Wesbild can confirm today that we are placing our $230-million University Heights redevelopment project in Saanich on pause as we attempt to address an impasse with an existing tenant.
After years of planning, consultations and reaching a broad base of community support, all work on the Saanich project has been paused following a series of requests from existing tenant Home Depot. The U.S. retailer seeks a major expansion and significant financial concessions which affect the viability of the project.
The redevelopment, which would address much-needed community needs such as permanent rental homes, daycare spaces and affordable rental suites, remains uncertain. At this late stage, Wesbild is doing all we can to address Home Depot’s requests and we hope a final round of discussions can resolve the outstanding issues.
For years, it has been widely reported that the Home Depot location, constructed in 2005, would remain unchanged in the redevelopment. The retailer insists on strict compliance with a provision in its lease which restricts construction of buildings on a portion of the site. Alternatively, it requests a 10,000-square-foot expansion, $5 million in compensation and other concessions in order to permit such construction. In addition to the financial burden, it is estimated the Home Depot requests at this advanced stage could add up to another year to the planning and approvals process.
Wesbild’s Victoria-based planning and construction teams have been asked to pause all development activities.