Last week, the Campbell administration quietly announced it was looking for 300,000 square feet of new leased office space in the provincial capital. That's almost eight times the amount of functional space offered by the Victoria Conference Centre. And it's comparable to the 335,000 square feet of functional space being built by the the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project. In an interview with Public Eye, labour and citizens' services communications director Rob Duffus explained, "This is an approach to the private sector to explore building new leased office space in downtown Victoria. Government space has become fragmented over the years throughout Victoria." So the government is looking to consolidate that space in an effort to "improve efficiency and provide better service to taxpayers. It'll help keep costs down as well."
So does that mean the Campbell administration is considering selling-off some of the government's existing downtown properties? "That hasn't been talked about yet. This is a response to the record low vacancy rate in Victoria. It's been quite a while since new office space was developed. So this is just the initial foray to see if there's private sector interest in developing new leaseable space," replied Mr. Dufus. According to the government's accomodation and real estate services division, the province presently owns 1,180,600 square feet of space in downtown Victoria and leases 2,063,900 square feet. The following is a copy of the bid document seeking the aforementioned office space.
Project: 1093435 - Victoria - Request for Expressions of Interest
The purpose of this Request for Expressions of Interest is to solicit information from interested parties about the marketplace's ability to provide new leased office space in the downtown Victoria area. In order to respond to ministry space consolidation demands, Accommodation and Real Estate Services (ARES) intends to proceed with a Request for Proposals for the provision of up to 300,000 square feet of new leased office space. The space requirements are described as three (3) independent blocks:
Ministry Block 1: 150,000 square feet
Ministry Block 2: 85,000 square feet
Ministry Block 3: 65,000 square feet
The preferred site catchment area boundaries are:
North: Chatham Street / Caledonia Avenue
East: Quadra Street
South: Belleville Street
West: Wharf Street
The space may be provided in a single building or multi-building solutions by a single or multiple Landlords, provided the space reasonably fits the area modules and individual ministry requirements. Respondents may indicate interest in any or all independent Blocks as listed above.