Dodd’s Furniture and La-Z-Boy could become neighbours in a new commercial development near Longwood Station.
A development permit application has been received by the City of Nanaimo for a 12,139-square-metre commercial centre at the corner of Uplands Drive and Turner Road.
Submitted by Insight Holdings, the application features two buildings that will be become the new homes for Dodd’s Furniture and La-Z-Boy.
Darwin Mahlum, a local realtor and manager of projects and development for Insight Holdings, said everything is moving along as normal with the plans for the site.
“I would think that you are going to see construction this year,” he said.
Coun. Jerry Hong, who is on the city’s design advisory panel, said the development works for the area and will be an excellent addition to the neighbourhood.
“I think it is a great development area because it is one of our urban nodes for the area,” he said. “It’s wonderful that they [the developers] are doing something there.”
Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress is currently located on Applecross Road while La-Z-Boy is located at Country Club Centre. According to design plans, La-Z-Boy’s new home will be a 1,764-square-metre building and the Dodd’s Furniture building will be 3,411 square metres. Both buildings will feature grass rooftops, rainwater collection pools, bio swales and purposely designed water channels that will slow the progress of water runoff.
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A new access road will also be built, enclosing the entire property which will address some traffic concerns according to Hong, who said he said he would have liked to have seen sidewalks along the access road, but noted that they can be added later on as there are other developments planned for the area immediately surrounding the property.
“There are no sidewalks in the back because they don’t think people will walk along that back access road but more up Uplands Road,” he said.
The artist’s renderings for Dodd’s Furniture show a wood-beam West Coast style of building with high glass ceilings while the La-Z-Boy building design follows the company’s corporate model for its other stores. Hong said he was impressed with the renderings for Dodd’s Furniture. He said Dodd’s has more flexibility in terms of design because it is an independent company.
“They [La-Z-Boy] have to meet a corporate criteria…” he said. “Whereas the Dodd’s Furniture, that is structurally and architecturally a great building for that area.”
Hong said while he isn’t entirely sure of the reason why both companies have decided to move locations, he believes it is likely due to needing more space. He said it’s likely that they ended up in the same location because the developer was looking for tenants beforehand.
“The reason it probably came about is in order to develop this property they needed two anchor tenants,” Hong said.
Dave Mills, property manager with Country Club Centre, said he is aware of the development application involving La-Z-Boy but doesn’t know anything beyond what is in the application. He said La-Z-Boy has roughly another year left on its current lease and has not given notice as to whether it intends to renew.
“We are aware of all of the application stuff that everybody else is and we are piecing it together,” he said.
Dodd’s Furniture and La-Z-Boy were unable to provide a comment.