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Langford apartment building still vacant 10 months after residents told to vacate

Shannon Moneo
Langford apartment building still vacant 10 months after residents told to vacate
SHANNON MONEO — The 11-storey RidgeView Place in Langford, B.C. has been sealed off and vacant since late April 2023. The fate of the five-year-old apartment remains unknown.

Since April 2023, an 11-storey, 90-suite apartment in Langford, B.C. has sat vacant, following a second order telling residents to move out due to the building’s numerous structural problems.

On April 24, 2023, roughly 130 people living at RidgeView Place were given less than 24 hours to vacate their homes.

Today, despite a Greater Victoria vacancy rate of roughly 1.5 per cent, the building is fenced off and remains empty.

Five requests by the Journal of Commerce for information from Ridgeview’s owner, Toronto-headquartered Centurion Property Associates, proved unsuccessful as of publication deadline.

After repeated attempts for comment, the City of Langford issued the following emailed statement: “The city has no further information on this file currently. Please direct all your questions to the property owner, Centurion.”

The BC Assessment authority has boosted the value of the RidgeView Place building; its 2022 assessed building value was $31,767,000 while the building value as of July 1, 2023 rose to $32,611,000 for the vacant structure. But the land value has dropped, from $4,681,000 in 2022 to $2,920,000 in 2023.

According to BC Assessment, the property assessment is being appealed.

Originally named Danbrook One, the rechristened RidgeView Place has been scrutinized since December 2019, when the first move-out order was given.

 

The building’s occupancy permit was pulled for a second time, “due to ongoing life safety concerns…

— City of Langford release

 

The City of Langford issued the first occupancy permit on Feb. 28, 2019.

Centurion bought the building in August 2019 and claims nothing during the due diligence process indicated there were problems with the apartment.

The December 2019 displacement of residents was prompted by an investigation by the Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. (EGBC). The EGBC was acting on concerns from an engineer not involved in the design of the building. Design and structural flaws were disclosed.

It took until April 2022 when RidgeView Place reopened its doors after getting an occupancy permit. Centurion states it spent over $5 million on remediation, working with architects, engineers and the City of Langford.

There was little difficulty filling suites in the region’s hot rental market.

But one year later, on April 17, 2023, the EGBC again contacted Centurion and the City of Langford about the EGBC’s investigation of the engineer who did the post-2019 remediation work on the apartment.

The EGBC letter outlines potential structural design problems and lays bare the claim that the EGBC, “has received no evidence that a comprehensive review of the structural design of the building, or of the as-built structure of the building, was ever conducted for the remediation.”

On April 23, 2023, Centurion notified Langford that a third-party engineering firm did a visual inspection of RidgeView and determined the building was unsafe and strongly recommended it be evacuated until a more detailed analysis could be completed.

The next day, the building’s occupancy permit was pulled for a second time, “due to ongoing life safety concerns related to the structural design and performance of the building,” the City of Langford wrote in a release.

The April 2023 Notice to Vacate came almost a year after a May 9, 2022, EGBC Consent Order was released for one of the building’s engineers, Brian McClure.

His design drawings from June 2019 were found to contain incorrect and incomplete information regarding the seismic force resisting system used for the building’s design, as per the 2012 BC Building Code.

Numerous deficiencies were found, including the under-design of the core footings, inadequate foundation design, grossly undersized strip footings, inadequate slab support and undersized steel columns.

As well, an insufficient number of field reviews were performed and inadequate steps to address serious concerns about the Danbrook’s structural design were not taken in November 2017 after being raised by an engineering firm.

A second Consent Order was issued on Dec. 31, 2022 for Theodore (Ted) Sorensen, who was the registered professional responsible for the structural design of the building’s core and seismic elements.

Details of disciplinary hearings and penalties for the McClure and Sorensen can be found here.

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