Nanaimo in midst of building boom

Building permits in the island city this year already have outpaced the total value of 2018

Times Colonist
May 30, 2019

Artist's rendering of a 59-unit Grasteve Enterprises Ltd. residential project at 591 Bradley St. | Raymond De Beeld Architect Inc.

Building intentions in Nanaimo this year already have outpaced the total value of 2018 as developers plan hundreds of millions of dollars worth of residential and commercial projects.

Mayor Leonard Krog said that there is a “significant amount of construction going on in Nanaimo — everywhere you turn — and some major developments [are] going ahead.”

In the first four months of this year, building permits, which reflect the value of construction, reached $230.6 million. That’s up from a total of $216 million for all of last year, a city report shows.

Residential plans account for $169.4 million, with commercial permits at $57.9 million from January through April of this year.

Last year saw residential permits total $186 million, with a total of $26.2 million for commercial.

Key projects include three new hotels, totalling $33.8 million. PEG Development took out a permit for $22 million for its planned Courtyard by Marriott hotel downtown.

A permit for a 24-storey commercial and residential development on Chapel Street has estimated its cost at $64 million.

The permit value was $20.5 million for the Brechin United Church’s development of 7,500 square feet of church space and 74 rental units, of which 51 per cent will be affordable housing.

At five storeys, the Riverstone Place condominium development with 90 units on Barsby Avenue took out a permit for $15 million.

“One gets the sense that we are going to have a solid pace of housing construction for a while yet,” Krog said. “This is all for the good. It’s good employment. It’s jobs.”

He said developers are putting up housing because “they recognize that there is a demand.”

Senior governments need to do more to address affordable-housing needs, Krog said.

Housing projects before city hall this week include a total of 523 multi-family units, plus another 160 seniors’ units, for a total of 683 if they all proceed.

Council this week endorsed a development permit for a 251-unit rental development at 4800 Uplands Dr. and 6035 Linley Valley Dr.

NPR GP Inc. applied through Macdonald Gray Consultants to build a trio of four-storey buildings. That project will see the buildings concentrated in the middle portion of the site. The majority of parking spots will be located underground, with 34 spaces having access to electric vehicle charging stations.

Amenities include a children’s play area, open spaces for sports and activities, picnic tables and seating areas.

A rezoning proposal for a 213-multifamily project at 1300 Junction Ave. will be going to public hearing. West Urban Developments Ltd., on behalf of land owners Shawn Niven and Patricia Little, are aiming to put up three, four-storey apartment buildings.

The intent is for the units to be rental, council heard. Each building will have underground and surface parking. Units will have one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.

A community amenity contribution of $213,000 is being proposed by the developer, with $40,000 for a new transit shelter and the remainder for future park and pedestrian improvements in the Chase River area. A statutory right-of-way to allow for future restoration of Wexford Creek was backed by council.

Neighbours have expressed concerns about parking and traffic, although a developer’s study said the plan would not negatively affect traffic, a city staff report to council stated.

City council voted 7-2 to approve a 59-unit residential project for Grasteve Enterprises Ltd. at 591 Bradley St. Concerns were expressed about the potential impact on Millstone River, a salmon-bearing stream, below a slope on the site. The developer’s representative said the building site is fairly flat and the bank will be stable.

Council also approved a development permit for a 160-unit seniors’ congregate care and multi-family residential development at 4979 Wills Rd. from 1035452 B.C. Ltd. (Nanaimo Retirement Living). It is the second stage of a 2017 project, the 79-unit Nanaimo Memory and Complex Care facility.

Copyright © Western Investor

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