Ian Niamath

Ian Niamath

Seaside Nanaimo restaurant will rebuild and return

NANAIMO – Amrikko's By the Sea planning to re-open at Departure Bay location.

A popular restaurant will be returning to Departure Bay.

Development plans have been submitted to the City of Nanaimo that would see the construction of two-storey mixed-use building at the corner of the Departure Bay Road and Wingrove Street with Amrikko’s By the Sea as the anchor commercial tenant.

The proposed 904-square-metre building will feature four residential units on the top floor and space for four commercial units including Amrikko’s.

The Indian restaurant was forced to close down after a fire damaged large portions of the building back in 2013. The existing building on the property will be demolished to make way for the new building.

Savita Tugnait, owner of the building and Amrikko’s By the Sea, said the project is worth around $1.5 million and is exciting to be returning to the area.

“We love Departure Bay and we love Departure Bay beach and we can’t wait to be back,” she said.

Tugnait said the project has taken a long time because she explored the possibility of having the existing building renovated, but opted for a new building after engineering reports recommended it.

The building’s other commercial tenants include Ian Niamath Architects and the Sand Dollar Café.

Niamath, architect for the project, said the design of the new building is intended to create a sense of openness and re-energize the beachfront area.

“What we are trying to do is make a building that is full of vitality and fun for the neighbourhood,” he said. “Departure Bay is a community gathering place and we wanted to have a building that had some form of animation and interest to act as a sort of focus for the neighbourhood.”

One of the key features of the new building is the street-front open-concept patio for Amrikko’s. Previously, the restaurant’s patio was enclosed and farther back from the sidewalk.

“We want the building and the site to be much more open and welcoming and friendly for the public,” Niamath said. “So that is why we went to great pains to develop the new patio, which is a very welcoming patio.”

Although the project is still awaiting final approval, Tugnait said she is hoping for construction to begin later this year and be open for business sometime in early 2017.

“It all depends on the permits,” she said. “As soon as we get the permits then we have an eight-month plan to get the building ready.”