Plans for Northern Junk warehouses to get public hearing July 29

Victoria council will hold a public hearing July 29 on plans to rehabilitate the Gold Rush warehouses, also known as the Northern Junk warehouses, near the Johnson Street Bridge.

Reliance Properties wants to rehabilitate two of the city’s oldest buildings, which date from the 1860s, and incorporate them into a six-storey mixed-use building with commercial space, 47 residential rental units, an internal alleyway and waterfront walkway.

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Some councillors and heritage proponents have expressed concerns that the proposal would overwhelm the warehouses, and that the project could set a precedent for building on top of heritage properties.

Councillors voted against sending the project to a public hearing last year, but reversed course in May with a 5-4 vote, after the developer offered improvements on Wharf Street, such as a sidewalk connection and a public bench.

The Caire & Grancini ­Warehouse, built in 1860, is considered a rare example of work by San Francisco-based architect John Wright, while the Fraser Warehouse, built in 1864, was designed by Thomas Trounce, who arrived in Victoria during the Fraser River gold rush era.

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