Esquimalt Town Square

Case Study

  • Location

    Esquimalt, BC

  • Status

    Sold Out

  • Units

    68 Condos

  • Architect

    D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism

  • Building Type

    Wood Frame, Mass Timber

  • Completion Date

    2020

  • Property Type

    Mixed Use

A PROGRESSIVE


APPROACH TO

FOSTERING

COMMUNITY

Overview

In the centre of Esquimalt, at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, a works yard had sat unused for more than a decade. The township had a vision of a vibrant core that would reflect the town’s friendly feel and progressive outlook. But they needed the right partner to bring it to life. Working with the municipality, we transformed this overlooked piece of land into a master-planned community with engaging spaces for living and working, as well as shopping, learning, relaxing and meeting. It’s now a lively town square that’s at the heart of Esquimalt’s next chapter.

68

Residential
Units

8

Penthouse
Suites

50%

oF UNITS SOLD WITHIN
THE FIRST 8 MONTHS

The story behind ETS

play video

THE CHALLENGES

Building a better town core is an ambitious undertaking. From the outset, we identified the key issues to tackle.

01

A HOUSING SUPPLY GAP

Esquimalt’s existing housing stock, made up of older bungalows and rental buildings, lacked variety. To meet the needs of the community, our homes would need to suit individuals and families at all different stages of life, including first-time buyers, downsizers and renters.

02

A RANGE OF OBJECTIVES

The municipality had several goals for the site, from enhancing economic development to providing public amenities. We would need a plan that could balance residential, civic and commercial needs, as well as a set of agreements to manage the complexities of public use, shared interest and cost sharing.

03

LACK OF NAME RECOGNITION

Though Aragon had a 30-year track record, this was our first project on Vancouver Island. We would need to listen to the community to ensure we were meeting its needs, not imposing an outsider’s vision. And, to establish trust, we’d need to prove how much we care about raising the bar for quality, liveability and innovation.

Esquimalt Town Square Art Walk

THE APPROACH

Building a better town core is an ambitious undertaking. From the outset, we identified the key issues to tackle.

01

A Community Hub

Our progressive plan for the public spaces included a plaza for farmers markets and festivals, a permanent art walk that celebrates local artists, and pedestrian paths that connect to the surrounding neighbourhood. Upon completion, we partnered with TCAC, a local community arts group, to hold cultural events in the plaza and open a gallery space in our commercial building, The Mill. This innovative mass timber building also houses a new public library, as well as 35,000 square feet of office space. Some of Esquimalt’s most-loved small businesses, including Esquimalt Roasting Company, now occupy the ground-floor retail spaces in the adjacent rental building.

02

MODERN, WEST COAST HOMES

We wanted the condo and rental apartments to set a new standard for quality and design in Esquimalt. Ranging from one to three bedrooms, every home has ample outdoor space, including private rooftop patios with stunning views of the Salish Sea for the penthouses. The modern interiors are grounded in the beauty of the West Coast, featuring a natural colour palette pulled from the surrounding landscape. Open, flexible floor plans maximize liveability, while 9’6” ceilings and expansive windows make every room feel even bigger.

We usually sell finished homes—an approach that was helpful in a community where many people were unfamiliar with the Aragon name. Before committing, they were able to walk through and know exactly what they were getting, instead of waiting years to see the space.

03

SUSTAINABILITY AT EVERY STAGE

Principles of sustainable development informed every stage of the planning and construction process. A cost- and energy-efficient geothermal system heats and cools the entire site, while rain gardens offer natural water management. The commercial building’s pioneering mass timber construction reduced our CO2 emissions, and the wood for the library was sourced from sustainably managed forests. Every residential parking stall has an EV charger, and the development is served by a MODO car-share program, as well as local transit, ferries and bike paths.

The

Result

Once complete, Esquimalt Town Square was quickly embraced by the local community. The entire rental building was leased within a month and a half, and the condo residences attracted a range of people, most from the local community. A handful were first-time buyers, while nearly a third were downsizers who had been searching for a spacious alternative to a single-family home. Several other buyers were former Esquimalt residents who’d reluctantly moved away due to the lack of new housing. After speaking with both the homeowners and renters, it’s clear that our commitment to outstanding quality and distinctive design really resonated with them.

Equally important, the commercial and public spaces are now alive with people, driving home the difference between building a project and cultivating a community. The town square has become a key component of Esquimalt’s vibrancy, and will be part of its identity for generations to come.

Testimonials

Purchasing and moving to my condo has been a succession of lovely experiences by you and the Aragon team. I felt welcomed from the first, with the picture taken by the customer experience team of my sister and I in front of the feature wall in my new home. Each team member has been friendly and accommodating of the many questions asked of them prior to my move and continuing today. Jessica brought a welcome gift that highlighted the local vendor products and they were tasty and useful. Any issues that have come up as the building settles are dealt with in a timely fashion which is appreciated. I want to personally thank the Aragon Team for all that has been done for me as an owner/resident at Esquimalt Town Centre Square

Ronda N

Community

Events

Since our inception over 30 years ago, Aragon has focused on innovative and distinctive design combined with outstanding quality.

Artist in Residence at Esquimalt Town Square

22/06/2021

Esquimalt Town Square

We hosted the Artist in Residence rotating artist showcase at Esquimalt Town Square, organized by the TCAC.

Esquimalt Farmers Market Summer 2021

14/06/2022

Esquimalt Town Square

We hosted an extension of the Esquimalt Farmers Market in the Plaza at Esquimalt Town Square for one season.

TCAC Gallery Splash! Grand Opening Fall 2021

29/09/2021

Esquimalt Town Square

The TCAC held a grand opening event for their new Gallery Splash!