Hudson's Bay Building Gets New Lease on Life

When the Bay department store moved downtown in 2003, its grand home on Douglas Street became a heritage building awaiting a new owner to purchase and restore it to its former glory. The Townline Group of Companies, with experience from previous heritage restorations, bought the property two years later and, after four years of planning and revitalization, the first 152 homes are now ready for occupancy.

“We are thrilled to be involved with perhaps the most historically significant heritage re-adaptation in B.C.,” said Bob Pearce, Townline’s president of development. “This will not only breathe new life into the building itself but into the surrounding Uptown Victoria community.”

Paul Merrick, whose Merrick Architecture firm spearheaded the project, said at a Sept. 24 press conference that he was thrilled to be given the challenge of revitalizing the building.

“Everybody has fond memories,” of Hudson’s Bay department stores, he said. “This is in the right place, and does the right things, at the right time.”

Merrick Architecture’s restoration and “re-visioning” of the building includes artfully restored terra cotta facades, operable pivot windows, exposed ceilings in some suites, and 10- to 17-foot-high ceilings in all homes. Interiors by Cecconi Simone and Evoke International Design feature crisp modern design including seamlessly integrated kitchens with quartz slab countertops, Miele appliances, and Liebherr wine fridge.

A one-bedroom suite at The HudsonAt street level, a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly carriageway offers access to boutique shopping and underground parking. An internal courtyard features extensive greenery and a reflecting pool, while a rooftop garden offers skyline views of the city.

“Green” features include radiant in-floor heating, share shelves for recycling unwanted items, stormwater collection, and electric car plug-ins.

The 152 suites – consisting of a mix of flats, two-level lofts, and innovative courtyard homes – range in price from $377,000 to $499,000.

“The Hudson’s Bay Company was instrumental to the founding of the city of Victoria,” said City of Victoria heritage planner Steven Barber. “The restoration of an iconic structure that is such a significant piece of Canadian history is very exciting.”

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