The building most recently housed the Royal London Wax Museum that closed after operating in that location since
28 September 2011
CPR Steamship Building Decision Just Weeks Away
Victoria Vancouver Island British Columbia - Decision time on the future of the historic CPR Steamship Terminal on the Belleville
Street waterfront is inching closer.
Renovations costing $5 million are wrapping up and, with the exception of finishing work such as drywall and painting, should be substantially completed by
18 Oct 2011. A recommendation for a new tenant should be before the Provincial Capital Commission board in November or sooner, PCC CEO Ray Parks told the board
"We've had interest from some that I would call attractions, some restaurants, some assorted businesses. It's quite a variety. There's been numbers of
each of those," he said.
But it's difficult to say exactly when the building will be occupied again, Parks said, adding much will depend on what type of tenant is selected.
"The various proponents are so different that their tenant fit-up requirements are different from each other.
"A simple attraction that is a collection of displays, for example, is less onerous in terms of tenant improvements than a restaurant, for example, that
has to install grease traps, ventilation, kitchens and all of those other things," he said.
When the CPR Terminal building, a 1924 Edwardian classical revival building, was closed last fall for seismic upgrading, the Royal London Wax Museum, which
had been based at the 470 Belleville St. building since 1969, moved out, with no plans for where and when it might reopen.
The PCC, the landlord, began looking for a new tenant and put out a request for proposals.
The original plan called for the commission's board to vote on a new tenant proposal in April. But the three applicants were turned down, with the commission
saying it needed more information.
Those proposals came from Matt MacNeil's Victoria Pub Co., Bob Wright's Oak Bay Marine Group, and the Maritime Museum of B.C. MacNeil proposed a scaled-down
version of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Wright wanted to build a high-tech attraction showcasing First Nations, Victoria, and B.C. history. The Maritime
Museum would like a new home and wants to move from its current crowded digs in Bastion Square.
"At the end of the day, all three were deemed to be incomplete. They weren't a little bit incomplete. They weren't complete enough that we could work to
make them complete, and they were all incomplete for different reasons," Parks said.
The PCC began a new search and contacted about 100 individuals to see if they might be interested in the building.
About six proposals, including the original three, have now been received for consideration and will be evaluated with the assistance of an expert advisory
PCC board member and Victoria Coun. Lynn Hunter told the board she believes there is a certain amount of frustration in the community about the process.
"What I'm dealing with, as an elected person from this area, is there's a lot of frustration about the lack of information and public process that is, I
think, damaging the reputation of the PCC," Hunter said.
She said she wanted the membership of the public advisory panel made public.
Parks said that would not be a problem.
"What the board will receive in due course is a recommendation, but they'll also be receiving the panel's input and advice on each on of the proposals.
"So, ultimately, it's the board's decision," Parks said.