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City committee gives thumbs-up to proposed market at former A&B Sound in downtown Nanaimo

Applicant makes presentation to City of Nanaimo’s design advisory panel
An artist’s rendering of what 1 Commercial St. – the former A&B Sound Building – might look like after renovations. (Colin Harper Architect image)

A city committee looked over plans for a market at the old A&B Sound building downtown, and is recommending that the project proceed to the next stage.

The City of Nanaimo’s design advisory panel, at a meeting Thursday, May 12, discussed a development permit application for 1 Commercial St. at the corner of Terminal, Commercial and Wallace streets.

The applicant, Colin Harper Architect on behalf of Steiner Properties, is proposing an exterior renovation to the existing structures at the intersection, according to a city staff report.

The ground level, accessible from Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue, would include a market space and two commercial units, including, potentially, a restaurant. The second-storey portions of the building, accessed from Wallace Street, could include office space and a daycare, and a restaurant with a patio has also been contemplated for the upper storey.

“The existing building, currently unoccupied, was once an iconic landmark in Nanaimo, home to the former A&B Sound building,” noted Harper in the application. “The improvements will activate the adjacent streets and contribute to the city’s revitalization initiatives in the area.”

Staff noted that the project’s design is “simple and clean” with white buildings and windows on both floors “that will provide increased street animation.”

The site’s parking lot would also be redeveloped with 28 spaces; no on-site parking is required for commercial-use buildings in the downtown.

The design panel made four recommendations, most notably asking that the applicant consider improving pedestrian connections with the market entrance as well as enhancing the character of the building elevation along Wallace Street. The applicant is not seeking any variances.

Coun. Tyler Brown, city council’s representative on the panel, said he’s “very excited to see this project” in the works.

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More views of a planned renovation of 1 Commercial St. (Colin Harper Architect image)

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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