Jim Pattison Auto Group plans mixed-use autoplex in Midtown Victoria

December 22, 2022
Editor, Canadian auto dealer magazine

Pattison Auto Group has had a strong presence in Victoria for a long time, and in 2020 it bought the site of the Denny’s restaurant and parking lot across the street from Mayfair Mall, adding the final piece of the block the block bordered by Douglas and Finlayson streets, Burnside Road and Frances Avenue in Victoria’s north Douglas area, now being called “Midtown”. The plan for the block is a large autoplex, incorporating the group’s Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti and Subaru stores, as well as service bays, other retail and commercial spaces and two residential buildings.

The area around Mayfair Shopping Centre is considered prime space for residential development. It sits along a major transit thoroughfare, with dedicated bus lanes now completed.

Talking with Canadian auto dealer this week, Pattison Auto Group President Bill Harbottle explained the ambitious plans for the development. “In Victoria, land is very expensive so we have to basically relocate five dealerships. We’re going to put five dealerships in one complex with service, and probably two residential towers, one with some commercial because that’s the only way it makes sense for these brands.”

The mixed-use plan is similar to the project the group just completed with its Toyota store on Drake and Burrard Streets in Downtown Vancouver. “That’s how you offset your costs,” said Harbottle. “You’re distributing your land cost over a much higher number of buildable square feet. If your land cost is a million dollars, but you put 10 stories on them, all of a sudden your cost per story for land is only a hundred thousand. So if you’re using one level your land cost for that dealership is a hundred thousand, versus a million dollars.”

The plan is currently being designed by an architect and has yet to go through the approval process by the city, but the plan sounds like a win for Victoria as well as for Pattison Auto Group. “We’ve got the whole block. So we’re going to put a residential tower down by Douglas and another tower up by Burnside. And then the five dealerships will all be connected in between. Because of the change in topography, all the service will be on a lower level, but customers can exit onto Francis Street.”

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