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24-storey Uptown residential tower in Saanich taps Uptown-Douglas Plan's call for taller buildings, higher densities

A massing diagram of a proposed 24-storey residential tower planned to rise as the final phase of Saanich's Uptown Shopping Centre in the district's core. If approved, the building will complete the construction of Uptown, and deliver the tallest building in Greater Victoria outside of downtown Victoria.  Shape Properties Corp.

24-storey Uptown residential tower in Saanich taps Uptown-Douglas Plan's call for taller buildings, higher densities
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Details have emerged surrounding an updated residential and final phase of Saanich’s Uptown Shopping Centre in the district’s core.
 
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Shape Properties Corp, which overtook Uptown’s management, leasing and development services from Morguard in 2017, is pursuing amendments to the mall’s fourth development phase on Ravine Way at Carey Road that secured municipal approvals several years ago in the form of an 11-storey mixed-use tower with ground floor retail spaces and approximately 130 rental suites.
 
The current iteration, initially revealed by Citified in January of this year as ‘in planning’ with a significant departure from the approved 11-storey project, now calls for a height of 24-storeys and a density of over 350 homes coinciding with an urban planning vision released by Saanich in 2020.
 
The updated proposal, Shape Properties confirmed to Citified in January, is being adapted to the Uptown-Douglas Plan extending from the shopping plaza to Tolmie Avenue at the Saanich-Victoria border, while a similar vision has been embraced south of Tolmie Avenue within the City of Victoria.
 
“In response to the changing market, the needs of the community, the recent Saanich Housing Needs Report and the Uptown-Douglas Plan, we have evolved our plans to align with the District of Saanich’s planning objectives,” said Shape Properties’ Marketing Director, Tamara Tasaka, earlier in the year. “We’re thankful for the hard work that has gone into the [Uptown-Douglas Plan] and we’re excited to help fulfill the District of Saanich’s dynamic vision.”
 
Tanaka continued: “while the new design calls for more homes than initially approved in 2016, this density and height are already accounted for in the Uptown-Douglas Plan, which has been endorsed by council. Currently, the design of the building for our Development Permit is in progress as we gather feedback through our public consultation.”
 
Shape Properties has not confirmed whether the proposal will proceed as a rental complex, or as a pre-sale ownership opportunity.
 
Originally some 55,000 square feet of retail space was included along the building’s ground level fronting onto Uptown Boulevard. This retail make-up is likely to remain similar moving forward.
 
Construction timelines and an estimated occupancy period for Uptown’s final phase will be released following closer to or following municipal approvals.
 
Meanwhile, plans are afoot to redevelop the southern-most tip of the Uptown block into a two-storey commercial complex. The 7,400 square foot parcel overlooking the Douglas Street and Saanich Road intersection was formally the site of a gas station, and has remained vacant for over a decade.
 
According to documents submitted to the District of Saanich, the proposed building – featuring pharmacy and retail spaces at street level with offices above – will occupy the western half of the property designated as 3415 Douglas Street, while nine parking stalls and a driveway entrance off Saanich Road will absorb the remainder of the space. C
 
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