Monday February 12, 2024 | COLWOOD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The Beachlands residential and commercial development at the Colwood oceanfront had a blustery February on-site announcement today.
With over 100 people attending, the outdoor media conference today specifically announced the start of construction for the residential presentation (sales) centre and commercial spaces including a restaurant. Some homes will be started in the first phase.
Initial construction includes a 12,000 square foot presentation centre and two multi-family buildings totaling 181 homes, including townhomes often referred to as ‘missing middle housing.’
Upon completion of the 15-year build-out, The Beachlands will deliver 2,850 homes, hundreds of jobs at retail and commercial spaces centered around a waterfront plaza, and vast public parks.
Speakers braving the cold air on the open construction site today were Jon Stovell Reliance Properties, Georgia Desjardins of Seacliff Properties, and Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi. Behind them were a crowd of Verity Construction crew workers.
Colwood Councillors who also attended today included David Grove, Kim Jordison, Misty Olsen and Ian Ward.
Seven years of planning:
The $1.2 billion development in the Royal Bay area of Colwood is being charted forward by Reliance Properties and Seacliff Properties.
What was referred to today as a ‘deepening housing shortage relative to population projections’ is being addressed by a range of housing types including an attempt to fulfill the ‘missing middle’. It was noted that there are declining residential building permits across British Columbia.
“After seven years of planning, public consultation and various approvals, we are thrilled to put our $1.2 billion investment in motion and start construction of The Beachlands, a world-class seaside community that will contribute much-needed housing, jobs and spending in Colwood and the region,” said Georgia Desjardins, director of development at Seacliff Properties.
“There’s an allure to coastal living,” says Desjardins. “The Beachlands will offer a truly unique and elevated west coast experience.”
A soft-launch at The Beachlands was held in the 2023 heat of summer at which the former name of the development (Royal Beach) was changed to The Beachlands.
“Construction has a multiplier effect on the local economy,” said Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties. “The Beachlands will potentially generate 10,500 full-time direct, indirect and induced jobs, meaning jobs created when people spend money in the community. As The Beachlands comes to life, local businesses would be supported for their lifetime.”
“While The Beachlands will fulfill some of the desperate need for homes – including missing middle housing geared to families – housing in the area and BC remains in short supply to meet the high population demands now and in the future,” said Stovell, who served three terms as chair of Urban Development Institute,an association of 600+ of BC’s largest housing developers.
Of course this development looks good on Colwood. The project has gone through three mayors so far, including Carol Hamilton, Rob Martin (2018-2022), and now Doug Kobayashi.
“Community members are keenly watching what’s coming next,” said Mayor Doug Kobayashi.
“Colwood worked with the development team to advance the vision of making The Beachlands a vibrant seaside community that prioritizes health and wellness, including incredible connections to new parks and trails, places to enjoy food, arts, culture, and social connections,” says Kobayashi.
Desjardins said potential buyers are already inquiring about opportunities:
Summer 2025 is the targeted completion for the presentation centre – described as a stunning gateway to the community – and summer 2026 for the two multi-family buildings.
25 years in the making:
This groundbreaking has been 25 years in the making.
While the site was a significant gravel operation and regional employer, the City of Colwood has envisioned development in the area since the late 1990s.
Seacliff bought the land in 2017, and in 2022 partnered with Reliance.
- The Beachlands: rebranding the Colwood oceanfront (July 29, 2023)
- Reliance & Seacliff partnership boosts Royal Beach in Colwood (January 24, 2022)
- Colwood Council hears about Royal Beach development (December 29, 2019)
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends posts local, regional and provincial news analysis daily at IslandSocialTrends.ca as well as biweekly in print (Premium subscribers receive a PDF of the print edition by email). | NEWS SECTIONS: POLITICS | VANCOUVER ISLAND | HOUSING
Island Social Trends began mid-2020 during the pandemic, in the footsteps of its predecessor West Shore Voice News (local weekly in print 2014-2020) which was previously Sooke Voice News (weekly print 2011-2013).
Founder and editor for that entire series of news publications is Mary P Brooke. Ms Brooke now reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery as well as covering west shore news highlights.
Ms Brooke was nominated in 2023 for a Jack Webster Foundation journalism award for serving her community through journalism. She was a west shore school trustee candidate in 2022.
In 2024 Mary Brooke has launched the Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society to provide leadership in neighbourhood resilience in tough economic times.