VICTORIA -- Homeowners are moving in to the first of four buildings that make up the new Esquimalt Town Square project.

The project has been underway for the past three years and is designed to create a new vibrant community space on the land next to the Esquimalt municipal hall.

Vancouver-based Aragon Developments saw the project as a unique and rare opportunity to create a town centre.

“Being able to shape a community is something quite rare,” said Argon development manager Luke Ramsay. “We always try to built a bit of a relationship within the community but this presented a particularly interesting circumstance for that.”

The project began when the Township of Esquimalt asked for proposals for the purchase and development of a parcel of land next the the municipal hall. The municipality requested that the project include a new library, a mix of residential and commercial space and outdoor public spaces.

“That’s how we acquired the land and how we came up with the idea to build these four buildings,” said Ramsay. “Two are residential, one is a rental building, and one is an office building with the city’s library in it.”

The “Douglas” is the first of the four buildings now open to residents. The 34-unit condo building on Carlisle and Park avenues consists of condominiums ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. The six-storey building boasts nine-foot ceilings and units are being sold as move-in-ready.

“This is a model that we have done over and over again in our 30 years in business,” said Ramsay. “It means that we can’t do as many projects, but it allows us to get the type of buyers that we are looking for – people who will actually live in the buildings and appreciate the things that we do.”

Ramsay says that Aragon considers itself to be a community builder which is why the developer wanted to work closely with the municipality on the project.

“There is a lot of back and forth with planning, with the city director and the mayor to make this a cohesive feel,” said Ramsay. “We really feel like we are having a positive impact on the community which is exciting for us.”

When the project is completed it will also include an outdoor space for the community of Esquimalt located between the project and the municipal hall. There will also be an underground parking space that will be shared by residents, office workers and library patrons.

“Good design is a mix of uses and this property was big enough that we could include all the needed elements around the town square,” said Ramsay. “Though we love Esquimalt, we also see people from other parts of Victoria that love this neighbourhood.”

Aragon expects Esquimalt Town Sqaure to be completed by late 2021.