Zoning changes are scheduled to take place at 45 Government Road in Nelson which could see the unfinished building shift from a commercial property to a mix of commercial and residential units.
The property was initially zoned in 2020 as waterfront mixed use with a specific-site use to allow for a cannabis operation, but the developers changed their minds.
According to a council document the tentative plan for the vacant building is for it to be finished with 70 per cent residential units and 30 per cent commercial.
Gerrard Project Development project manager Mitchell Scott applied to council seeking rezoning to allow for broader flexibility that would allow for commercial and residential use, which he says would be more in line with the city’s Railtown plan.
“We have spent the last year, or so, trying to realize a new purpose for the building,” Scott says. “We have considered a number of different ideas. We found an approach that incorporates commercial and residential more viable.”
Scott says part of the main reason they chose to approach council about rezoning is because of the desperate need for housing space on both a long term and short term basis.
“We have been working closely with the city, BC Housing, in order to incentivize developers to build long term residential housing which has been our focus for the last number of months,” he says.
Scott says he is confident once all the behind-the-scenes work is done there will be long-term housing in place, but couldn’t quite determine what it will look like just yet.
“Whether it is studio, one or two bedroom, I think some it could be supportive housing and market rates,” he says. “We are working on seeing what that will look like now.”
Scott says it could take anywhere from 18 months to two years before the job is complete.
Mayor Janice Morrison said in an email she is looking forward to seeing the project complete because it will highlight the city’s vision for the area while helping reduce the housing crisis.
City council voted to rezone the property allowing with two councillors voting against the proposed amendments.