Tony Mormino

Scaled down project can now proceed

Developer waited five years to attain approvals for townhouse development

A proposed $60 million development of 150 housing units along Sooke Road back in 2009 never got off the ground. It was billed as Sooke Bay Luxury Condominiums and was expected to bring about $15 million and 100 jobs into the local economy.

At issue was access to the property on Drennan Street, which resulted in a lawsuit against the district. Anthony Mormino stated that then-director of planning Marlaina Elliot assured him that access would be granted if he agreed to a covenant waiving his right to access off Sooke Road. The Ministry of Transportation would not allow access off Sooke Road for that many units. Mormino, and his associates at the time, had originally planned only 52 units but with the higher density the district wanted to see in that area of Sooke, his rezoning application was amended to allow for 130 units. So he went along with a plan for 150 luxury condominiums.

Elliot maintained she did not promise access off Drennan Street.

Update September 2012.

Anthony Mormino, the current owner/developer of the 2.7 hectare property, has decided to go back to where he was in 2006 when he acquired the property at 6402 and 6418 Sooke Road.

He is proposing to build a 52-unit multi-family townhouse development in seven clusters.

District of Sooke council granted Mormino approval for a Development Permit at council on Sept. 10. The permit represents a commitment by the district to process and finalize a settlement to the legal challenge.

Mormino said via email that Sooke had problems with “city approvals and last minute add on requirements not even called for in the bylaws.”

Mormino, states he has not started any construction and is waiting until spring to reassess the market.

“Our built out project should bring in about $16 to $18 million in sales. A far cry from $65 million for the killed condo project. But still an awful lot of tax money and lots of jobs for the Sooke-Victoria economy,” said Mormino.

He plans to use as many Sooke contractors as he can. He is just waiting for the market to improve before proceeding any further. He said the developer wanting to proceed with the 21-unit townhouse development beside his property is also waiting until spring 2013 to re-assess when it is a good time to break ground.

“Obviously if I had received my approvals and building permits from Sooke in 2007, or even on 2008 I would have built out phase one by now, and be working on phase two of the condo project by now,” said Mormino.