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Esquimalt urgent care clinic moves one step closer with demo of Super Low Food Market ahead of mixed-use dev

A rendering of the ground floor of Pacific House, a 12-storey condominium tower coming to Esquimalt Road at Head Street in Esquimalt. A state-of-the-art urgent care medical clinic will open as part of the project's ground floor component.  Lexi Development Group

Esquimalt urgent care clinic moves one step closer with demo of Super Low Food Market ahead of mixed-use dev
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
A highrise condominium project slated to rise at Esquimalt Road and Head Street has taken its first step forward today and represents a major milestone in bringing an urgent care medical clinic to Esquimalt.
 
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This morning demolition crews arrived at 899 Esquimalt Road to begin deconstructing the two-storey Super Low Food Market commercial and residential complex that had served the immediate community as a corner store for generations.
 
Last fall, West Vancouver-based Lexi Development Group received approvals from Esquimalt council to build a 12-storey, 66-unit condominium – dubbed Pacific House – that will rise nine levels above Esquimalt Road and cascade a further three levels along the steep grade of Head Street to Wollaston Street. The primary ground floor tenant is expected to operate as a 3,600 square foot healthcare centre the developer promoted as a driving element behind the project.
 
“In exploring options for the building site, [Lexi Development Group] recognized the significant need for a Medical Clinic to replace the clinic that closed in December 2018. The closure of that clinic impacted approximately 4000 individuals and their families leaving them without access to [medical] services within their community,” read a statement in the proponent’s application package supplied to council.
 
In late 2018 a walk-in clinic on Esquimalt Road near Head Street shuttered, leaving Esquimalt residents with a single medical facility at the Esquimalt Plaza shopping centre further west on Esquimalt Road.
 
Pacific House
A rendering of Pacific House at 899 Esquimalt Road, which will rise nine-storeys above Esquimalt Road with a further three levels cascading south towards Wollaston Street.  Lexi Development Group 
 
Given the clinic’s closure, the proponents have maintained that “there is a clear need to build a [medical centre] in the heart of Esquimalt, which addresses both the short-term and long-term needs for residents seeking community-based medical services,” and believe their proposal will contribute to the province’s goal of providing all British Columbians with access to primary care providers and medical professionals.
 
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins says the project will fill a void in her community, and looks forward to seeing it get underway.
 
“We are excited to see this site move forward through to demolition,” Desjardins said. “The building has been empty and derelict for too long, and the community’s need for a medical clinic gets one step closer to being met. With a majority of people in Esquimalt not having a [general practitioner], this project can’t come too soon.”
 
Lexi Development Group’s plans for the 66 residences include a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom layouts, plus three townhomes with street level access fronting onto Wollaston Street.
 
Throughout the planning process Pacific House’s design morphed from a 12-storey height at Esquimalt Road with a further three-storeys stepping down to Wollaston Street, totalling 15-storeys, to its present 12-storey total. An initial unit count had proposed 70 suites, subsequently slid to 57 and eventually settled at 66.
 
Following demolition, construction could proceed later this year or in 2021, pending market conditions.
 
"At the moment our architect and consultants are putting together the Building Permit set and in the meantime our marketing team is working on pre sale and marketing strategies," says Babak Nikbakhtan, a managing partner at Lexi Development Group. "At the same time we are working with health authorities to address the commercial component of the building. As soon as we have the BP ready, we will immediately move to construction."
 
At its projected height, Pacific House will stand as Esquimalt’s second-tallest building behind Vista Senior Living, an 11-storey residential tower under construction along Admirals Road near Esquimalt Road.
 
Meanwhile construction is proceeding quickly on Westbay Quay, an up-market condominium and retail development at the foot of Head Street at Westbay Marina not far from the future site of Pacific House. The three building project, nearly 70% sold-out, is spearheaded by Tenfold Projects which is also overseeing the construction of The Wade, a sold-out condominium in downtown Victoria. C

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