University Heights Redevelopment Back On Track

Plans for a major redevelopment of University Heights Shopping Centre featuring 597 rental homes, commercial space, transit hub and a daycare are back on track following a seven month procedural delay. 

Wesbild has officially resubmitted plans to the District of Saanich for the $230-million redevelopment of the shopping centre, which now includes an expansion of the popular home improvement retailer Home Depot. 

“We are pleased to re-introduce this important project which will enhance the community with permanent rental homes, affordable rental suites, much needed daycare spaces and transit infrastructure,” said Wesbild President and CEO Kevin Layden. “Pausing the project to sort out procedural details was the right decision and ensures this development is on solid footing.” 

In October, Wesbild placed the project on pause as it negotiated terms with an existing tenant, Home Depot. Productive discussions led to a mutual agreement to expand the Home Depot by 10,000 square-feet, which is the only significant change to the entire re-development. The proposed expansion would enclose an area where the garden centre is currently located. A new garden centre would be attached to the expansion, on what is currently parking area at the north end of the mall property. 

The Home Depot store is expected to remain in operation throughout construction while the balance of the shopping centre is being redeveloped. 

“University Heights Shopping Centre served the community well for decades. But now, with the building at the end of its useful life, this new project will re-energize the entire block for generations to come,” said Layden. 

The project will re-develop the 1980s-era shopping centre with 597-permanent rental homes, 60 affordable rental suites, up to 11,000-square feet of daycare space, cycling infrastructure, public plaza, community spaces, B.C. Transit hub, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and modern, new commercial space. 

Construction on the project, which still requires community input and municipal approvals, could begin as early as spring 2022. The project is estimated to have an economic impact of $410 million to the local economy, creating 309 construction jobs and 209 permanent positions. 

“This valuable project received widespread community support previously and we are hoping that will continue as we re-start consultations with our neighbours,” Layden said. “This re-submission couldn’t have happened without the leadership of Mayor Fred Haynes and the guidance of the District of Saanich planning team. We are sincerely grateful.” 

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