An artist rendering of a proposed 91-unit multi-family development on neighbouring properties located at 155 Fry and 150 Esplanade. (D-Architecture)

Mixed-use, five-storey development pitched close to downtown Nanaimo

Proposed development would be located at Fry Street and Esplanade

A vacant patch of land near downtown could become the home of two new condo buildings and a public square.

A 91-unit multi-family development on neighbouring properties located at 155 Fry and 150 Esplanade is going to a public hearing tonight, Nov. 7.

Submitted by D-Architecture on behalf of a numbered B.C. company, the proposed development consists of two five-storey buildings. One building will have 55 units of residential and 287 square metres of ground floor commercial space, while the other building is designed to include 36 residential units and no commercial space.

Ground floor parking and a public square located at the corner of Fry and Milton streets are also included in the proposed development.

The two buildings are the final phases in a development known as Robin’s Grove, which includes an existing 14-unit multi-family building at 104 Esplanade, directly adjacent to the two newly proposed buildings. Phase 1 was completed in 2016.

Daryoush Firouzli, principal architect for D-Architecture, said re-zoning is needed because under the existing zoning, a minimum of 25 per cent of the development’s gross floor area must be dedicated for commercial use.

“There is no demand for that amount of commercial space,” he said.

By requesting different zoning, the development can offer more residential units and less commercial space, said Firouzli.

When it comes to the design, he said the owners wanted something similar to what was built in Phase 1, a Victorian-style building condo. He said he wasn’t involved with the first phase but wanted to create two Victorian-style buildings that followed the same lines as the first building.

“I wanted to follow the scheme and I respect that,” he said. “I tried my best to give both buildings the same type of design.”

Firouzli said the neighbourhood is in “transition” and has plenty of potential. He said while there is light industrial and commercial nearby, the area is changing as there are other proposed developments in the neighbourhood.

“I really think this is a good location,” he said. “I know there are a few developments coming. The area is really coming around, it just needs a bit more of a push, a few more developments and then it will really take off.”

A public hearing for the proposed development is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at Vancouver Island Conference Centre’s Shaw Auditorium.

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