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LoJo development proposal could deliver biggest architectural change to 500-block of Johnson in generations

A rendering depicting Shotbolt, a proposal to redevelop 585 Johnson Street into a five-storey, mixed-use residential and retail building. The project will also include the siesmic upgrading and restoration of the W. G. Cameron Building to Shotbolt's right.  Hartwig Industries / Studio 531 Architects

LoJo development proposal could deliver biggest architectural change to 500-block of Johnson in generations
Mike Kozakowski,
Victoria’s popular LoJo fashion district in the 500-block of Johnson Street could see its biggest architectural change in generations with a redevelopment proposal for a high-profile retail node.
Victoria-based developer Hartwig Industries has applied to the City of Victoria to replace a single-storey commercial building at 585 Johnson Street (originally known as the Shotbolt Chemist Store, dating to 1876 and partially demolished in the 1950s) and a two-storey commercial building at its rear (called Johnson Street Warehouse; its age unspecified in application documents) with a five-storey mixed-use residential and commercial complex. An adjacent two-storey heritage building, known as the W. G. Cameron Building dating back to 1888, would be retained and seismically upgraded under the auspices of the project.
The proposal, dubbed Shotbolt, spans from Johnson Street, where it will rise to four-storeys, to the rear of the property, which spans southward into an alley and courtyard, and onto the footprint of the warehouse. There, the building will increase in height to five-storeys. The new-build will utilize recovered bricks from the two buildings, along with four cast iron columns situated along the Johnson Street facade of the Shotbolt.
Plans also call for maintaining the property’s “historic alleyway in its current location.” The alley runs between the Shotbolt and W. G. Cameron buildings to the rear of the properties.
A total of 25 loft-style studio residential units are envisioned, along with over 4,600 square feet of ground floor retail and commercial spaces, not including the W. G. Cameron Building’s retail uses.
The current building at 585-587 Johnson Street.
A view of the present-day incarnation of the Shotbolt Chemist Store Building, to the left of the W. G. Cameron Building. The latter will be seismically upgraded and restored as part of a redevelopment proposal that will see the Shotbolt building replaced with a four-storey structure fronting Johnson Street, and rising to five-storeys at the rear of the property.  Hartwig Industries / Studio 531 Architects

The proposed redevelopment of 585 Johnson Street.
A rendering of a proposed redevelopment of 585 Johnson Street, which would see the replacement of the Shotbolt Chemist Store Building and a two-storey warehouse at its rear.  Hartwig Industries / Studio 531 Architects
In a letter to the City from Studio 531 Architects, the firm describes the concept as:
“…a mixed use building that will re-use the four cast iron columns re-established in their current locations and with the construction of recycled brick walls on the existing footprint of the existing building. This retains the historic alleyway in its current location. The new building will have commercial uses on the ground level both on the street and the interior courtyard at the end of the historic alley. The lobby entrance for the residential units will also be off the courtyard. The upper floors of the new building will have 25 loft style residences constructed predominately of mass timber. The Project is designed under the current old town zoning bylaw and requires no rezoning. A minor variance is requested with regards to the provision of bicycle storage.”
As for the W. G. Cameron Building restoration, the architects describe the restoration plan as follows:
“The project will designate, restore, seismically upgrade and revitalize one of the historic district’s most original, intact and significant buildings, the W.G. Cameron Building. By retention of the alley and the creation of a Klondike era courtyard give public direct and visual access to the whole building allowing appreciation of the intact original rear facade with original windows and doors.”
The Shotbolt Chemist Store Building, which will make way for the new-build, and its adjacent ware house, are described by the architects: “585 Johnson Street was constructed in 1876 as a two story building and significantly altered and renovated in 1887-89. It housed the first Chemist Store in Victoria for its owner Thomas Shotbolt and remained in business at this site until 1957. There are two buildings located at 585 Johnson Street. The building on the street is the single story remnant of the Shotbolt Chemist Store and is registered; the building in the rear yard is an old brick warehouse and not registered.”
A rezoning for the application is not required given the proposal’s adherence to the Old Town development guidelines, although a variance is being sought with respect to on-site bicycle parking.
Existing retailers within the Shotbolt Chemist Store are Nezza Naturals, a maker of natural soaps and shampoos, and Oni Oni, a Japanese confectionary. C
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