City sells portion of supportive housing property

A portion of land once part of a controversial supportive housing site has been sold by the city to a Nanaimo-based developer, but will have to withstand a rezoning process before it can be finalized.

A .5-hectare parcel of land at 1621 Dufferin Cres. was sold to R.W. Wall Ltd. for slightly more than $1 million Sept. 14.

If rezoning is successful – the property is currently zoned residential – R.W. Wall proposes to build medical office space.

The adjacent parcel of land at 1597 Boundary Cres. will remain the site for a 35-unit supported apartment building that will house the homeless. It is being developed by non-profit organizations including Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, Columbian Centre Society and Haven Society.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said public feedback helped the city determine the best use for the sold site.

“This council believes that it is important to successfully integrate social housing into the fabric of our community, and the commercial development proposed by R.W. Wall Ltd. ... will further that objective,” he said.

The medical office building will be at the front of the site, facing on to Dufferin Crescent, while the supported housing facility will be situated behind it.

The sale of the land remains subject to successful rezoning that will see the land rezoned from medium density residential to hospital urban node. A public hearing on the rezoning is anticipated for January while in March, the construction of sidewalks and road upgrades to Dufferin and Boundary crescents will take place, according to a release from the city.

Construction is expected to begin next summer.

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