$100-million project pitched for 20 acres in Colwood

A $100-million development plan for 20 acres on what has been named the Allandale District in Colwood is being jointly developed by Omicron Development Inc. and Lotus Capital Corp. of Vancouver.

About 353,000 square feet of buildings are envisioned, Peter Laughlin, Omicron’s director of development on Vancouver Island, said Thursday.

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The proposal covers four development parcels. Omicron and Lotus will own two and Omicron will be the development manager of the other two.

Applications have been submitted for employment centre zoning on two of the parcels to attract businesses, add services and provide local jobs, which would help address local transportation issues, Laughlin said. The West Shore is known for its slow traffic during rush hours.

“One of the things that we were looking at, and we knew from past experience - there was a need for industrial lands. The Island is growing. We have an extremely solid economy here. The economy needs support. So we were looking for industrial land for quite a while,” Laughlin said.

The Allandale District is located on both sides of Veterans Memorial Parkway and along Allandale Road.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said the community has called for more commercial and light industrialdevelopment.

These kinds of uses will broaden the tax base, he said, adding that, as a bedroom community, Colwood has been relying on residential taxpayers to cover most of the municipality’s bills.

To have tax revenue from commercial uses is “huge for us,” Martin said.

Colwood is passionate about adding well-paying new jobs, held by people who live in the community, Martin said.

“In a very small way, it begins to address the issues around transportation as well. One of our solutions to this is that we need to begin to create more jobs here in the West Shore.”

He welcomes projects which will redevelop existing brownfield sites in Colwood, as in this case.

Half of the development lands are on an old gravel pit and the remainder on a rock bluff, Laughlin said.

Rocks were blasted out of the bluff to create flat areas for development. More than 200,000 cubic metres of blasted rock was relocated to become infill on the former gravel pit, making the entire area usable, Laughlin said. “Land that was seven-eight-nine metres below the road level is now at road level and usable. So it’s a good example of brownfield development.”

Ridley Bros. has been the owner of the four parcels, Laughlin said.

Rezoning applications for two lots, one immediately to the west of the Parkway (Lot B) and another to the east (Lot C) and north of Allandale Road, have been submitted to pave the way for mixed-use employment centres. The applications are expected to come up on the city’s Aug. 24 agenda.

Omicron and Lotus Capital will own the southern and most westerly lot, Lot A, as well as Lot C, north of Allandale and east of the Parkway.

Lot A already allows a range of industrial uses. Colliers International is carrying out market research on what would be the best use for Lot C.

Lot B, immediately to the west of the Parkway, will be owned by local company Sherringham Holdings Ltd.

“The plan right now is for approximately 100,000 square feet of development on that site,” Laughlin said. Of that, about 60,000 square feet will be built as mini-storage, with 40,000 used for commercial-retail.

“The interesting innovation that Sherringham is bringing to the mini-storage market is it is a multi-floor mini-storage,” Laughlin said.

Plans call for a four-storey building, serviced by industrial elevators.

The fourth parcel, Lot 3, east of the parkway and south of Allandale, will be developed on behalf of the Carson Auto Group for a new Ford dealership, Laughlin said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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