Aquara seniors complex in Victoria delayed by pandemic and financing

Deposits have been returned to prospective buyers and renters now that the Aquara seniors complex at Bayview Place in Songhees has been paused.

A decision will be made before year’s end on when the project will be relaunched, Ernie Hee, executive vice-president of Element Lifestyle ­Retirement of Vancouver, said Friday. The developer is committed to ­building Aquara, Hee said.

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Under provincial legislation, developers are required to return deposits and cease marketing within a certain period of time if a project has not gone ahead.

A new disclosure statement will be filed when the project is relaunched, Hee said.

The 153,000-square-foot Aquara, earlier reported to be valued at $88 million, was designed to offer an aging-in-place service that would provide a transition from independent living to complex care.

Plans call for it to be constructed below the Bayview One condominium building with access along Tyee and Kimta roads.

Money was refunded last month to those who had made reservations, said Hee, who did not reveal how many received refunds, saying that was confidential. Some of those receiving their deposits back said they wanted to be put on a waitlist, he said. “We’ve got people still interested.”

The decision to pause the project stemmed from a combination of the pandemic crisis affecting marketing and the need to finalize construction-loan financing, he said.

Element is now ­completing financing and construction details, he said. The developer had initially anticipated completing the facility next year. Considerable site work has been completed, including removing large rocks from the property.

The construction timeline for the project is pegged at 24 months, Hee said.

Element Lifestyle Retirement opened the $106-million Opal retirement community in ­Vancouver in November. It has also filed applications for ­subdivision and rezoning with Langley city hall to build a $200-million complex called Oasis.

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