Wertman Development Corporation is looking to build a highrise condo tower on Chapel Street in downtown Nanaimo. (de Hoog & Kierulf Architects image)

Developer wants to build highrise in downtown Nanaimo

Wertman Development Corporation has purchased two properties on Chapel Street

A Vancouver developer is looking to build a highrise condo tower in downtown Nanaimo.

Wertman Development Corporation has purchased two properties on Chapel Street with the vision of building a tower of 20 or more stories.

The company hasn’t yet submitted a development permit application, but thinks that step could happen in mid-January.

“From what we’ve been hearing, there is a demand for some new condos there, and here in Vancouver, a lot of people are looking for other places to move to … and still be connected,” said Jason Wertman, the company’s vice-president. “With all the commute options between Vancouver’s downtown and Nanaimo’s downtown, people are looking at that. You can be on the floatplane, downtown to downtown, in a fraction of what it takes to drive in from Surrey or Maple Ridge. We’re really hoping that we’re at the head of a curve that will happen there as far as growth.”

Wertman said the plans are currently for 90 units, mostly two-bedroom condominiums with a row of townhouses and entrance to parking along Skinner Street. Along the Chapel Street side, Wertman envisions retail, possibly a grocery store or large restaurant, and a fitness centre. The point where the streets meet would include landscaping and possibly public art.

“This is going to be a nice, boutique project to look forward to. It’s going to have great views, big suites,” Wertman said.

Nanaimo city councillor Jerry Hong said from what he’s seen of the project vision, “it’s an amazing addition to that area” and said the views will be spectacular for the building’s residents.

He said density in the downtown is critical and this is the sort of project that can help bring vibrancy downtown.

“Having shops just isn’t enough,” Hong said. “You need people. You need people living down there.”

He said he’s heard some say that the condos are going to be too expensive or high-end, “but I don’t think that’s going to be the case,” Hong said. “I think there’s still going to be affordability compared to Vancouver and I think that’s going to be the goal of these buildings.”

Adding any housing stock to the market, even more expensive condos, he said, helps affordability because there are potential chain reactions of availability in other buildings and homes around the city.

Wertman said “if we can work miracles” with plans, applications and permits, then pre-sales could potentially start next summer and the construction could be complete about a year after that.

He said he’s happy to answer questions about the project and can be reached via e-mail at jason@wertman.net.


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