The former Fulford Inn site has been bought by a company whose principal lives on Salt Spring.
David Fullbrook of Merchant House Capital resides about a kilometre from the site and drives by it every day.
“I just decided that something needed to happen,” he said on Thursday after the sale was finalized.
He said the loss of the Fulford Inn was unfortunate for the south end, and he hopes to restore the area as a vibrant community gathering spot. Fullbrook envisions spaces for small craft or food businesses around a courtyard that could house a seasonal Sunday or evening market and a community farmstand, as well as some accommodation units as per its existing Commercial-Accommodation zoning.
“We’re really looking to use it under its current zoning but in a more diminutive way,” he said.
He does not intend to apply for a rezoning, but the two titles are subject to requirements of five different Islands Trust development permit areas. There are also numerous other technical issues to consider, he said, but preliminary studies undertaken by Fullbrook’s company in the last two years have at least laid those out for the new owner, in addition to the DPA issues.
For the moment, Fullbrook said the immediate plan is to clean up the site.
The last Fulford Inn building existed from 1977 to 2010, when Alf Reda, who owned the inn since 1995, sold it to an Alberta couple. It was demolished in June of 2015 by order of the Capital Regional District after being unused and becoming a derelict building.
The Island Stream and Salmon Enhancement Society had been eyeing the site as a spot for a salmon-rearing facility and public park.
Merchant House Capital’s more recent projects include the Dominion Rocket, which saw conversion of a Victoria heritage hotel into a 97 micro-unit apartment building, and redevelopment of the Victoria Press building on Douglas Street.
Fullbrook is CEO of development and acquisitions with Merchant House Capital and also serves on the board of the Greater Victoria Housing Society. He has lived on Salt Spring with his wife Kris Fullbrook for more than 10 years.