Sewell’s Marina tacks closer to Horseshoe Bay waterfront megaproject approval

The reluctant developer is planning a 171-unit condominium and retail complex

The Sewell family – Dan, son Eric and daughter Megan – display their Horseshoe Bay development proposal. The redevelopment of Sewell's Marina would include residences and commercial space | Photo: Cindy Goodman, North Shore News 

The Sewell family believes they are close to receiving approval from the District of West Vancouver for a proposed mega-residential and commercial waterfront development on the Horseshoe Bay waterfront.

But, concedes Megan Sewell, general manager of Sewell’s Marina, which was founded in 1920s, the family is a rather reluctant developer.

She said the redevelopment is about financially sustaining the 86-year old marina for the future.

“We definitely don’t want to get into the real estate game,” said Sewell. “People don’t realize the costs that go into the infrastructure around a marina. We need to find some cash flow from somewhere.”

Preliminary plans show 171 residential units to be spread throughout six buildings ranging in height from two to nine storeys and with floor plans varying from one bedroom to three bedrooms. If approved, the project would be the largest private development in the history of Horseshoe Bay, now primarily known for its BC Ferries terminal.

We are in our final weeks of documentation with the District of West Vancouver,” Sewell said April 18.

“We are currently refining the design with the District staff and expect reports to go to Council in mid-to-late May and be in front of Council for a public hearing in June. Should the proposal be well received by Council, the team expects formal marketing to start in late July and construction to start in the fall.”

Sewell’s has partnered with Vancouver-based developer Westbank Projects Corp. and architect Paul Merrick for the project. Westbank is behind such well-known projects as the Shangri-La and the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotels in Vancouver, while Merrick is known for West Coast modern style designs.

The plan to redevelop Sewell’s has been in the works for at least seven years with plenty of public consultation. The overarching concept is to create a quaint seaside public space with a piazza similar to what is seen in coastal European towns.

There is 15,000 square feet of commercial space that’s also being proposed by Sewell’s, but with the marina already taking up 10,000 square feet of that, Sewell said the plan is to not add much more.

“We don’t want to be taking away from the commercial that’s in Horseshoe Bay,” added Sewell.

Holly Kemp, manager of Troll’s restaurant, another Horseshoe Bay stalwart, said the Troll family supports Sewell’s plans for many reasons, including the potential to sustain businesses in the area.

Kemp said the residential units would offer an opportunity for longtime Horseshoe Bay inhabitants to downsize and stay in the community.

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