Construction cranes going up at long-delayed Colwood Corners project

After a year of cleanup and preparation, building is about to start at Colwood Corners, a site that since 2013 has been little more than a hole in the ground at 1913 Sooke Rd.

Vancouver-based Onni Group erected a crane Tuesday afternoon at the site in preparation for construction on the first phase of what will be a massive mixed-use community on 12.5 acres.

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It’s the next step in reclaiming what had been an abandoned construction site.

League Assets, which had planned the Capital City Centre project at the site, shut down construction as it faced bankruptcy. After pouring concrete foundations, League left behind a hole in the ground.

Last year, Onni began work to drain pooled water and to undertake environmental remediation.

Onni, which took control of the site in the fall of 2014, has submitted plans to Colwood that call for a community with 471 residential units and a significant complement of commercial space to be built in three phases over five to seven years.

The first phase, will have seven buildings with three of those being mid-rise residential buildings with 276 rental units and 152,000 square feet of commercial space. That phase is expected to be complete by late 2020, or early in 2021.

The second phase will have an additional two six-storey residential buildings containing more than 200 units.

Plans include pedestrian and cycling connections to the Galloping Goose, landscaped public spaces, play areas for kids and a new boulevard along Sooke Road.

Plans for the third phase are still to be determined.

In January, the City of Colwood issued a preliminary building permit to Onni to begin work on overall site, civil-engineering and landscape preparation.

The site has been idle since the spring of 2013, when League Assets had to stop construction. Bankrupt and all but dissolved, League has since liquidated almost all of its assets.

League had at one time envisioned a $1.2-billion mixed-use development that, over 20 years, would include 12 residential high-rise towers; four office towers; four-storey, wood-framed residential buildings with commercial components; two-storey townhomes; multi-storey office buildings; and a public plaza.

In the fall of 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court approved a deal that saw Onni take control of the site for $17.5 million, which was used to pay off secured creditors and property taxes.

No money was left over for League investors.

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