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West Shore highrise race: Colwood's Thrifty Foods might get 25-storey neighbour

A massing diagram depicting a 25-storey residential tower and a row of townhomes proposed for 1860 Island Highway west of Colwood's Thrifty Foods grocery store.  Studio PA | Modified by

West Shore highrise race: Colwood's Thrifty Foods might get 25-storey neighbour
Mike Kozakowski,
A race to build the West Shore’s tallest building is ramping up with a new proposal emerging in the City of Colwood.

The Thrifty Foods property at 1860 Island Highway at the Goldstream Avenue intersection could be home to a mixed-use residential and retail tower with a row of townhomes, according to an application filed with the City by applicant Brenda Chan.
Known as the Chan Family Tower, the highrise, designed by architectural firm Studio PA, calls for a 25-storey massing on a portion of a surface parking lot and on vacant land to the west of the Thrifty Foods complex, and behind a row of retail units that flank the grocery store’s southern exposure. 1860 Island Highway is a multi-acre parcel that spans from the Island Highway thoroughfare to west of Thrifty Foods’ footprint, and beyond a four-storey rental building (known as Waldorf Court) that is situated adjacent to the store.
The tower is depicted (see the site plan below) as rising kitty-corner from Waldorf Court to its southwest, while the townhomes (numbering seven units in a three-storey format) will extend north from the tower along Waldorf Court’s west facade. West of the future townhome site stands 330 Goldstream Avenue, an affordable rental complex completed in 2021.
Chan Family Tower site plan.
A site plan of 1860 Island Highway in the context of its immediate surroundings.  Studio PA | Modified by
Chan Family Tower's proposed unit make-up is 143 homes in junior one-bedroom through to three-bedroom layouts, including three-bedroom townhomes, and two commercial retail units totalling some 2,300 square feet. A mix of surface and underground parking will accommodate space for up to 237 vehicles, a supply of three more stalls than required by zoning.
1860 Island Highway’s current zoning permits up to 15 storeys, although nearby development sites (namely at the Colwood Corners property) have successfully in the past secured tentative approvals at heights in excess of 20 storeys. And at 85 Belmont Avenue adjacent to the Colwood Corners property, the City of Colwood had more recently approved a 15-storey mass timber-designed tower for the Greater Victoria Housing Society. However, the concept failed to proceed to construction and the society is expected to build a lowrise woodframe structure instead.
Chan’s proposal is part of a broader vision for multiple Colwood parcels known as the Gateway and Triangle Lands, bordered by Wale Road, the Island Highway and Goldstream Avenue. The properties are expected to see developent in the form of multiple residential buildings, a plaza, and additional retail spaces.
If approved and built, the Chan Family Tower will stand as the municipality’s tallest building, and depending on the viability of multiple proposals in the City of Langford that include the 24-storey Scene tower currently in pre-sales, the 22-storey Langford Gateway tower, and the 29-storey Dunford Crossing tower also in Langford, Colwood’s planned highrise could become the West Shore’s tallest.

For long time followers of development in Victoria, interest in building tall highrises on the West Shore may feel like deja-vu. In the early 2000s, numerous proposals ranging in height from the mid-teens all the way to an excess of 40 floors were proposed throughout Colwood and Langford, including atop Skirt Mountain, home to Bear Mountain Resort. None of the truly tall proposals materialized, with most fading away as a result of the real-estate market crash of 2008.
The West Shore’s tallest building to come from that era was the 11-storey Finlayson Reach condominium at Bear Mountain Resort, which still stands as the West Shore’s tallest building. The runner-up is downtown Langford’s 12-storey mass timber-built Tallwood 1 apartment on Peatt Road near Goldstream Avenue, which followed downtown Langford's first highrise, the 11-storey Danbrook One rental tower on Claude Road (later renamed Ridgeview Place). C
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