Work resumes at Colwood Corners after four years

Artist’s rendering of the planned development at Colwood Corners | Image: By Omni Group

As a first step, the massive hole left by the failed project is being drained to make room for what Hamilton hopes will be the re-establsing of the West Shore’s gateway.

“The West Shore of yore, this was the gateway to it; long before the [Veterans Memorial Parkway], this is how you came in,” she said. “We lost a bit of prominence on the corner over the years through change, but to gain it back once again, it becomes a bit of a gateway.”

The Onni Group recently started work on Colwood Corners, the first action at 1913 Sooke Rd. since 2013, when League Assets shut down construction as it faced bankruptcy.

Onni, which took control of the site in the fall of 2014, has submitted plans to Colwood that call for a complete community with 471 residential units and a significant complement of commercial space to be built out over five years.

The first phase would see three mid-rise residential buildings and 152,000 square feet of commercial space housing four anchor tenants, including a grocery store.

Phase 1 is expected to be complete in 2020.

In a statement, Onni development manager Rodney Rao said: “Colwood is a vibrant and active community; however, we have seen that demand has been exceeding current supply in the region. We’re looking forward to bringing new home-ownership opportunities to Colwood with a unique new live, work, play-style community that everyone can enjoy.”

Plans include pedestrian and cycling connections to the Galloping Goose, landscaped public spaces, play areas for kids and a new boulevard along Sooke Road.

Plans for additional phases at Colwood Corners are still undergoing review with Onni and Colwood.

Currently, the site is a large hole in the ground with concrete foundation work that has partially filled with water.

The Colwood Corners site is a large hole in the ground with concrete foundation work that has partially filled with water. But, for the first time since 2013, crews are working at the 12.5-acre development. The project's first phase, with three mid-rise residential buildings and 152,000 square feet of commercial space, is expected to be completed in 2020 | Photo:  Darren Stone, Times Colonist

Hamilton said she has been told it will be a slow start, as the environmental cleanup will take some time.

“[The start] feels great, the community has been driving past that for years now, and it just needs to be completed,” she said, noting the company has done some debris cleanup at the site, and crews are dealing with the standing water.

Hamilton said the new development brings a lot to Colwood, not the least of which is adding to the tax base to pay for various services.

“But even more so, it brings the community together. With that in place, there’s the badly needed rental. It means housing options and perhaps a better selection of local shops,” she said.

The site has been idle since the spring of 2013, when League Assets had to stop construction. Now bankrupt and all but dissolved, League has since liquidated almost all of its assets.

League had at one time envisioned a $1.2-billion mixed-use development that, over 20 years, would include 12 residential high-rise towers; four office towers; four-storey, wood-framed residential buildings with commercial components; two-storey townhomes; multi-storey office buildings; and a public plaza.

In the fall of 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court approved a deal that saw Onni take control of the site for $17.5 million, which was used to pay off secured creditors and property taxes. No money was left over for League investors.

Times Colonist