‘Victoria’s face to the future’: A developer’s diverse pitch to extend downtown

Reliance Properties

The ‘Capital Iron Lands’ on the edge of Victoria is waterfront space that’s largely undeveloped, however, the City and the new owner of the land, Reliance Properties, have big plans.

“This is like an extension of downtown,” said Jon Stovell, President and CEO of Reliance Properties. “Instead of just an area that’s just offices or just industrial or residential, they’re looking at more modern city-building.”

Reliance Properties has sent in an application to Victoria City Council on how they would like to develop the land and the company has reimagined the space, creating almost a new neighbourhood.

“You shouldn’t just be thinking about the city as new buildings, you should be thinking about how you grow the community,” said Stovell.

The proposed designs are based on more of a European model, says Reliance Properties, outlining that the plans are outdoor driven — proposing 33 per cent of the land be open plazas.

The developer also has the intention of the area being diverse — not just visually with the heritage buildings leaning up against modern designs, or heights of the buildings varying from two-storeys all the way to 17, but also with who it will house.

“Mixing arts and culture with technology with science is really where we need to go to get the best out of everything,” said Stovell.

The plan will include 300-400 units of residential apartments, marine industrial space, high-tech office space, art studios and artist homes.

A collision of disciplines and people into what the city is calling “Victoria 3.0,” the City’s arts and innovation area coming to life a year after Council passed the proposal.

“It’s not just supposed to be yet another development,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “This is a new neighbourhood and Victoria’s face to the future.”

The anchor of the vision is Victoria’s Art Gallery — bringing it from its obscure Moss Street location, in a modernized, central way.

“In this design, the gallery is planned to face a new plaza, and that plaza is supposed to be considered an extension of the gallery. We’re hoping they’ll have outdoor art exhibits,” said Stovell. “We’re even proposing raising the street of Store Street so that larger events can spill onto that.”

The hope is the proposed community will foster the vibrance local artists bring and for the next generation of Victoria’s artists to take root.

City staff are in the process of looking through the application before the plan gets to Council.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!