GVHA Wins in Bid for Terminal

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has been chosen as lead applicant for the CPR Steamship Terminal by the Provincial Capital Commission.

Following a PCC board meeting on Nov. 30, directors instructed staff to proceed with negotiations on a lease agreement with GVHA for the historic waterfront building.

Also submitting applications for tenancy in the building were the Maritime Museum of B.C., Oak Bay Marine Group, and Moxie’s Restaurants.

Under the professional oversight of Ernst and Young LLP, all submissions underwent a thorough, two-step review process involving a seven-member screening team and a five-member advisory panel comprised of appropriate subject matter experts. Submissions were assessed against the board-approved tenancy plan on three main categories: proposed use, lease terms, and assessment of business risk.

The advisory panel presented the PCC board of directors with a summary of its analysis and conclusions, and unanimously recommended the GVHA submission as the lead applicant. The board reviewed all submissions along with the advisory panel report and deliberated today on a decision.

The advisory panel members were: Eric J. Donald (chairman), president of the Danzo Group of Companies; Sasha Angus, economic development officer with the Greater Victoria Development Agency; Sandy Beaman, owner of Patrician Ventures Ltd.; John Keay, principal of Keay & Associate Architecture; and Donald Luxton, principal of Vancouver’s Donald Luxton & Associates Inc. and a national recognized expert in heritage and cultural resource management.

The GVHA proposal will see increased public access to the building while protecting the option of potential future use an international gateway terminal. The GVHA is proposing that the building become a vibrant community hub for visitors and local residents, offering a dynamic mixture of retail and service providers, exhibits and attractions, food and beverage outlets, and office space.

{advertisement} “We are quite ready to talk to other proponents down the road to see where we might be able to work together because there are a lot of great ideas out there,” GVHA CEO Curtis Grad told the Times Colonist. “We think we are in the position to package the best opportunity that brings some life back to the old CPR building.”

While the GHVA proposal suggests a total of three phases, the submission has been accepted with the clear understanding that negotiations will reflect acceptance of phase one exclusively.

“With the financial support of the provincial and federal governments, the CPR has just undergone a $5-million seismic upgrade — an important investment in public safety that will extend the life of this 87-year-old heritage building for future generations,” says Russell Irvine, the PCC director who oversaw the tenancy process.

“It has been more than 40 years since the CPR Steamship Terminal was primarily a public space. We are very much looking forward to seeing the GVHA’s proposal become a reality.”

The PCC board acknowledged its appreciation of all four submissions. The board also supported a request from the advisory panel to encourage the GVHA to consider future opportunities whereby the Maritime Museum might have a presence on the Inner Harbour. Following successful completion of lease negotiations, the GVHA plan is to have the CPR Steamship Terminal operational and open to the public by July 2012.