Former site of beloved Ian’s Coffee Shop purchased by a developer — again

Former site of beloved Ian's Coffee Shop purchased by a developer — again

The Turner building that sits derelict on the corner of Richmond Road and Birch Street in Victoria has once again been purchased by a developer.

The iconic curved building is the former site of Ian’s Coffee Shop, a beloved fixture in the Jubilee neighbourhood known for its authentic charm and friendly service.

But while memories remain, that charm is long gone, and for nearly a decade, many have wondered when the building would be demolished.

In 2013, developer Island Cardiology Holdings purchased the Turner building with plans to build a five-storey medical office building. But that plan never went through, and in 2022, the building was listed for sale, and it seems it has once again found itself in the hands of another developer, Empresa Properties.

“It’s one of those iconic buildings that you end up driving by, cycling by, walking by enough and say, why hasn’t anything been done about this project,” says Karl Robertson, the president of Empresa Properties.

“It really drew us to try and work with the current ownership group, which has been about a year and a half discussion with them, to come to terms with selling the site and to be able to see something new on the site.”

Empresa Properties plans to put in a six-storey, mixed-use building with ground-level commercial space and upper-level residential rental units. But Robertson admits it will be no easy project.

“It’s a very challenging site from both the design perspective and construction perspective. But, I do believe that challenging sites like this lead to good architecture,” adds Robertson.

The development is still in the very early stages as a formal application has yet to be submitted to Victoria city council.

Until then, the iconic curved building will stand a little longer.

Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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