The City of Victoria has approved the development proposal for Customs House, a mixed-use office, rental apartment and ground floor commercial project at 816 Government Street.
The property currently consists of the historic Customs House building at Wharf and Courtney streets and a faux heritage 1950's addition spanning the block along Government Street between Wharf and Courtney streets.
Cielo Properties plans to fully restore and convert the Customs House building, built in 1914, into 43 rental apartments sized between 700 and 1,500 square feet with rents starting at $1,500. Ground floor retail units will envelop the building and a single recessed floor of office space will be added to the roof.
Demolition of the 1950's addition will clear the way for a new-build seven storey, 61,000 square foot office building with ground floor commercial spaces. The fifth floor will extend over the 1914 building, creating a single storey of office space spanning the entire site. A green roof with terraces will be situated on the fifth floor roof, with two additional floors of office space in the new-build portion overlooking the heritage building.
Commercial spaces will combine the site's total ground floor commercial footprint to 14,113 square feet and three levels of underground parking will provide approximately 94 parking stalls.
Developer Stan Sipos is not revealing details of the organizations eyeing the project's office and commercial spaces for lease, although he confirms that a financial organization is actively engaged in discussions to retain a large portion of the office space. And tenants have approached Sipos indicating interest in the building's retail spaces, tenants that Sipos says are not the run-of-the-mill trinket shop operators Government Street is infamous for.
"We've got such a unique retail opportunity here that we'll be able to attract tenants offering something new to the area and not just more t-shirt shops," Sipos said.
Sipos was responsible for redeveloping the Mountain Equipment Co-op building into ground floor commercial space and 46 condos over three storeys above. The development linked downtown Victoria with Chinatown and was a catalyst for development efforts throughout Old Town. That positive change, says Sipos, is what he envisions Customs House will also achieve.
"Customs House will be a catalyst for the revitalization of Government Street and will be the beginning of what will continue to be positive change for the downtown core. We have far too long played second fiddle to other areas and downtown has suffered."
With approvals in hand remediation of the Customs House building will begin by late fall with demolition of the 1950's addition planned for late winter of next year. By the start of the summer tourist season Sipos hopes to have the site ready for a construction start and expects completion by mid-2017. C
- Learn more about Customs House on Citified | Discuss Customs House on VibrantVictoria
- View the region's most comprehensive new-build rental project listings on Citified
- View the region's most comprehensive new-build office and commercial project listings on Citified
- Connect with Citified on Facebook
- Follow Citified on Twitter