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Residents fear $9.9M Saanich property touted as ‘massive’ future development opportunity

Property sits close to iconic restaurant that’s also for sale

A real estate listing in Saanich that’s been on the market for several months is worrying some area residents who want things to stay the way they are.

Four lots are being listed for sale together for $9.9 million in a 1.24-acre area that is right next to the ocean.

The lots are at 5090, 5094 and 5098 Cordova Bay Rd., as well as 985 Abbey Rd.

“This is a rare opportunity to acquire four lots in one of Victoria’s most prestigious neighbourhoods, Cordova Bay.”

The lots are zoned for single-family houses but, according to the listing, the “Saanich local area plan indicates that zoning will be changed to Commercial Mixed Use in the future. With the future community plan in mind, these four lots hold massive future development opportunities that could help shape the landscape of Cordova Bay.

It’s the part about the possible change in zoning – and the wording of the listing – that worries Saanich resident Gordy Williams, who doesn’t live near the property, but uses it regularly for outdoor recreation.

“It’s a land assembly,” Williams told Black Press Media as he passed the site. “That’s a Vancouver thing that shouldn’t be done here. This is a quiet beach area and should stay that way. Too much traffic if it’s commercialized.”

Several other walkers who didn’t want to give their names shared the same sentiment.

The four lots, however, are just down the road from an actual business, the Beach House Restaurant – so there’s a precedent for commercial businesses in the neighbourhood.

The Beach House is located on two oceanfront properties and is also for sale – listed for $5.5 million.

Formerly known as McMorran’s, named after the family that ran the business, the Beach House has been a Saanich landmark and a popular Greater Victoria destination since it first opened as an ice cream stand and general store in the 1920s.

According to the listing, most of the Beach House sits on the northern lot zoned for residential use, while the rest resides on the southern lot zoned for commercial use. All together the properties cover 16,732 square feet and have 10 onsite parking spaces.

When McMorran’s ultimately closed its doors in 2010, Kate Phoenix purchased the vacant building and nearby lots. After extensive renovations, including a new roof and repairs to the foundation, Phoenix opened the Beach House in 2012.

“With 55 staff employed, many private events booked and strong relationships with several local suppliers, we gave careful consideration to all of our commitments,” Phoenix told the Saanich News in an email Wednesday.

Phoenix said staff and suppliers have been given 19 months’ notice, while no events have been taken for any date past August. The Beach House will hold its last wedding on Aug. 27, she added.

- With additional reporting by Austin Westphal, Black Press Media

RELATED: Site of historic Cordova Bay venue hits real estate market

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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