Morguard Investments Limited has released updated plans for the proposed residential component of Uptown Shopping Centre in Saanich.
Information supplied to Citified by Saanich planning staff on January 25th had confirmed a nine-storey mixed-use structure was proposed for the Uptown property's northwest corner at Carey Road and Ravine Way, however, Morguard's latest plan update calls for an 11-storey tower consisting of 134 rental apartments, including seven townhomes, and 55,000 square feet of commercial space.
Originally planned to include some 650 residences as part of the overall development concept, the market downturn in the latter half of the last decade derailed plans for two Uptown condo towers envisioned by Morguard’s market condo development partner Westbank Corp. Since then construction at Uptown had been limited to retail space and offices. All of that changed in 2015 during Morguard’s announcement of its third phase, anchored by a Whole Foods grocery store, that also hinted at a future residential component.
"We’re very excited to be moving into the formal approvals process for the final phase of the mixed-use neighbourhood that is Uptown, and particularly pleased to be working toward a residential development that will help to meet the local need for more rental homes," said Geoff Nagle, director of development for Morguard Investments Limited.
Homes will range between studio and two bedroom apartments and feature exterior entrances together with common rooftop areas for residents. Secure bicycle storage and 74 residential parking stalls will be provided on-site. A rezoning is planned for early 2016, although no definitive date has been set as of this time. If built as proposed, the building will hold the title of Saanich's tallest building.
The development community has seen Uptown as a major catalyst for Saanich's core and has begun to capitalize on the immense draw created by the shopping centre. The most recent addition to the area was in the form of two four-storey condo buildings on Rowland Avenue at Huxley Street, known as Uptown Place. Abstract Developments received approvals in 2013 for a mixed-use residential and commercial development on Boleskine Road at Whittier Avenue west of Uptown consisting of some 60 residential units above a commercial ground floor. A 15-storey proposal a stones throw from Morguard's rental building, on Harriet Road at Crease Avenue, so far represents the tallest residential development proposed since Westbank's plans. And along Carey Road between Huxley Street and Vernon Avenue the Capital Regional District has recently built several affordable housing projects and a seniors care facility, adding a sizable amount of density to the area.
"We began the redevelopment of this property in 2008 and so much has changed in the neighbourhoods in and around Uptown since that time," said Nagle. "Uptown is at the centre of an evolving urban core in Saanich and it’s going to become even more vibrant as people continue to move into this area." C
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