An artist rendering of DLX on Third, a proposed 181-unit residential complex at 560 Third St. (Wensley Architecture Ltd.)

181-unit residential development pitched for Nanaimo’s university district

Development at 560 Third St. would be built on property that was once Armishaw farmland

Another higher-density residential development could be coming to Third Street.

Wertman Development Corporation is planning to build a housing complex at 560 Third St., between Howard Avenue and Lambert Avenue. A development permit application for the project has been submitted to the City of Nanaimo and the municipality’s design advisory panel recommended last week that the application move ahead.

Dubbed DLX on Third, the application calls for the construction of two four-storey buildings, providing 181 residential units and 511 square metres of commercial space on 1.3 hectares of land.

Residential units would be a mixture of micro-units, studio units, one- and two-bedroom units and one- and two-bedroom lofts. Ground floor commercial space would be available at one of the buildings. There would also be 188 parking spaces and 100 bicycle spaces on the property.

The proposed development is also across the street from 525 Third St., where construction has started on a mixed-use student housing complex. The Wertman Development Corporation are also the firm behind a proposed 24-storey condominium in downtown Nanaimo.

Jason Wertman, vice-president of Wertman Development Corporation, said the intention of DLX on Third is to provide attractive housing at an affordable price to first-time buyers in the Nanaimo market.

“We’ve got a number of sized suites to hit all the points in the market, but micros and studios are going to be accessible price points. We’re starting at $119,000 for the smallest suites,” he said. “For people who want to get their foot in the door in the market and don’t need a lot of space it is perfect.”

A city staff report, available on the city’s website, noted that DLX on Third will provide student housing. However that isn’t the case according to Wertman, who said a development proposal for the site from a different ownership group years ago did include student housing. He said DLX on Third will have a residents-only fitness centre and the commercial space will likely be the site of a restaurant.

The land at 560 Third St., was once part of a two-hectare farm once owned by Frank Armishaw. City staff, in a report available on the city’s website, noted that DLX on Third does not “appear to include any elements that reflect the site’s agricultural” history, which the Harewood Neighbourhood Plan encourages. Staff also recommended the project incorporate more farm elements into the design.

Wertman said that would be hard to do at this point because the building, which was designed by Wensley Architecture Ltd., is intended to have a modern look to it.

“It would be hard to incorporate farm elements into it at this point and I don’t think that is the direction we are going to go in. We will, potentially do some edible gardening and landscaping, which was one of the requests [the city] made,” he said, adding that those concerns weren’t raised during meetings with city staff.

DLX on Third doesn’t require rezoning due to a 2012 decision by city councillors to rezone the property after a Surrey-based developer came forward with plans to build a similar project called Armishaw Crossing.

Depending on whether or not the development receives all the necessary permits, Wertman said construction could potentially begin in later summer or early fall.

“The minute we get permits we will probably have shovels in the ground. It depends on fast we can get our building permit applications,” he said.

RELATED: Last of Harewood’s five-acre farms to be developed 
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