Mixed-use development proposed along Nanaimo’s Terminal Avenue

Five-storey development would include residential units and commercial space

A vacant plot of land in central Nanaimo could soon be the site of a mixed-used development.

Joyce Reid Troost Architecture – on behalf of Red Hare Realty Development – is proposing to build a five-storey, 32-unit residential building and café restaurant at 930 Terminal Ave., according to planning documents available on the city’s website.

Located next to the Colonial Motel and Cypress Glen Apartments, the proposed development would have four one-bedroom units, five two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. The majority of units will be condominium units; however, three townhouse units are being provided. The townhouse units will face Terminal Avenue.

The development will also include a rooftop garden and club room for residents, underground parking and bike parking. A 2,000-square-foot ground-floor café restaurant with an outdoor patio would be located at the corner of Terminal Avenue and Cypress Street.

The Nanaimo-based architecture company has submitted a development permit application to the city and is requesting height and parking variances. The building’s proposed height is 18.6 metres – barely over the maximum allowable height – and 54 parking spaces are planned, which is slightly fewer than what is mandated under current zoning.

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Joyce Reid Troost, architect for the project, said the building ranges from three to five storeys in height and has been designed in such a way so that the residential units face the ocean.

“The design intention is to focus the units towards the views of the water,” she said. “That’s the main design intent while providing a nice café and public space on the corner and we think it will be a great asset to the community.”

Troost said the three townhouse units are live-work units, which allow occupants to live in their unit and operate a business at the same time. While it is not the first development to have such units in Nanaimo, Troost said the units are great for anyone who has an at-home business.

“In Nanaimo, it is amazing how many home-based businesses there are and this is just another residential opportunity for people to have. It has great visual access to people driving along Terminal Avenue,” she said, adding “I think [the units] fit quite well with what is happening along Terminal in general. If you go south on Terminal you will see a bunch of single-family homes that have been converted into accountant and lawyer offices.”

More and more areas of the city are beginning to see mixed-use development, said Troost, citing the Legasea development that is also the home to Drip Coffee on Departure Bay Road as an example.

“I think in town there are a lot of developments that are transitioning to a much more urban relationship with residential and community. There are pockets of town that you will see that have tons of residential, but no one has access to things like a café,” she said.

Troost said she hopes her project will also be able to improve and give back to the neighbourhood.

“I think it is a modern building that will connect with the community and create some interesting movement along the street,” she said.

It is unclear when the project would begin. Troost said while the city’s design advisory panel has endorsed the project, she will need to appear before council because of the variances that are being requested but she doesn’t know when that will happen.

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