HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT NEWS ::: by Mary P Brooke
October 4, 2018 ~ COLWOOD. The Colwood Corners hole in the ground with lots of rusting rebar is soon to be all but a memory in the Colwood community.
Construction recently began at the future residential-commercial site at the corner of Sooke Road and Colwood Crescent (next door to the mall with anchor tenants London Drugs and Coast Capital Savings).
For Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton it was a big day today, October 4, 2018.
“The community has long beared with the great hole that has presided here for a number of years and I can’t say how thankful we are that this project is getting kicked off and underway, so thank you so much,” said Hamilton with a great deal of gratitude. The two-term mayor (2011-2014, 2014-2018) who shepherded Colwood through the recovery phase of the Great Recession is running again to be mayor for 2018-2022.
Hamilton acknowledged the council members present: Rob Martin (also running for mayor), Gordie Logan, Cynthia Day, and Jason Nault. Some Colwood staff were on hand and members of the Colwood fire department as well as the WestShore Chamber of Commerce and “interested people in the community, because this is important”.
Onni Group chief of staff Duncan Wlodarczak told the crowd that the company realizes the partly developed property has been “a thorn in the side of the Colwood community”. He was pleased to announce that construction has started, as trucks and construction workers were busy on site behind the small celebratory crowd. “We’re looking forward to getting this project up and running. Especially with providing housing for Vancouver Island and the City of Colwood,” he said.
Concrete was then poured into the form and the plaque ceremoniously placed into the wet concrete by Mayor Hamilton.
Build-out of the first six buildings is estimated for 2020. Construction begins with the first mixed-use building, followed by two mixed-use residential buildings, said Rodney Rao of the Vancouver-based global Onni Group. There will be 471 market rental units when done, in a mix of floorspace sizes. The commercial space will be over 15,000 sq m for new shops, services and eateries.
Pedestrian-friendly walkways will frame a central plaza and children’s play area to create a lively and welcoming gathering place complete with trees, landscaping, outdoor seating, lighting and public art.
The previous owners of the property ended up abandoning the Colwood Corners property due to financial difficulties during the recession. The property was purchased by Onni Group in late 2014.
“Onni Group is always looking for opportunities for building quality housing and projects in communities that have strong markets,” said Steve Jantzen, Commercial Property Manager, Onni Group.
The development permit for the new development was approved by Colwood Council in June 2017.
Colwood’s new Official Community Plan (OCP) encourages development in town centres at Colwood Corners, along the Sooke Road transit corridor, and in a new seaside village at Royal Bay.