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$100 million TELUS Ocean proposal for Douglas Street at Humboldt Street headed to public hearing

TELUS Ocean, a 12-storey, 144,000 square foot environmentally-leading office tower proposed for Douglas Street at Humboldt Street in downtown Victoria, will go before council December 9th for its public hearing component of the municipal approvals process.  TELUS / Aryze Developments

$100 million TELUS Ocean proposal for Douglas Street at Humboldt Street headed to public hearing
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Update December 16, 2021: Victoria council approved the proposal on December 16, 2021.
 
A $100 million proposal for what could become Victoria’s first office tower of the decade is going before Council at a Public Hearing next week.
 
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TELUS Ocean, a collaboration between telecommunications giant TELUS and Victoria-based real-estate development firm Aryze, is envisioned for the City of Victoria’s Apex property on the corner of Douglas Street and Humboldt Street.
 
Planned as a 12-storey mid-rise building, Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed TELUS Ocean will encompass approximately 144,000 square feet of office and commercial space, provide employment space for hundreds of workers and include industry-leading building advancements that will help train Victoria trades on constructing future landmarks that utilize cutting edge materials and technologies.
 
“Given the significance of this investment, this project is not only a crucial part of downtown Victoria’s post-COVID emergence, it is a regional project with regional implications for Greater Victoria as a whole in light of its local head office role for TELUS, the architectural distinction it brings to the table and its economic spin-offs for the entire South Island,” said Luke Mari, partner at Aryze Developments.
 
Mari says TELUS’ investment will incorporate numerous internationally-recognized building standards that will culminate with TELUS Ocean’s status as British Columbia’s highest performing building from both a building efficiency and environmental aspect; this designation alone is considered a crucial benefit to the South Island’s construction industry.
 
“Builders and contractors may learn of new building techniques and emerging environmental standards, but it’s an entirely different scenario when local trades can experience building such a project first-hand,” Mari said. “This is project will achieve a LEED Platinum certification, a Well Version 2 designation for the highest standards for indoor air quality, a Salmon-Safe Certification, achievement of Step Code 3 of the BC Building Code and reach net zero carbon along with net zero building operations under the Canada Green Building Council’s version 2 Design Standard. Once complete, TELUS Ocean will be one of only a handful of buildings in Canada committed to this degree of building performance and environmental stewardship.”
 
In terms of public amenities, approximately 38,000 square feet of public space will be improved as part of the overall scope of the Apex site redevelopment, including frontage improvements to Douglas Street, improvements to a plaza between the project site and the Crystal Gardens complex, rejuvenation of Humboldt Street between Douglas Street and Penwell Street, plus the creation of public realms within the tower’s ground floor level, and two top-most floors—which include spaces for local groups and organizations.
 
Although Mari is not divulging information on future office tenants, the developer has confirmed TELUS will operate a technology and innovation office at TELUS Ocean with an initial occupancy of 250 employees and an expansion plan to increase that workforce to 450 individuals. The commitment stems from consultation with Victoria’s tech community that views the landing of a high profile tech office as an integral component of securing more investment into local technology start-ups and businesses, and helping retain local talent in Greater Victoria.
 
In planning since 2019 and formally submitted as a rezoning application before the City in 2020, TELUS Ocean will have its day before council at a Public Hearing scheduled for December 9th at 6:30PM. Mari says the public at-large from across the Capital Region is encouraged to write Victoria council with feedback ahead of the meeting, which Mari believes will be crucial to communicating to elected officials the strategic importance of such a high-profile investment’s impact for all of Greater Victoria.
 
“Council needs to hear from the broader community at the upcoming Public Hearing to emphasize how far-reaching their decision on this project will be, as rarely does an opportunity of this calibre, this degree of environmental stewardship and technical leadership present itself in cities the size of Victoria,” Mari said.
 
Pending council’s approval, construction is expected to get underway within the first half of 2022, leading to a planned completion in 2024. C
 
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