From the roadway it doesn’t look like much, a vacant piece of scrub land with some trees in Colwood, B.C., on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
The undeveloped property, however, could soon be the home of a new, $26-million, custom-built office and warehouse complex for Seaspan Victoria Shipyards.
The 81,500-square-foot structure will be erected on a 3.95-acre, rectangular-shaped parcel at Allandale Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway and is part of a larger $100-million industrial, commercial and retail development planned by Omicron Development Inc. in partnership with Lotus Capital Corp.
The two companies have acquired 20 acres of land in the area, known as the Allandale District. The lot to be used for the shipyard is on the west side of the highway.
Once complete, Seaspan plans to amalgamate its South Island supply-chain operations on one site. Currently, the company’s team of 44 employees, including logistics and procurement professionals, are located across three separate offices and materials are spread across four warehouses in the Victoria area.
“The growth and complexity of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards’ long-term customer contracts have increased our need to consolidate sourcing and management of materials for vessel repair, refit and conversion projects,” says Joe O’Rourke, vice-president and general manager of Victoria Shipyards. “We look forward to leasing a superior set of warehouse buildings at Allandale District to support our growth in the maritime sector.”
Building work expected to create roughly 90 construction jobs
Construction is expected to start in March 2021 and the project will take a year-and-a-half to complete. The development permit application already meets all requirements under the property’s existing M2 land-use designation and does not require a zoning change so there are no hurdles to go through. The company has filed a development permit application with the city and is just waiting for approval.
Steve Horovitz, vice-president, development at Omicron, says blasting and excavation work has already been completed and once the building permits are secured the companies will go to work. The building work is expected to create about 90 construction jobs.
Renderings show three separate sleek-looking buildings with lots of windows and flat roofs. The warehouse will have an interior ceiling height of 30 feet and custom-sized loading doors to meet the needs and requirement of the tenant. Between the three buildings, there will be a total of 8,500 square feet of office/mezzanine space.
Victoria Shipyards operates within the federally owned Esquimalt Graving Dock and is the largest solid-bottom commercial drydock on the west coast of the Americas. Victoria Shipyards can drydock and repair all types of vessels, including cruise ships, fishing vessels, ferries, barges, tankers and naval vessels.
Horovitz says the company is amalgamating its operations into one facility in order to better respond to its customers.
“Recent contracts to broaden Seaspan Victoria Shipyards’ work scope, along with customer-specific requirements for detailed material tracking, have increased the need for Seaspan to consolidate its warehouse space.”
The new warehouse space, he notes, will support the shipyard’s business growth and increased efficiency for the company’s supply-chain management operations.
“The entire supply chain management team will relocate to this location (from three separate offices) and materials will be consolidated in one location. The consolidated space will allow Seaspan more flexibility to work directly with its customers on one site.”
The first of many announcements for the 20-acre Allandale District?
Understandably, Colwood Mayor Rob Martin is pleased with the development, as it will create local jobs.
“We are thrilled about the prospect of welcoming Seaspan Victoria Shipyards and their employees to Colwood,” he says. “With this one proposal, Omicron, Lotus and Victoria Shipyards will bring a $26-million construction investment to Colwood alone with nearly 100 construction jobs and significant long-term employment.
“We look forward to it being the first of many announcements for the 20-acre Allandale District which will expand Colwood’s tax base and create jobs for residents close to home.”
Omicron, one of the largest design and construction firms in Western Canada, with offices in Vancouver and Victoria, along with Lotus, a real estate investment asset and development management firm headquartered in Vancouver, have plans for three other parcels of land in the Allandale District, on both sides of the Veterans Memorial Highway.
In fall 2019, the two partners entered into a purchase agreement with Ridley Bros. Development Co. Ltd. for the 20 acres in the area. The land is designated for mixed-use employment and was identified as an intended growth area in the city’s 2018 Official Community Plan. The companies are proposing new businesses and service amenities for the community with 353,000 square feet of buildings.
According to Omicron, the lands are some of the last remaining parcels of property available for employment-based redevelopment in the area, and the properties are viewed as significant because they have outstanding potential to attract new businesses, service amenities and jobs to the community.