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20-storey hotel tower still on-track, developer says, as Fort Street's vacant Monk Office site offered for lease

A rendering of the Montrose Wintergarden/Spire Hotel development earmarked for Fort Street at Blanshard Street in downtown Victoria. Developer Merchant House Capital confirms the project is on-track.  Merchant House Capital | D'Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism

20-storey hotel tower still on-track, developer says, as Fort Street's vacant Monk Office site offered for lease
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
A 20-storey hotel tower on Fort Street at Blanshard Street may not be moving forward as quickly as expected, but it remains an active proposal, according to developer Merchant House Capital.
 

The 128-room Montrose Wintergarden/Spire Hotel received approvals in the fall of 2021 as a redevelopment concept for 780-798 Fort Street, parcels occupied for many years by retailers like Monk Office Supply (since having vacated its space) and Ditch Records (still operating at 784 Fort Street).
 
Earlier this month, the Monk unit came up for lease, which sparked questions about the Montrose Wintergarden’s future. Developer David Fullbrook, Merchant House CEO, says that while work on the project continues behind the scenes, he is hopeful a tenant can make use of the retail frontage in the interim.
 
“We would like to lease the space to keep the location animated and reduce the negative stigma of vacancy from impacting area retailers,” Fullbrook says. “[The] rate is below market and includes a demo clause.”
 
A building permit submission to construct the nearly 67 meter tall tower is expected to be filed with the City of Victoria by the end of the year, Fullbrook says, although less than ideal economic conditions alongside fluctuating interest rates “continue to impact market considerations.”
 
Once built, the Montrose Wintergarden/Spire will stand as the tallest building in its immediate vicinity.
 
Fullbrook’s other project in the city centre is at 2621 Douglas Street in the former Times Colonist Building. Merchant House spent several years modernizing the complex and creating unique commercial units for office and retail operators, including the potential for an on-site brewery. The firm is actively pursuing approvals for a second phase, envisioned as a 12-storey rental block at the rear of the property on Kings Road and Ross Lane.
 

Meanwhile, downtown Victoria’s hotel market will see its first infusion of purpose-built hotel room inventory in many years with the upcoming Hyatt Centric development on Broad Street between Johnson and Yates streets. Chard Development is readying the site for a restorative effort focused on the 1892-built Duck’s Building, along with new-build components. The Hyatt will feature 135 rooms over six floors, and retail spaces, with completion expected in 2025.
 
And in south downtown in the 700-block of Blanshard Street at Fairfield Road, Reliance Properties is seeking approvals for a 77-room hotel within the 1930s-era BC Power Commission Building. Reliance also plans to erect a residential tower above the hotel, bringing the project height to 22 storeys. C
 
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