Artist’s rendering of two five-storey apartment buildings at 6985 Island Highway N. in Nanaimo’s north end. (D-Architecture image)

Artist’s rendering of two five-storey apartment buildings at 6985 Island Highway N. in Nanaimo’s north end. (D-Architecture image)

City reviews plans for 150 apartments on Nanaimo’s northern edge

Design advisory panel recommends variances for Phase 2 of North Grove complex

The city has received plans for 150 new apartments at the northern edge of the municipality where the Nanaimo Parkway meets the old Island Highway.

The City of Nanaimo’s design advisory panel, at a meeting Dec. 9, reviewed a development permit application from District Developments Corporation for Phase 2 of the North Grove complex north of the Woodgrove Crossing shopping plaza. Phase 1 of North Grove is already complete and comprises 151 apartments in three buildings.

For Phase 2, the applicant is asking for height and setback variances to construct two five-storey buildings. The configuration of the 149 units would be 47 two-bedroom apartments, 89 one-bedroom apartments and 13 studio suites. Three of the two-bedroom apartments and 44 of the one-bedroom apartments would also have a den. Both buildings would have underground parking and there would also be surface parking for a total of 176 spaces, well in excess of the 147 required.

Mike Fujii, development manager with District Group, said as Phase 2 is at a “gateway site leading into the city,” developers spent “special attention” looking at the urban frontage and official community plan and parkway design guidelines.

“A significant amount of attention was paid to the presentation of the property from the perspective of vehicular traffic approaching the city,” noted the application, adding that District Group has worked with the city on site planning and mentioning that buildings would be set back from the highway amongst proposed new landscaping.

The application says developers put a “tremendous amount of thought and effort” into their proposal and Fujii added that District Group feels strongly that the project would be a “wonderful addition to the urban fabric of north Nanaimo.”

“Our team has done an excellent job with the proposed second phase…” he said. “[It] is complementary to the first phase and we believe it should be viewed as one comprehensive development.”

The requested front yard setback variance is minor, just 70 centimetres, but the requested height variance would be from 14 metres to 18.3m. The application noted that the height variance is being sought to allow “for a reduction in the building footprint.”

The design panel recommended the application proceed to city council with the requested variances, but made a handful of recommendations including more amenity space and further consideration of the north face of the property through building design, landscaping or both.

“The comments around the northern elevation, I don’t know what the answer is, but I do think that I would highly support a recommendation around treating that entrance to the city as something requiring a bit of a special treatment or more thought and consideration,” said Coun. Tyler Brown, council’s representative on the design panel. “Other than that, I think it’s really, really attractive. The building design, I think, is really well done.”

RELATED: Apartments being planned for northern edge of Nanaimo



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Artist’s rendering of two five-storey apartment buildings at 6985 Island Highway N. in Nanaimo’s north end. (D-Architecture image)

Artist’s rendering of two five-storey apartment buildings at 6985 Island Highway N. in Nanaimo’s north end. (D-Architecture image)