One of our earlier visits to Victoria had involved staying close by a building that was being demolished. They were keeping the façade of the building intact and taking out the interior for rebuilding and development. Three years has gone by since that visit and I was interested to see how the building was looking. While some finishing and fit out still appears to be underway, the building appears to be complete.
They have retained the façade as anticipated and constructed a whole new building inside. In addition, one source of the building had been removed to allow the demolition process to get underway and that now has a new structure grafted on to the building. Consequently, there is a combination of the old and the modern in the way it is finished off. I assume by the next time we are in Victoria, it will be open for business. I don’t know when it was originally scheduled to be done but I assume the pandemic delayed things a little.
We were wandering around down by Lake Union checking out the sights of the city. When it was time to head back, the easiest thing for us to do was to grab the streetcar that runs back up to Westlake. This is a relatively new addition to the city and they are expanding their streetcar system at the same time as Sound Transit expands the light rail system.
It did remind me of a previous trip we had to Seattle quite a few years ago. At that time, there was a vintage streetcar that ran along the waterfront. We had stayed down there on that trip and the streetcar tracks ran right outside the hotel. During the course of some redevelopment activity, the barn where the cars were stored and maintained found itself in the way and it was demolished. The system went away and clearly has not returned.
The tracks are still along the right of way but obviously aren’t used anymore. I thought it was interesting to contrast the old style of a streetcar with the modern vehicle that is appearing in cities all across the US today. The return of streetcars are gaining momentum all across the country.