Downtown hotel project on Broad Street approved

Rendering of a hotel project on Broad Street.
Rendering of the Broad Street hotel project featuring the historic Duck’s Building. Credit: Chard Development.

A Chard Development hotel proposal featuring the historic Duck’s Building on properties to be leased from UVic Properties is proceeding after approval from Victoria City council.

The project on Broad Street will have a direct economic impact during the capital’s post-pandemic recovery and will add vibrancy to the neighborhood in the Old Town district while honouring the wishes of UVic benefactor Michael Williams.

Williams—a businessman, developer, heritage conservationist and philanthropist—bequeathed the properties to UVic in 2000 to provide a financial return to the university. The funds from his gifts support UVic’s academic programming, student services and supports as well as activities at the Legacy Art Gallery.

“Michael believed in the importance of education and wanted his legacy to support the university’s academic mission. This project respects his wishes,” said Peter Kuran, president and CEO of UVic Properties, which manages UVic’s non-academic properties.

“The benefits from this project also will be far reaching for the community both during its construction phase and in the long term by adding new jobs and attracting guests and locals to a newly animated part of downtown.”

Partnering to benefit the region

For more than 50 years, UVic has worked together with the community, private sector, non-profit organizations, local governments and other educational institutions to bring social, economic and environmental benefit to southern Vancouver Island.

In developing the proposal, consultations were held with local First Nations which are continuing about how to incorporate Indigenous aspects into the project.

City council voted 7-1 to approve the necessary variances after a public hearing Sept. 23. The proposed 135-room hotel, about one foot higher than the existing building, will be five storeys on Broad Street and six storeys on the corner of Broad and Johnson Streets and includes underground parking for vehicles and bicycles. It will encompass the Duck’s Building and the adjacent Duck’s Carriage Building will have its historically significant, rubble wall preserved and featured as part of the exterior of the new building.

Design highlights historical elements

In response to feedback throughout the city development process and through public consultations, Chard made the Duck’s Building the most prominent element and is retaining the historically significant elements. The state of the building required significant capital investment and extensive work due to its age and condition, especially in the event of an earthquake.

Salvage, reuse and repurposing of materials will include brick (numbered for reconstruction purposes), timber floor joists, subfloors, flooring trim work and other decorative materials. A heritage acknowledgement program will document the salvage and reuse of materials along with educational installments to help tell the building’s history to future guests and area residents.

Limited historical evidence exists regarding the original carriage factory design and the proposals adds elements inspired by what is available. The project retains and rehabilitates the rubble wall from the carriage factory that dates to 1874.

Current tenants get support for relocation

The buildings’ eight residential tenants and 14 commercial tenants were informed of the redevelopment potential in 2016. Four of the residential tenants have since moved. Remaining tenants will be provided with assistance that meets or exceeds the city’s requirements. UVic Properties is also assisting the commercial tenants with relocation. All tenants will receive one year’s notice before the need to relocate.

While an earlier proposal considered market housing on this property including some limited capacity that gave priority to students, that project was not widely supported and the desire to rehabilitate significant elements of the existing buildings and maintain the existing form and scale meant sacrificing livability of the spaces.

The university continues to work with our student governments, the municipalities and others on the complex regional issue of affordable, accessible housing. Construction is well advanced on new student housing on campus with the first of two buildings opening next fall that will provide 418 beds with the second opening in 2023 that will provide 365 spaces.

Under terms of the long-term leaseholder agreement, Chard will build the hotel and commercial building and provide UVic with payments over the 99-year term of the lease. The UVic Properties Trust retains ownership of the properties. 

The project reflects UVic’s commitment to live and advance the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals including: sustainable economic growth and productive employment; sustainable cities and communities; and responsible consumption (repurposing of materials from deconstruction and sustainable practices in the hotel’s operations).


In this story

Keywords: sustainability, community, administrative, student life

People: Michael Williams, Peter Kuran

Publication: The Ring

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