A significant modernization effort along downtown Victoria's 'Antique Row' has presented an opportunity for downtown residents, merchants,workers and future business operators to re-envision the future of the retail corridor.
The 800-block of Fort Street, which for generations was the Capital’s ground zero for antiques, used furniture and vintage housewares that earned it the moniker, is undergoing redevelopment in the form of three mixed-use residential and commercial projects that will rejuvenate nearly half of the block’s street-side frontage.
With the first building just completing construction, a second green-lighted and a third in the final stages of municipal approvals, the trio of new-builds will deliver 14,000 square feet of retail opportunities to Fort Street and nearly 430 residences catering to young professionals, downtown workers and seniors.
As the projects draw closer, the stakeholders involved are directing their focus towards the community for a conversation on how Victorians feel about Fort Street, and what form the block’s future retail make-up should take.
“Rarely does an opportunity to have an open discussion on the character of the street-level experience of a central city block present itself,and especially one that for generations has been a special destination for Victorians,” says Robert Fung, founder of The Salient Group that is leading two of the development efforts.
“What do Victorians value about this stretch of Fort Street? What do residents, workers, visitors and business owners think the character of Fort Street should be? What is necessary for a truly mixed-use neighbourhood to thrive, to become a destination and a vibrant addition to the downtown core?We’d love to continue that dialogue."
The Salient Group’s projects – a mid-rise nearing completion at 840 Fort Street as the six-storey Sawyer Block with 60 affordable rental suites and 900 square feet of retail space, and a 10-storey building approved at 819-827 Fort Street comprised of 100 rental apartments and 5,000 square feet of commercial/retail space – will collectively yield approximately 6,000 square feet for restaurants, shops,bistros or professional offices. Most notably, both of these projects have retained portions of the original historic buildings on their sites, creating a strong sense that this neighbourhood is evolving on the strength of its character, rather than ignoring its past.
“Our approach is always to try and understand what is in the hearts and minds of the people that really value a place, and to reconcile this with the needs of those that will populate the community we are creating.Feedback and ideas are always welcome,” Fung says.
Individuals wishing to comment on the future of Fort Street and to share their ideas of an ideal mix of commercial services can head to the full article at Citified for more information.
Read the full article at Citified Victoria here: https://victoria.citified.ca/news/victorians-asked-to-weigh-in-on-future-of-fort-street-s-antique-row-retail-make-up-as-new-devs-lead-storefront-revival/
Image Credit: @Kryzzzie/Instagram
We can't wait to welcome the Twisted Fork Bistro into Gastown!
We're eagerly waiting for their doors to re-open next month in their new location at 213 Carrall Street, and know that our neighbours are very excited too. In the meantime, we'll be thinking about the eggs benny and banana stuffed brioche french toast....
We are excited to announce that we are now accepting tenant applications for the Sawyer Block. If you are interested in renting a pet-friendly home located in the heart of Fort Street, please click here to fill out an application form.
The first move-ins will start February 1, 2020, and our fantastic team at Servissio Property Services will be more than happy to speak with you and answer any questions you might have.
We look forward to welcoming you home!
We're excited to show a peek inside Sawyer Block. Progress is being made and the residences are shaping up beautifully.
Above is a picture inside a Type A residence. If you would like to see the floor plans for all the residences, please follow the link provided below!
Please continue to look out for updates as things are progressing at 840 Fort Street. If you haven't registered yet don't forget to do so using the link above.
Robert Fung has taken his first step in helping to revitalize the 800-block of Fort Street. Next month he intends to take a leap.
The president of the Vancouver-based The Salient Group has been watching over construction of his 60-unit rental project at 840 Fort St., that will bring micro-suites to the block this winter. In September, he seeks approval from the City of Victoria for a 101-unit rental building that could change the dynamics of the street, if not the look of it.
Fung is hoping the project at 819-827 Fort St., which will maintain the historic facades of a pair of Fort Street buildings while bringing a range of rental housing and 5,000 square feet of commercial space to the neighbourhood, will continue the rebuild of the block. If this latest project gets the green light Sept. 5, he will be responsible for a large chunk of re-energized real estate on the block, but Fung is the first to credit his new neighbours for breathing life into the street.
Click here to read the full article by Andrew Duffy at the Times Colonist.
On Tuesday, August 20th, 2019, Robert Fung of The Salient Group was joined by The Government of Canada at a special housing announcement for the Sawyer Block at 840 Fort Street - Salient's exciting new project in downtown Victoria with 60 purpose-built rental apartment homes. In attendance was special guest Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Spadina - Fort York.
Sawyer Block is being funded with a $13.25 million loan from the federal Rental Construction Financing Initiative - a program offered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to provide low-cost financing for rental projects. The federal government expects the federal financing initiative will encourage the construction of 42,500 rental units across the country through the course of the 10-year, $55-billion national housing strategy
The CRD’s housing-needs assessment has noted that by 2038 Greater Victoria will need 34,000 rental units in the region.The project at 840 Fort St. aims to help in at least one segment of the rental market. Robert Fung, chief executive of the Salient Group, which is building the $15.5-million Sawyer Block project, said the micro-suites are geared toward workers in the tech and service sectors. Of the 60 units, 44 are micro-lofts and the other 16 are one-bedroom units.
Read the full article at the Times Colonist here.
Citified's Ten on the 10th is a monthly question-and-answer segment connecting our readers with the insight and knowledge of Victoria's top real-estate and business professionals.
May's Ten on the 10th features Robert Fung, founder The Salient Group, a Vancouver-based real-estate development firm.
Asking the questions is Ross Marshall, Senior Vice President of the Victoria offices of commercial real-estate brokerage CBRE. As a leader in facilitating large-scale commercial real-estate transactions throughout the Capital Region – which include apartment complexes, industrial retail and office properties, and land/development opportunities – Ross and his team are at the forefront of market-leading real-estate transactions on Vancouver Island.
Read the full article here.
The Sawyer Block was constructed in 1909 and was a mainstay commercial building for almost a century. Vacant since 2005, it was the former home of Sawyer Sewing Centre for 35 years, who is still in business today on Douglas Street.
On Monday July 9, 2018, Salient started on its rejuvenation plan for the Sawyer Block at 840 Fort Street. Construction is expected to take about 16 months. Once completed, the Sawyer Block will be a six-storey rental building consisting of 60 new urban studios and junior 1-bedroom homes as well as ground floor retail space.
STAY TUNED for updates on this new exciting project!
Link to project updates: www.sawyervictoria.ca
On January 1, 2018, Shannon Rae took over as the Managing Broker and Senior Property Manager at Servissio Property Services Ltd., Salient’s fledgling property management arm. Little did we know that Shannon is also a fierce competitor, avid sailor, dreamer and adventurer.
As Skipper of the Geminis Dream Team, Shannon is leading an all-female sailing crew across the Pacific Ocean in the VicMaui International Yacht Race this weekend. This power team of 6 includes: Shannon Rae, Nicole Speckmaier, Marisha Schaefer, Elaine Dumoulin, Lizzie Whetstone and Karri Alderson. Shannon was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive ovarian cancer three years ago (which she has successfully beaten), and when she was given the news her first thought was to sail to Hawaii!
The boats set sail from Victoria, BC on June 30th and the journey will take 14-16 days over 4,200km of Pacific Ocean before they arrive in Maui, Hawaii.The Geminis Dream Team is only the second all-female crew ever to compete in the VicMaui. They will be sailing in style, in a sleek, 44’ Jeanneau yacht built in 1992 and dubbed “Geminis Dream.”
The Geminis Dream Team is setting a goal to raise $10,000 towards the BC Cancer Foundation so that we can continue to work towards finding a cure for those who have had their lives impacted by cancer. All expenses occurred on this journey will be out of pocket and every dollar donated will go directly towards the Foundation.To date, Geminis Dream has reached 55% of their goal. If you would like to support this team in their journey, please click the link below to donate and read more about Shannon’s story: BC Cancer Foundation.
We are incredibly proud of Shannon and her team and are anxiously waiting for their safe arrival to Maui! We wish you all the best and good winds – Go Geminis Dream Team!
To continue following Geminis Dream on their journey please visit: http://geminisdream.com/.
A spate of new retailers is coming to one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, including international brands locating some of their first Canadian locations in the historic Gastown district known for its cobblestone streets and Victorian street lamps.
H&M’s upscale fashion brand, COS, opened a 3,000-square-foot store at 18 Water Street last month. The Swedish giant had opened three central Canadian stores in the previous 18 months and selected Gastown as home to its first store in Western Canada. Now comes word that international brands such as Filson and Bailey Nelson are planning to open stores in Gastown and that Vancouver-based handbag manufacturer Herschel Supply Co. is preparing to open its first corporately owned store in the neighbourhood.
The newcomers are expected to add a new vitality to the area, but their interest in locating in Gastown is not a surprise to executives at Fluevog Shoes, which has operated a 5,000-square-foot store in Gastown for almost a decade.“We like the mix of creative people in the neighbourhood and the tourist traffic that comes here as well,” said the company’s COO, Adrian Fluevog, echoing sentiments expressed by many area retailers. “We’re very happy with our store’s performance and have made it our flagship store.”Fluevog has watched the street evolve and said he thinks traffic has picked up in recent years.
Filson CEO Steve Bock told Business in Vancouver that he decided to locate his 12-store chain’s first Canadian store in Gastown because the area is “gritty” and has a heritage look that reflects well on his brand, which is 120 years old and was founded to supply durable clothing to prospectors during the Klondike gold rush. Because Filson is a Seattle-based company that has most of its sales in the Pacific Northwest, Bock said choosing to open in Vancouver before opening in Toronto felt “natural.” The 3,000-square-foot Filson store at 47 Water Street in Gastown is slated to open April 28 and is part of a wave of new stores that Filson is opening to boost its growth rate after decades of slow expansion. The company intends to open four other stores this year, including one in Toronto.
Australian optical chain Bailey Nelson will open its first Canadian store – a 1,200-square-foot boutique – on Vancouver’s Robson Street in June. A month later will come the brand’s second Canadian premises, a 1,700-square-foot store at 202 Carrall Street in Gastown. Bree Stanlake, Bailey Nelson’s North American managing director, said Gastown’s young demographic and high concentration of artists was one of the reasons why her 27-store eyewear chain chose to locate in that district.The company has so far operated only in Australia and New Zealand. Vancouver beat out Toronto as the site for a first Canadian store because Vancouver’s culture is similar to that of Sydney, she said. “Although Sydney is much warmer and a little more conducive to surfing and water sports, people in Vancouver are very much into having an outside lifestyle,” Stanlake said.
As for Herschel, it plans to start constructing a 5,000-square-foot flagship store at 347 and 349 Water Street in Gastown, and to open the store in 2018, principal Jamie Cormack told BIV. He and brother Lyndon Cormack chose to locate the store in Gastown because that is where the duo founded their handbag manufacturing and retailing company. The two also like the area’s demographics.All these developments prompted retail analyst and Retail Insider Media owner Craig Patterson to say Gastown is basking in a “cool moment.” He added that the area benefits from heritage architecture, an overall historical aesthetic, decent foot traffic, lots of tourists and rents that aren’t as high as in some other parts of the downtown.“ Having the Downtown Eastside nearby doesn’t help but that’s a whole different story,” he said.
Read full article here: https://www.biv.com/article/2017/4/vancouvers-gastown-enjoys-retail-renaissance/