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Redevelopment of Douglas Street's Island Outfitters property envisioned as six-storey rental complex with retail

A rendering of 3319 Douglas Street, looking east towards the property from Douglas Street. Aryze Developments has proposed a six-storey rental and retail complex on land formerly occupied by outdoor supply retailer Island Outfitters.  Aryze Developments / 5468796 Architecture

Redevelopment of Douglas Street's Island Outfitters property envisioned as six-storey rental complex with retail
A creatively-designed proposal along Saanich’s upper Douglas Street corridor could become a mixed-use landmark with rental residences and modern retail units.
Victoria’s Aryze Developments and Winnipeg-based 5468796 Architecture have envisioned a six-storey complex for Island Outfitters’ former location at 3319 Douglas Street. If built, the project will stand as one of the earliest adopters of Saanich’s new Uptown-Douglas Plan guiding the build-out and densification of the district’s core north of the Saanich-Victoria border.
“As the first residential proposal in its immediate vicinity, we are committed to bringing many elements of the Uptown-Douglas Plan to life as part of our re-purposing of the Island Outfitters property,” said Luke Mari, principal of development at Aryze Developments. “This corridor is going to anchor Saanich’s downtown, and housing will play a critical role in the area’s evolution from a light industrial and commercial hub to one with high density residential with a wide variety of retail and employment opportunities.”
5468796 Architecture’s concept takes advantage of the irregular site shape, with the building stepping along the angled street frontage providing every unit with corner windows and extended views. An alternating mosaic of solids and voids brings movement and animation to the façades. The building, Mari describes, "is designed to gradually filter away the daily grind" through its sequence of "highly articulated private spaces throughout."
3319 Douglas Street.
A rendering of 3319 Douglas Street, looking east from Douglas Street.  Aryze Developments / 5468796 Architecture
Frontage improvements are designed to support the long term vision of the corridor and include expanded sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and boulevard trees. The ground floor – with textured concrete as its dominant feature and expansive double-height floor-to-ceiling windows exposing large commercial spaces – also includes a first-of-its-kind bicycle ramp for cyclists to access bike storage, and an entrance for the building’s underground parking garage.
With the Island Outfitters property spanning approximately three quarters of an acre, the building will rise with the massing of two blocks connected by a 5,500 square foot courtyard. Retail tenants will front onto Douglas Street while a mezzanine level will back onto the courtyard to provide outdoor seating for customers. Residential residents will have access to a 9,000 square foot rooftop amenity area complete with a large dog run, barbecue facilities, fire pits, garden boxes, exercise area and room to entertain. Co-working spaces for individuals working from home will be available to complement live-work spaces on the ground floor. The breadth of amenities, Mari says, is part of Aryze’s commitment to creating a community-within-a-city and expanding the quality of housing options for renters ahead of the corridor’s eventual densification.
“When you are an early adopter of an area in transition, your project has to function as though its three-dimensional, with everything its future residents will need to function as you build what is essentially a city unto itself,” Mari said, adding that “we feel a project like this has to be self-sustaining until such a time as additional amenities are built for the neighbourhood.”
Approximately 170 homes are part of the current design iteration, with floorplans in studio, one and two bedroom layouts plus a collection of live-work homes. Mari says the plan is for rental rates to be tethered to an affordability eligibility in partnership with BC Housing’s Housing Hub initiative.
Aryze Developments will be submitting an official rezoning application to the District of Saanich this fall as it seeks regulatory permission to build out the proposal.
3319 Douglas Street.
A rendering of 3319 Douglas Street, looking northeast from Douglas Street.  Aryze Developments / 5468796 Architecture
Island Outfitters moved its operation to the West Shore’s Colwood Strip in the spring of 2020 following a January 4th, 2020 fire that gutted the entire business. The store’s Douglas Street land holding was purchased by Aryze in mid-2020.
In addition to Aryze’s proposal, Vancouver-based Shape Properties has a 24-storey residential tower in planning as Uptown Shopping Centre’s fourth and final phase. The highrise is moving forward with a density of some 350 suites.
Near the intersection of Blanshard Street and Cloverdale Avenue, two blocks east from Aryze’s site, Saanich developer Woodsmere Holdings has plans for two rental blocks with nearly 300-units.
And on the Victoria side of upper Douglas Street, Victoria’s Mike Geric Construction is building Tresah, a mass timber-designed condominium tower with nearly 250-suites on Speed Avenue near Mayfair Shopping Centre. Tresah, now selling, is kick-starting the redevelopment of what has been dubbed the Mayfair District centred on Douglas and Finlayson streets. Aryze Developments is providing Mike Geric Construction with planning, design, and construction services for Tresah. C
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