$40-million condo project planned for Nanaimo’s Old City

Redevelopment of former hospital site will pay homage to property’s past

Developers behind a planned $40-million housing project in Nanaimo’s Old City neighbourhood want to pay homage to the property’s past.

Vancouver-based Molnar Group presented its concept for a 160-unit development on Machleary Street to neighbours during a meeting Tuesday.

The company snapped up the site a year ago for its views, according to Andre Molnar, principal and founder of the Molnar group, who said he doesn’t think there are many properties in Nanaimo as attractive as this one. The property was previously the home of Nanaimo’s old hospital and later Malaspina Gardens seniors residence, before the building was demolished last October.

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While the developer still has to get approvals at city hall, such as an official community plan amendment, the plan is to build 15 townhouses and three four-storey apartment buildings and have underground parking. The intention is it will be a strata project, for sale, but everything us driven by the market, said Molnar, who estimates the project will be about $40 million, or more.

There are also plans to keep the staircase from the former hospital and showcase the outline of the old building in an open space between two of the apartments as homage to the hospital and heritage of the site.

“This is very preliminary, but I think it will be turning into reality,” Molnar said of the project. “We seem to have very good support from the neighbourhood and very good support from the planning staff.”

The concept, presented this week, was a revision from a previous proposal to residents.

“We were really pleased with the fact that the developer has listened to the community’s concerns that we raised when they gave their first iteration to us last year, so they have made considerable changes in the second proposal,” said Joy Adams Bauer, president of Nanaimo Old City Association, who notes changes were made in terms of property access and with underground parking.

Concerns still linger about the size of the development and the amount of people coming into the residential area, as well as the 100-per cent-condominium plan with residents looking for a bit of diversity, according to Adams Bauer.

But there’s no doubt the association is “very excited” about the development, she said.

The Molnar Group will go to the city for an OCP amendment in May and hopes to break ground in eight months. For information about the presentation to the old city association, visit www.nanaimooldcityassociation.ca.



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