More on the Kramer properties

March 17, 2008 at 5:30 am 2 comments

The Times-Colonist has a bevy of follow-up articles on the Janion, Morley’s and the rest of Trixie Kramer’s Downtown properties:

From the TC archives: Janion Building was a class act

Of the Janion, Kramer joked that she “likes the ghosts in there. I don’t want to disturb them.”

But she admitted that looking after the building is becoming a chore.

“I send my man” around to ensure it is cleared of graffiti on a weekly basis, she said. He also cleans up needles, blankets and clothing left by people who loiter about the building and regularly break in, she said.

Kramer said she has received offers for the building, assessed at $440,000, but “none of them has been feasible.

“If anyone wanted to build a boutique hotel, I think it would be wonderful.”

But she said it would have to be the right company, “a good firm that is reliable” and she indicated the building would have to be leased.

Publisher eyed Janion building for his business

The Janion was built in 1891 in arguably the last economic heyday Victoria saw as the province’s chief port and terminal of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, before Vancouver’s rise to prominence.

Originally a hotel, after two years the building went on to become the business office for the E&N Railway, a warehouse for B.Wilson & Co. Storage, a cold storage for B.C. Cold Storage, Ice and Produce Company and the facility for Lake of the Woods Milling Company. But it has sat vacant at 1612 Store St. for the last 31 years.

Hidden Charms of Morley’s Soda Factory include Klondyke-era courtyard in back

Prior to the soda factory, the alley was a vibrant commercial lane with a livery stable, bakery, blacksmith, restaurant, fish market, shoemaker, gambling establishment, dance hall and bowling alley.

Robert Randall, president of the Downtown Residents Association, said the little alley has the potential to evoke the flavour of a European boutique alley way in the hands of the right developer.

Instead, it is just deteriorating while nearby another developer is infusing new life into the 500 block of Yates Street by converting heritage buildings into condominium and retail developments.

I’m glad my little bit of wishful thinking made it into the Times Colonist article. Coincidentally, I had been walking through Waddington Alley and admiring the Morley’s Soda Factory building last week when it occurred to me that it would be perfect for a little boutique hotel or condo with a restaurant on the ground floor. Tables could spill out onto the wood-paved lane on warm summer evenings while strolling residents and tourists peruse the menus. The specific European scene I was picturing was the Rue des Bouchers, in Brussels, Belgium but on a much more intimate scale and less tacky-touristy.

Entry filed under: architecture, media, urban design.

Trixie Kramer hates Victoria The Janion building, 1979

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yule Heibel  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:18 am

    I heard from some credible sources that the Janion has not been used since 1953, and wondered if that was also the year it came into the Kramer family’s possession? If so, why wasn’t it used for anything in all that time? Any idea how long the Morley Soda Factory has stood empty?

  • 2. robertrandall  |  March 19, 2008 at 1:52 am

    I’m under the impression (that first Times-Colonist link has expired) that Trixie’s late husband was some sort of wholesaler or businessman and he likely envisaged them for storage.

    But it’s important to note that this part of Downtown was recognized as “skid row” around the time Kramer acquired the properties and in the 1960s the City actually encouraged “block busting” in Old Town as a way of fixing “urban blight”. So Mr. Kramer may have legitimately felt he was doing his civic duty by holding the properties until a deal came along.


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