Site of fire-damaged store could be turned into residential rental building

A mixed-use development could rise in two years from the ashes of Island Outfitters’ former Douglas Street location.

Aryze Developments is partnering with the former owners of the fishing and hunting retail store, badly damaged by fire in January, on plans for a new mid-rise building for 3319 Douglas St. The new building is expected to offer rental housing with a commercial component at grade level.

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Island Outfitters founders Darren Wright and Ward Bond, who sold the store to employees — they have reopened in View Royal — decided that providing needed housing in the region made sense for the space.

“We wanted to ensure whoever took over the space would make the best use of it​,” said Wright. “We have always really respected the innovation and creativity that Aryze brings to each project and it just felt like the best fit.”

Aryze principal Luke Mari said economics will dictate whether it builds condos or rental residential units, but he favours the rental idea and wants to see an “employment aspect” to the ground floor.

Mari said most of the cleanup from the fire has been carried out and they hope to take out a demolition permit within the next month. He expects to go through the design and municipal approval process next year and intends to break ground in the fall of 2022.

“​The site fits in really well with our project approach of densifying locations to support walkable/transit-driven lifestyles​,” Mari said.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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