Wednesday August 19, 2020 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
The arrival of the pandemic in the winter months of this year put a hold on many aspects of economy and community. It was just as COVID-19 was starting to rumble in upon all of our lives that a major project conjured up by Langford was being announced. Then it was held in stasis.
It was on February 25, 2020 that the City of Langford and the Maritime Museum of BC held a big bang promo event to formally enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the proposed construction of the Pacific Maritime Centre (PMC). That followed the previous day’s media announcement alongside Langford’s only oceanfront access (on Finlayson Arm), for a bit of water backdrop in the photos.
The new state-of-the-art Maritime Museum, office tower and conference centre to be located at 790 McCallum Road together is known as the future Pacific Maritime Centre (PMC). That now moves forward.
Thawing the mega-project:
On Monday August 17, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia announced that Coldwell Banker Commercial Oceanside Real Estate has been hired to represent the Museum’s interests in identifying tenants for the office tower within the PMC. Getting the revenue potential heated up is a key step to the unfolding of the project.
The proposed leasing project consists of up to 90,000 sq. ft. of AAA office space that will consist of six 15,000 sq. ft. floor plates. The building is expected to provide a state-of-the-art air handling system, free onsite parking, and on-site daycare services.
Free parking is always an attractive draw, but it could be the on-site child care services that have high-profile appeal during the economic restart during COVID. Government and economists are already noting how women’s participation in the workforce has been “set back 30 years” as some are saying, as women make the choice to stay home with their children during the pandemic.
Since the advent of COVID, many people have been working from home and companies have in some cases adjusted their plans for needing office space. There is no indication yet if that trend will impact the momentum of leasing efforts for the new PMC tower.
Leadership weighs in:
Langford Mayor Stew Young stated in a release on August 17: “This project will create several new iconic attractions for the City and region. It aligns with Council’s commitment to enhance arts and cultural opportunities in Langford, and supports Council’s vision to create more commercial office space so residents don’t have to commute outside the City for work. We are really excited about this project and look forward to moving forward with next steps.”
The overall project is on its way to becoming ‘shovel-ready’, it was stated in the release. The project is expected to generate hundreds of short-term construction jobs and several new full- and part-time jobs in the community.
The proposed 80,000 sq. ft. Maritime Museum will house its entire artifact collection as well as a state-of-the-art immersive planetarium theatre and observational lighthouse designed sky-deck.
John Clarkson, Chairperson of the Maritime Museum of BC said in Monday’s release: “This is a major step forward for the overall project. The Museum is looking for long-term lessees such as federal and provincial departments, crown corporations, educational institutions, NGO’s or private professional corporations. The commercial realtor company is responsible for serving as the intermediary between the MMBC and perspective tenants.”
Chris Troke and John Morris, of Coldwell Banker Commercial Oceanside Real Estate, are the leads involved in helping the Maritime Museum of BC complete their vision on what they call an ‘ambitious project’. In the coming weeks, they will be looking for expressions of interest from government, NGO’s and the business community regarding leasing opportunities. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out for more information.
David Leverton, Executive Director of the Maritime Museum of BC highlighted the importance of this first-step of generating interest in the office tower: “The office tower is a strategically important part of the overall Pacific Maritime Centre project, as it will enable the project to be more financially sustainable and independent.”
Roadworks already happening:
In recent weeks and months there has been grading and roadworks done in the McCallum Road area, working hand in hand with project development in the area.
As the PMC development on McCallum is across from major retail such as CostCo and Staples, customers of those outlets heard about traffic advisories for short traffic delays.
In the next few months, new signal lights will be installed at both Costco driveways. Langford Engineering says the work will continue to mid-November. Drivers from Greater Victoria northbound toward Costco are advised to use Exit #15 McCallum Road. Drivers approaching south from Mill Bay/Duncan areas should use Exit #16 Leigh Road overpass and follow the signs to McCallum Road.
A future new high school for the Sooke School District (SD62) will also be located in that McCallum Road project area, to help support continued robust housing and population growth in the Langford area.