Oak Bay Marine Group vying for steamship building tenancy

Bob Wright's company among six suitors who submitted proposals for space that includes former wax museum

Tenancy of the CPR Steamship building is still up in air as renovations near completion.

There are six parties vying to lease the main floor, and varying portions of upper floors, in the building on the Inner Harbour at 463 Belleville St.

“We’re having lots of conversations and they’re getting more and more serious,” said Ray Parks, CEO of the Provincial Capital Commission, which manages the historic terminal. Despite an earlier goal to select tenants by August, there is no longer a firm deadline.

Parks, however, said tenants would be selected within the year. In April, the PCC rejected all three of the proponents that submitted proposals to occupy the building, and instead reopened a new process for leasing the building.

The original proponents are all still in the running. They are the Maritime Museum of B.C., pub owner Matt MacNeil and Bob Wright of the Oak Bay Marine Group.

“Quite frankly, this has been an awful process up until now,” said Parks.

After the initial proposals were rejected, Wright publicly criticized Parks for his handling of the process. His criticisms continue, saying he’s been waiting for additional information since June, leaving him unsure where his application stands.

When contacted Tuesday, however, Parks was unaware of any miscommunication.

Parks estimates renovations to the building will be complete within one month.

In November 2009, the provincial and federal governments announced a $3-million contribution to upgrade the building to modern earthquake standards. The March 2011 deadline was extended and the contribution upped to $5 million when work crews discovered more deterioration than expected.

rholmen@vicnews.com