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Esquimalt's EconoLodge hotel to be transformed into rental apartments

Esquimalt's 122-room EconoLodge Inn & Suites on Island Highway at Admirals Road will be repurposed into 96-units of rental housing.

Esquimalt's EconoLodge hotel to be transformed into rental apartments
Esquimalt’s 122-room EconoLodge Inn & Suites along the Gorge Waterway will be repurposed into a 96-unit rental complex, Citified has learned.
Developer GMC Projects has submitted plans to the municipality of Esquimalt and seeks rezoning approvals for a mixed-use residential and commercial development at the high-profile confluence of Esquimalt, Songhees First Nation land, Saanich and View Royal on Island Highway at Admirals Road.
Dubbed Portage West, the project will be released into the rental pool in four phases, starting with 13-to-15 studio and one-bedroom units.
“The site is made up of four two-storey buildings and a row of five cabins. Pending successful rezoning approvals, our first phase will repurpose one of the buildings into rental apartments by late summer or early fall of next year,” said Jordan Milne, President of GMC Projects.
The company’s vision for Portage West will see the hotel grounds transformed into a waterfront community with a pool overlooking the Gorge Waterway, a communal kitchen, a clubhouse with a yoga studio, and as part of the last phase, a coffee shop or restaurant.
A dock extending onto the Gorge Waterway will be installed following the project’s completion, although no set date for the amenity has been established.
Milne says the impact on Esquimalt’s limited lodging industry will not be immediate. As part of an agreement with the hotel operator, EconoLodge will continue to accommodate guests with reduced capacity while GMC Projects focuses on converting one building at a time.
“Phasing the project allows EconoLodge to operate into 2018 and gives us the ability to release units on a building-by-building basis. We anticipate having the entire complex repurposed by mid-to-late 2018.”
Portage West's pet-friendly unit make-up is expected to include a mix of studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with layouts sized between 350 and nearly 800 square feet. The five cabins will accommodate several two-bedroom units in the 800 square foot range, while one of the cabins will feature a single four-bedroom apartment encompassing some 1,500 square feet.
The hotel’s generous surface and partially-covered parking will be maintained and will yield more parking capacity than available units at the complex.

“We’ll be providing plenty of parking, both for our residents and their visitors. Of course some residents will not be dependent on a vehicle given the project’s location along a well serviced bus corridor. And with the Admirals Walk shopping centre just up the road, most daily necessities will be a short walk away,” Milne said.
News of the EconoLodge conversion into rental apartments comes on the heels of Citified’s article on hotels-turned-apartments in downtown Victoria and periphery neighbourhoods.
The trend of repurposing aging hotel inventory into upgraded full-time rentals has created over 300-units of housing since the start of the decade, while some 450-rooms of transient lodging has been lost. C

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