Large pitched project for the White Spot site on Douglas: social housing in towers, offices, restaurant, shops, public square


Private promoter in partnership with the provincial government; buildings up to 20 floors

The province is partnering with a private developer to build nearly 500 supervised and affordable housing units on Douglas Street.

The half-block site, containing the former White Spot restaurant and the Capital City Center hotel, could see a cluster of buildings up to 20 stories high, with housing for working and low-income residents, offices, grocery store, retail shops, restaurants, daycare and a 9,000 square foot plaza at the corner of Douglas and Caledonia streets.

The proposal also includes a 90-unit supportive apartment building that will be built in the parking lot just across Douglas Street at 722 and 726 Discovery St., where those sheltering in the old Capital City Center hotel will be transferred. before the White Spot and the hotel are demolished.

BC Housing is working on the business with Chard Developments Ltd., which purchased the White Spot site for $ 7.5 million in November.

The province bought the 96-room hotel and parking lot in April for $ 25 million and has been operating it as a safe haven under the direction of Our Place Society since October 2020.

Development plans are still on the drawing board, said Byron Chard, president and CEO of Chard Developments on Friday.

He said the company would start talking with stakeholders and community groups and working with city staff before making a formal presentation on rezoning to Victoria Council, possibly in the fall.

The number of buildings and heights are still being determined, Chard said, adding that they plan to have 20 stories or less, as per the city’s official community plan. South of Douglas, in Townline’s Hudson Place block, the buildings are taller and located on higher elevation land.

Work on the Discovery Street supportive housing project could begin in about 18 months. The largest project at 710 Caledonia, 1961 Douglas St. and

722 and 732 Caledonia would follow and take up to three years, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs, Chard said.

Attorney General David Eby, minister responsible for BC Housing, urged Victoria City Council to support the project.

“This means long-term permanent housing for people who have not had housing for a long time. This means more affordable housing for workers and people who live in the community. And that means much-needed rental housing in Victoria, which takes the pressure off low-income rental housing in the community, ”Eby said on Friday.

He said the Capital City Center project would help “community members at all income levels to live in the city they call home,” rather than having to relocate to find affordable housing.

“This redevelopment converts an aging hotel into over 400 new affordable homes… It will be a great model for learning, giving us the kind of housing we need, in a growing community that faces similar challenges to meet the housing crisis that cities everywhere are facing.

According to Chard, about two-thirds of the 400 units are market and below-market rental units, with the rest of the condominiums for sale.

The planned grocery store would be 30,000 square feet and there would be approximately 40,000 square feet of office space. Retailers and restaurants would also have expansive terraces, Chard said.

Chard called the development “unique to Vancouver Island,” with a private developer and the province coming together to provide much-needed housing options in a region plagued by a housing crisis.

“This is truly the first of its kind, integrating supportive housing with affordable housing for the workforce, and it creates a unique community. “

He said the project and its large public plaza will enhance the area on the outskirts of downtown where many people work and one block from the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center.

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