Victoria’s housing shortage seems everpresent nowadays, but the upcoming University Heights Shopping Center renovations may play a small role in increasing local options.
Wesbild Developments, the building’s owner, has submitted the first proposal to Saanich for a major redesign. The most notable overhaul to University Heights Shopping Center includes the construction of 350 residential units alongside commercial buildings.
Local vacancy rates have dropped to as low as 0.5% in the past year, prompting large increases in rental rates. But according to a recent report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1,842 rental apartments are currently under construction.
The University Heights renovation is expected to start in 2020.
History of the Heights
After the original owners fell on hard times, Wesbild Holdings bought the 205,500 sq ft building in 2015 for around $52 million.
Since then, they have prepared efforts to redesign the structure. Stores inside the mall (such as Home Depot, RBC, and Mortgage alliance) may be affected during the redesign as 20,000 sq ft would be converted to housing units under the current plan.
The Wesbild Director of marketing, Jennifer Derbyshire, told Times Colonist that “This plan comes down to the rental market. The units are needed now, and while it will take a long time for us to [complete the project], we think there will still be a need for rentals.”
Current Layout and New Site Layout