Vancity Credit Union sells Victoria’s Dockside Green to Bosa Development

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Norm Shearing, president of Vancity’s Dockside Green Limited, left, and Ryan Bosa, of Vancouver-based Bosa Development at Dockside Green’s future development site in Vic West. Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

Bosa Development, which bought the Empress Hotel three years ago, is adding Dockside Green in Vic West to its portfolio as it plans to build out the mixed-use property.

Construction is expected to start late next year, allowing people to move in two years later, said Ryan Bosa, president of Vancouver-based Bosa Development.

“The market is pretty strong right now in Victoria, so we are ambitious,” he said.

Owner Vancity Credit Union, through Dockside Green Ltd., is selling the 10 acres of the 15-acre site that are still to be completed.

The sale closes Dec. 15. The purchase price is not being released.

Provided the market remains relatively healthy, “I think eight to 10 years is a decent goal” for full build-out of the site, Bosa said.

Bosa Development built some projects in the 1980s in the capital region. In 2014, founder Nat Bosa announced the purchase of the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

The company has built major projects in the Lower Mainland, Calgary, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.

Dockside Green is attractive because its master plan guidelines follow those already supported by Bosa Development, such as creating a sustainable mixed-use community that is pedestrian friendly, with parks and a lot of space for amenities, Ryan Bosa said.

“The proximity to the water is a huge plus for us, and the proximity to downtown,” he said.

“All these things go into the livability that we like to explore in our own developments. The master plan answered a lot of things that we looked for. The fact is that it just saved us a few years of doing it ourselves.”

The sale of Dockside Green closes Dec. 15. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

Bosa Development prefers not to have partners, Bosa said.

“We’ll be doing it all ourselves — managing the construction as well as overseeing the sales process,” he said. “It allows us to control our own destiny.”

At this time, the aim is to design three towers at once. Two would hold for-sale condominiums, with a total of about 200 units, and another would be rentals, with possibly 125 units, Bosa said.

He was not specific about building plans, but said company research indicates there are a couple of market areas underserviced.

“Here’s a little hint — historically, we tend to build a little bit larger units,” he said. “They also tend to build for people who want to live in units and see them as more than just investments. We have a lot of end-users.”

Dockside’s master plan was reworked and approved by city hall this year.

So far, about 300,000 square feet of space, with 266 residential units, has been built out.

Bosa is buying the right to build the remaining one million square feet allowed. Of that, more than 900,000 square feet are targeted for residential use, with the remainder for retail and office space, said Norman Shearing, president of Vancity’s Dockside Green Ltd.

Dockside Green — started by Vancity Enterprises and Windmill Developments — dates back about 14 years. Once city-owned industrial land, the project became known internationally for its environmental initiatives.

Bosa Developments was “very aligned to what we want to do at Dockside,” Shearing said.

“They really kind of shone through for us.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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