Sunday, February 19, 2017

My latest undertaking: an affordable housing community in Nanaimo.

 While it may appear I spend all my time on Twitter and Facebook, or pontificating about housing and planning issues on TV and radio, I do continue to work on small, worthwhile real estate projects.
     In addition to a few interesting consulting assignments, I am undertaking Vinson House Cottages, which involves the conservation of a heritage property and creation of 3 infill units, in partnership with Trasolini/Chetner, on a double lot in West Vancouver. One of the homes has sold, and two other homes are now for sale

     I also recently purchased another West Vancouver heritage property, the Rush House, where I am planning a similar conservation/infill project.
    However, last week I concluded the purchase of a 8.63 acre property which offers the potential for a rather different type of development in South Nanaimo, yes Nanaimo.
    So why was I interested in this property?
    In 1970, I studied mobile home parks and manufactured/modular housing on a CMHC travelling scholarship which took me across America with Warren Chalk, one of the founding members and 'catalyst of ideas' for Archigram. For those not familiar, it was a truly avant-garde English architectural group which proposed, among many other things, the concept of plug-in cities
The property offers significant potential for a variety of housing concepts
Immediately to the northwest of the site is a new subdivision. It looks like it's all dressed and ready to go!
     Zoned Mobile Home Park, the Fielding Road property is near Highway 19 and Cedar Road, about 6 km from downtown Nanaimo. While I am not contemplating a traditional mobile home park, the site may be suitable for a pocket-neighbourhood type of development with up to 50+/- affordable cottage-style homes and community amenities. Alternatively, I might explore an alternative development standards subdivision. Nanaimo officials have been quite open-minded and creative in allowing new forms of housing subdivision. Who knows, maybe one day something like this Aurora, Illinois subdivision might be appropriate?
     I also think Nanaimo is an attractive city with considerable potential. It is close to many natural amenities and just a ferry or float plane ride from Vancouver. Moreover, servicing for a new subdivision is now being completed just beyond the property, and a major comprehensive new community, Sandstone, is planned for a property that begins across the road. While there's no doubt it will take many years to complete, it will further enhance the area.
I now look forward to again meeting with municipal officials to discuss how best to proceed with the planning and development of the property. Stay tuned!

No comments: