A developer has revealed his latest pitch for the land surrounding the historic E&N Roundhouse.
Ken Mariash announced his intention Thursday to donate $15 million for the construction of an 18-storey building on the property exclusively reserved for affordable housing.
The building would go on the corner of Esquimalt Road and Catherine Street, becoming one of nine towers ranging from 18 to 28 storeys high that would complete the Roundhouse development at Bayview Place.
The tower, which still needs approval from Victoria city council, would include at least 180 units of badly needed affordable housing, Mariash said Thursday.
“Many of the city hall applications are an argument about how much and this and that,” he said. “We didn’t want to be trying to negotiate less than what should happen, so we thought we’d make it large.”
Under the agreement, the site would be donated to the Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS), which would manage the building.
Studio units in the building would go for about $775 a month, while one-bedroom units would cost less than $900.
The GVHS operates 17 buildings currently but the Bayview Place tower would be its largest, and the organization says it can’t come soon enough.
“There’s no one in the market that’s not affected by the lack of housing, everybody from working professionals to the working poor,” said James Monroe, director of real estate development for GVHS. “But this is going to be all about working folks, singles, families and individuals, and affordable to people with incomes as high as $120,000, and as low — a lot of the units — for folks with incomes of just $30,000.”
As for the rest of the 10-acre parcel of land, the plan calls for seven other residential buildings, all over 20 storeys. Those would include retail space, park space and a focus on conserving the heritage E&N buildings.
Focus Equities, the company that owns Bayview Place, hopes to get the plan in front of council before the October election.
If it makes it to public hearing and is approved, the group believes shovels could hit the ground for some of the buildings in 2024, with some of them opening in 2027.