If a zoning change request is approved, Nanaimo could examine the first sign of a long-awaited redevelopment of the former Howard Johnson Harborside Hotel site and surrounding properties.
Oakwood Park Estates submitted an application on July 28 for the zoning of properties from a medium density residential area to a new comprehensive development area to create a mixed-use residential, commercial and hotel development, according to files from the city.
The Howard Johnson Hotel closed in 2018 and the site has already been the subject of redevelopment proposals, including a conference center and multiplex sports complex.
The Millstone River project proposed in application documents prepared by Victoria-based D’Ambrosio Architecture and Urbanism will encompass 2.9 hectares containing five properties and include a 120-room hotel with a restaurant and conference facilities, 698 residential units, 6,000 square feet of commercial space and retail space and a park.
The new housing will “complement the Mill Street neighborhood” and link it to Comox Road and Wallace Street, the proposal notes.
The hotel would consist of a single 16-story tower, intended to be a “front door landmark” at the intersection of Terminal Avenue and Comox Street. Most of the other project buildings in the proposal will be mid-rise five- and six-story structures, including townhouses, and of a comparable density to buildings already located on Mill and Prideaux streets, according to the report. demand.
Rezoning is the first step in a process that could take several months or more and would require approval from city staff, council and public engagement.
“Typically, we’re looking at around eight to 12 months for a rezoning approval of this scale. It’s a pretty big scale and a big site, ”said Lainya Rowett, city director of current planning.
The process, she said, normally includes a staff review and consultation with other city departments and external bodies such as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for feedback and input.
“Through this referral process, we might need additional information from the requester, so you can certainly understand that there may be some back and forth to resolve the proposed zoning for the site and use and the proposed density and just understand the feasibility of the proposed use and density, ”Rowett said.
She described the site as a gateway to the city center that has captured the interest of the community for a number of years.
“It’s exciting to see this kind of project and, not only this kind of project, but this kind of interest in the heart of our city and practically at the gates of our waterfront,” she said.