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Devon Properties' relocation to downtown Victoria to coincide with U-Bicycle partnership

990 Fort Street has been sold to Devon Properties, the Capital's largest rental property management firm. Devon Properties will be vacating its Oak Bay offices of 26 years and transitioning its operation to downtown Victoria in early 2019.  Devon Properties

Devon Properties' relocation to downtown Victoria to coincide with U-Bicycle partnership
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Victoria’s premier property management firm will be vacating its Oak Bay offices and moving to a newly-acquired downtown Victoria commercial building just as its partnership plan with the City’s largest bike-share provider moves ahead, Citified has learned.
 
Devon Properties, which manages 5,300 rental apartments, 400,000 square feet of commercial space and 175 private residential rentals throughout the Capital Region, has purchased the three-storey Gardiner Building at 990 Fort Street with the intent to occupy the first floor of the 15,000 square foot complex.
 
“We are operating at-capacity at our current space along Cadboro Bay Road and an expansion plan has been in the works for some time,” said Reed Kipp, partner at Devon Properties, adding that purchasing a commercial property in lieu of leasing a larger space was a high priority.
 
Devon Properties’ new digs will be situated in the current space of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for which the Gardiner Building is most commonly known. The BDC will be vacating its premises at Fort and Vancouver streets and moving to the Douglas House development nearing completion on Douglas Street at Pandora Avenue across from City Hall.
 
Kipp’s partner Dave Craig says the acquisition of an office building in lieu of leasing a larger space was both a strategic move for the company as it looks to establish its presence in the central business district, and one of efficiency.
 
“We’re looking to take our operation to the next level, so-to-speak, and a highly visible presence in Victoria’s downtown core that will have an immediate effect on how we are perceived as an organization. And with so much of what we do being centered on downtown Victoria and its surrounding communities, relocating to Fort Street will also provide us with proximity to the properties we manage and the firms we deal with on a day-to-day basis."
 
Devon will vacate its Oak Bay premises of 26 years and transition to the new office in January of next year. The purchase price of the building is undisclosed.
 
A new relationship will also accompany the firm as it transitions from a suburban setting to an urban presence.
 
“We’ve struck an agreement with Victoria’s U-Bicycle bike-share provider to act as their preferred property management partner,” Kipp says. “What this means is both the tenants at the buildings we manage and our employees through a corporate pass program will enjoy a heavily discounted annual rate to use U-Bicycle’s services and as we grow into this partnership we plan to provide designated bicycle parking zones while pursuing new transportation ideas.”
 
The bike-share service launched in Victoria last fall with gradual expansion to adjacent communities and the West Shore where it was heavily supported by the Belmont Residences development coming soon to Jacklin Road at Meridian Avenue. The public can hitch a ride on the green-coloured bicycles parked throughout Victoria for a small fee paid by-way of a smartphone app and a credit card.
 
Although Kipp admits the venture is not a money-making endeavour for Devon, with future plans for U-Bicycle focusing on electric bikes and e-scooters, opportunities to provide affordable alternative transportation choices for his tenants are goals worth pursuing.
 
“There’s no direct financial incentive for us to partner with this service. However, aligning ourselves with U-Bicycle will improve the experience for our tenants and will provide more value for the rent they’re paying. And with that approach it’s a win-win for all.” C
  
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