A rendering of a proposed mixed-use development at 525 Third Street. (D-Architecture image)

A rendering of a proposed mixed-use development at 525 Third Street. (D-Architecture image)

Mixed-use student housing development planned for Nanaimo’s university district

Construction on multi-phased project expected to begin in early 2018

A commercial-residential development that includes dedicated student housing and 66 multi-family rental units is one step closer to becoming a reality in Nanaimo.

At a meeting Dec. 4, Nanaimo city councillors approved a development permit application calling for the construction of three mixed-use buildings, a student housing building and multiple townhouse buildings at 525 Third Street.

According to plans submitted to the city by D-Architecture on behalf of Hai Yang Estate Developments Limited, the development would be built on an 18,531-square-metre site situated along Third Street between Wakesiah and Howard avenues.

The three mixed-use buildings would each feature 22 multi-family residential units that are available in one- and two-bedroom units. There would also be 805 square metres of commercial space in each building.

Hai Yang Estate Developments also plan to construct a four-storey building dedicated entirely for student housing that would include 206 beds within 96 units. Five townhouse buildings, two three-storey buildings facing Hillcrest Avenue and three two-storey buildings facing Watfield Avenue are also planned.

The site’s proposed location required rezoning, which was approved earlier this year. As part of the rezoning agreement, Hai Yang was required to provide a community contribution of $221,000. The money would be used to pay for road re-profiling, green design features and site amenities such as public space, according to the development application.

Although the development permit was approved, some councillors expressed about the community contribution aspect of the development.

Coun. Jerry Hong, who is on the city’s design advisory panel, told the News Bulletin that the community contribution information isn’t discussed or even provided during design advisory panel committee meetings because those meetings focus on form and character. Hong said staff informed him that changes can still be made as to how the community money is spent, adding that he wanted to see the community contributions from the developer be used toward improving public parks and building sidewalks, not improving public space on its own development.

“Usually when we take that money for community contribution, it goes towards something like a park or a community space around the park for improvements,” he said. “This is where I would like to see some of this money going towards things like installing more sidewalks along an elementary school, but to put the money into their own personal development or public space seem strange.”

Hong said he was pleased with how well D-Architecture and Hai Yang Estate Developments worked with the neighbours and the city to find a solution that satisfied the surrounding neighbourhood because there was a lot of “negative” feedback from the public when the development was first proposed.

“They listened to the concerns of the residents and the neighbours,” he said. “That’s a really good sign of being a good developer. So, we were very happy with it. As much as I would like more density, it is a neighbourhood setting.”

Daryoush Firouzli, principal architect for D-Architecture, said the entire project is worth $38 million and will benefit the neighbourhood.

“It’s an improvement to the area,” he said. “We are doing lots of upgrading of offsite services. We are bringing lots of infrastructure, including a water main from Wakesiah Avenue.”

Just getting to this point in the process has taken longer than normal, according to Firouzli, who said the first rezoning application was previously denied because there was concerns by nearby residents. He said those concerns have been addressed and parts of the project have been scaled back, including reducing the number of student housing units and removing lofts.

“It’s been a long time .. but in the end the neighbours were happy,” he said.

Firouzli said the project will be constructed in a series of phases, some of which will take place consecutively, and that construction is expected to begin sometime early next year.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook or follow Nicholas Pescod on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo Airport. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Airport coping with low passenger counts, uncertain recovery

Airport CEO Dave Devana says it will take years to return to pre-pandemic passenger levels

Sophia Seward-Good and Aunalee Boyd-Good of Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design are showcasing their latest collection Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. (Photo courtesy Helena Lines)
Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum makes Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto debut

Clothing design company showing new collection, Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Shawn Miller. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP ask for help finding man missing since last week

Shawn Miller, 52, hasn’t been seen since Friday following days of erratic behaviour, say police

Beef to Halloween, a celebration of death, weapons, blood and murder. Halloween is a mockery of death and our beloved deceased. Why do we celebrate it?
Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 25

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

The City of Nanaimo is working on the 2021-25 financial plan, with a series of special finance and audit meetings this week and next week. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo begins budgeting with 3.3% tax increase as a starting point

Special finance and audit meeting being held today, Nov. 25

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

A Nanaimo driver was sentenced Monday for fatally striking a high school student with his vehicle in 2019. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo driver sentenced after motor vehicle incident that killed teen last year

Brandon Geoffrey Murdoch fined and prohibited from driving for two years

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read