The heritage restoration of the Customs House building at the nexus of Government, Wharf and Humboldt streets in downtown Victoria has been underway since last summer as Victoria-based Cielo Properties works to repurpose the building into luxury condominium residences and ground floor commercial spaces.
Most Victorians have been unaware of the complicated seismic upgrading and restorative work taking place within the 104-year-old structure, or the complex demolition preparations for the building’s 1950’s-era faux-heritage addition which will be replaced by a seven-storey luxury residence.
Built in 1914, Customs House was constructed on the former foundation of the City of Victoria’s 1898 post office at Wharf and Government streets.
“Ottawa’s Federal Department of Public Works assigned their chief architect, David Ewart to the task of creating Customs House,” reads a statement on the Custom House’s history. “Drawing on the inspiration of a summer in Europe and the grand buildings of London, Ewart designed a highly detailed structure in the ‘Empire’ [architectural] style.”
In the 1950’s an addition to the building was constructed along Government Street. That addition will be demolished this summer and construction on a seven-storey luxury condominium will begin later this year while the historic Customs House will receive an additional, setback storey atop its rooftop.