver Island. 

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