Vancouver developer revives massive Colwood waterfront project

The new owner of 26 acres of land facing Esquimalt Lagoon expects to start building townhouses early next year on what was once the Aquattro project in Colwood.

The initial phase of what is now called Two Waters will see 61 townhouse units built, said Peter Tioco, co-managing director of Vancouver-based Relevant Properties.

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Zoning allows for 707 units and, depending on market conditions, Tioco hopes to see phases rolled out and overlapping as construction takes place. If all goes according to plan, the build-out would take about five years.

“We are extremely excited that we are actually getting close to construction,” he said.

The property overlooks Esquimalt Lagoon and the ocean beyond, leading to the Two Waters name. Tioco calls the land “unique” and said homes are designed to suit the property.

Development of Aquattro began more than a decade ago, but stalled after 88 large, high-end condominium units were built. The project ended up changing hands under a court-ordered sale to Seacliff Properties Ltd. of Vancouver, which changed the name to Ocean Grove. The condo units have all been sold.

Seacliff took the project to Colwood for a successful rezoning, but did not develop the site. Relevant owns the land now and received its development permit Sept. 7. It is working with architect Paul Merrick for site and building plans. Tioco expects to submit a building permit application in a couple of months.

Site preparation is already underway, he said.

The first phase of 61 townhouses will be developed in three buildings. There will be 31 two-bedroom and 30 three-bedroom units off Seafield Road, some stacked up to four storeys. Prices are expected to run from the low- to mid-$400,000 range to the mid- to high-$600,000, Tioco said. Townhouse size will average 1,300 square feet.

The first phase is expected to be finished about spring 2020, Tioco said.

He anticipates that buyers will be mainly local residents who want to live in the units, not purchase them as investments.

Tioco said that future phases will respond to the market and could include condominiums in a building of up to six storeys.

Buildings will cover about 40 to 50 per cent of the property, Tioco said. The project includes developing a riparian area next to the stream that runs through the land, as well as trails and a viewing station on the southwest portion of the site. The original developer donated nine acres abutting the water for a bird sanctuary.

An existing amenity building is underutilized and is being studied. Other amenities are possible, depending on what buyers want, Tioco said.

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