Rendering shows the finished Customs House residential/commercial project at Government and Wharf streets. Site work for the luxury homes project is due to start this fall, with the projected completion time early 2020. Courtesy Edelman

HOMEFINDER: Customs House envisions Inner Harbour luxury in Victoria

Residential project blends heritage features with modern design

When people think about residential development in downtown Victoria, high-end luxury isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind.

Stan Sipos and his Cielo Properties aim to change that with the Customs House project, which is part heritage revitalization and part new construction and begins development next month. The 57 residential suites will be comfortably sized between 1,450 and 4,400 square feet, with 10- to 13-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows in some cases and of course, the unparalleled view of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

“Our objective was to design a building that is not only modern, but is respectful to the old,” he said. He envisions something akin to the luxury apartments lining Central Park in New York, or in old London. “Something that [doesn’t] discredit or reduce the fabric of the neighbourhood,” he said.

Sipos isn’t shy about the target market for these high-end homes, 40 per cent of which have already sold. Some suites have fetched more than $2,000 per square foot, said to be a record for Victoria.

Cielo Properties – cielo is the Spanish word for heaven – has a wealth of experience building transformative projects around Victoria. The Vogue on Government Street between Johnson Street and Pandora Avenue was a non-descript former government office building that became a sought-after residence with a solid anchor tenant in Mountain Equipment Co-Op at street level.

“When we converted that into residences and MEC became the main tenant there, it transformed the whole core,” he said, adding that it generated huge traffic to an area that had previously been avoided.

While the Customs House site is one of the gateways to the city’s downtown, it has long been lacking vibrancy and engagement at the street level, Sipos said.

The City of Victoria’s plans to revitalize Ship Point across Wharf Street from the Courtenay Street side of this block will dovetail nicely into plans for the site, he said. The Customs House project will seek out very exclusive, unique street-level retailers – Sipos said he’d love to get an Apple store as a tenant.

“This has tremendous potential to create a new sense of quality and vitality. With the new parkette at Ship Point and other changes to the area, the fabric of the neighbourhood will change.”

So far, sales inquiries have come in from virtually around the world: New York, Singapore, Europe, even Dubai, as well as from locals and elsewhere in Canada.

With a unique location in the heart of the Inner Harbour, Sipos feels a strong responsibility and a passion to make the most of the opportunity to develop here.

“We’ve worked harder on this than any project I’ve ever worked on to make sure we have everything right, from the storefronts to the look of the buildings. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity really. We have a project that is front and centre for our city.”

For more details, visit customshouse.ca.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

LETTERS: Sooke preschool celebrates 30th anniversary

Kingfisher Preschool to hold anniversary event May 26

High speed internet coming to remote CRD areas

Ottawa to invest $34 million to build 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre optic cable in B.C.

Affordable housing organization seeks to build in Sooke

Habitat for Humanity hopes to build cluster of townhouses at 2008 Murray Road

Council re-tenders Murray Road staircase project

Project could be delayed months

Upgrades to Millstream overpass to begin Feb. 1

Project includes addition of left hand turn lane onto highway to Victoria

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Most Read