Red Barn Market to open grocery store near legislature

The Capital Park development near the legislature in James Bay is starting to take shape with the announcement of the first commercial tenant and a new library branch for the site.

Red Barn Market will open a 6,000-square-foot grocery store and deli in the new development.

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Rus Benwell, a partner in Red Barn Market, said the store is expected to open in January 2018. It is the first commercial tenant in the office/residential/retail complex on the 6.2-acre site bordering Superior, Menzies and Michigan streets developed by Concert Properties and Jawl Development.

“With the new library and new government offices there, we anticipate James Bay will be a great location for us,” Benwell said.

“We will offer our full-service sandwich bar, all of our smokehouse offerings, ice cream and full produce and grocery.”

Meanwhile, Victoria city councillors agreed Thursday to a plan that will ultimately see a branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library at the site.

Sitting as committee of the whole, councillors agreed to the development plan, which will cost $1.5 million from city coffers in initial capital spending.

The development proposal will move along to a full meeting of council scheduled for next Thursday.

Under the proposal, the city’s costs for the library would be recovered through taxes levied on the new development once it is completed.

A library branch in James Bay has been in Victoria city plans since 1994, when a development agreement known as the Victoria Accord was struck.

Mayor and councillors have expressed enthusiasm for the development and library, saying it will create a real hub for the community.

Capital Park will be the seventh location for Victoria-based Red Barn, controlled by partners Benwell, Peter Hansen, Ashley Bourque and Duncan Davies.

The company announced this year it was taking over a former government liquor store in Esquimalt on Admirals Road. That project is in the development permit stage, and has been hailed as a major revitalization project in Esquimalt’s core.

Red Barn’s newest store opened last year on Oak Bay Avenue. It also has stores in West Saanich, Latoria Walk in Colwood and at Mattick’s Farm — another development by Victoria’s Jawl family, who often put local businesses and companies in their building projects.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the Jawls,” Benwell said. “And we’re getting great community response from our shoppers.”

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