Esquimalt gets first look at 6-story proposal for former Gorge Pointe Pub site – Vancouver Island Free Daily

A rendering of a residential and commercial building proposed for the former site of the Gorge Pointe Pub in Esquimalt. (Photo courtesy of Abstract Developments)
A rendering of a plaza hosting a cafe included in a residential and commercial building proposed for the former site of the Gorge Pointe Pub in Esquimalt.  (Photo courtesy of Abstract Developments)A rendering of a plaza hosting a cafe included in a residential and commercial building proposed for the former site of the Gorge Pointe Pub in Esquimalt. (Photo courtesy of Abstract Developments)
A rendering of a landscaped courtyard included in a proposal for the former site of the Gorge Pointe Pub in Esquimalt.  (Photo courtesy of Abstract Developments)A rendering of a landscaped courtyard included in a proposal for the former site of the Gorge Pointe Pub in Esquimalt. (Photo courtesy of Abstract Developments)

A six-story, 100-unit redevelopment of the former Gorge Pointe Pub site in Esquimalt will likely require some additional tweaking.

The Board advanced Abstract Developments’ proposal on March 7, but delayed sending it to a public hearing, due to the need to further discuss the mass, parking and commercial aspects of the project.

Summary is seeking to rezone the site, but says its vision aligns with what the township’s official community plan dictates for the area. It aims to create more green space on a section of the lot dominated by a car park and hopes to transform a section next to the busy Tillicum Road into one that attracts pedestrians.

In a presentation to council, an executive summary said the location next to the Tillicum Bridge is well positioned with cycling and public transport options close by. In exchange for an increased density allowance, the developer would pay nearly $110,000 for a safe crossing to Gorge Park or other active transportation improvements along the Tillicum Corridor.

The plan foresees two commercial spaces on the first floor of the building, with an imagined corner plaza that will support a café. Abstract presents this as responding to a key request from neighborhood residents – to ensure there is a gathering space at the former site of the pub and liquor store.

The proposal also aims to make the area more comfortable for residents, pedestrians and coffee-goers by adding new street trees and a 2.2 meter wide sidewalk to act as a buffer against vehicles on Tillicum Road.

The six-story concept would neighbor two existing four-story condominium buildings on the Gorge Waterway side and single family homes. The promoter modified the initial plans to set back the two upper floors, but not to the extent desired by the township’s advisory planning committee.

The commission was also concerned that only half of the ground floor façade of the proposal was given over to commercial space. He hoped the entire first floor frontage would be for commercial use, but recommended council approval if the developer met in the middle at 75%.

The proposed number of 89 parking spaces — all of which can accommodate electric vehicles — falls short of the 1.3 spaces per unit required by Esquimalt for multi-family layouts. Staff explained that they had worked with Abstract to reduce the excavated area needed for underground parking to allow more room for trees and natural areas on site.

While vehicle parking is a concern, the development has 100 bicycle parking spaces, passes for each resident who waives a parking space, and each unit obtaining a membership for an on-site Modo vehicle.

The building also appears to have a rooftop patio with a BBQ area and a lush courtyard.


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