An artist rendering of a development proposal for 388 Machleary St. (Molnar Group image)

An artist rendering of a development proposal for 388 Machleary St. (Molnar Group image)

Development proposal for old Nanaimo hospital site moving to public hearing

Molnar Group seeks to build a 175-unit development at 388 Machleary St.

Development plans for the old Nanaimo hospital site moved one step closer to reality.

On Monday, city councillors gave first and second reading to official community plan amendment and rezoning amendment requests from Vancouver-based Molnar Group for a proposed residential development at 388 Machleary St., in the Old City Quarter neighbourhood.

The company is planning to build a 175-unit multi-family development consisting of 15 townhouse units and three rental buildings – containing micro, studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units – ranging from four to five storeys in height.

According to a staff report, the development will also include underground parking and a “public seating area” with “prominent” ocean views. The proposed development will be a mix of market rental units and strata condominiums.

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

RELATED: Old Nanaimo hospital still standing, for now

During Monday’s meeting, Andre Molnar of the Molnar Group told councillors that his company has spent the last two years planning and engaging with members of the Nanaimo Old City Association. He said the company is pleased with the proposal and urged council to support it.

“We want to build it and we think the community will tremendously benefit from it,” he said.

Molnar said over the two years, the neighbourhood association asked for numerous changes to the proposal and he said his group did what it could.

“We feel very strongly that we have definitely designed the project as per the discussions with NOCA and there is always a limit on how far you can listen to public input,” he said, adding that the company never intended to include townhouses on Machleary Street and four-storey buildings, but have since added them into the plans.

Under the property’s current zoning, Molnar said a developer could put 220-240 units of seniors’ housing on the site without having go through an OCP amendment or rezoning, but said the company didn’t want to go that direction.

“We wanted to do an inclusive project where everybody from Nanaimo can rent an apartment from us,” he said. “If we do a seniors’ housing project, we are excluding the majority of the population.”

Meanwhile, Janet Wright, member of Nanaimo Old City Association, told councillors that while the Molnar Group has been routinely engaging with her group, the association does not support the proposed development. She said residents are concerned about increased traffic and density.

“NOCA believes that the overwhelming density proposed at this site will lead to traffic problems and street parking issues,” she said. “Further, we believe the three no-through streets close to the site along with the increased density will worsen traffic flow.”

There was no discussion amongst councillors about Molnar Group’s proposal at Monday’s meeting.

Currently, the city’s official community plan designates the Machleary Street property as a ‘neighbourhood’ and has a target density range of 10 to 50 units per hectare in two- to four-storey buildings, according to the report, which notes that the 175 units proposed is 151 units per hectare. As a result, the Molnar Group is requesting an OCP amendment to change the property’s designation from ‘neighbourhood’ to ‘corridor,’ which would allow for medium-density developments in two- to six-storey buildings.

The 1.1-hectare property, bordered by Fitzwilliam, Franklyn, Machleary and Kennedy streets, was once the home to the old Nanaimo Hospital, Malaspina College and Malaspina Gardens during a 100-year period.

A public hearing for the proposed development has been scheduled for Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Shaw Auditorium. 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
RDN Transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help Nanaimo’s new baseball team look picture-perfect

NightOwls announce partnership with Angela Waldick of Nightengales Photography

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

A person experiencing homelessness in downtown Nanaimo last week. (News Bulletin photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Change approach to combatting homelessness

Letter writers express frustration with status quo

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo councillors like new sustainable buying policy

Finance and audit committee recommends council approve new procurement policy

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Most Read