Vancouver-based developers have purchased the former Alberni District Secondary School site on Burde Street and plan to develop multi-use housing on the lot.
Port Alberni realtor Darren DeLuca said the 22.8 acre property, owned by School District 70, was sold in March for $1.8 million. The site has been vacant since the high school moved locations to Roger Street in 2010.
The purchasers, who DeLuca couldn’t name, have ties to the Alberni Valley and have developed here in the past.
“I’m going to let them tell their own story, which will happen fairly soon because they have to go into the Official Community Plan (OCP),” DeLuca said. “[The property] is currently zoned institutional. [Developers] want to do some multi-family units and they’re well aware of the interest in seniors’ housing so that will require rezoning.”
The developers’ plans call for single-family, multi-family and seniors homes.
DeLuca said they hope to have the rezoning —which will be a public process—done before Christmas and have some of the properties on the market as early as 2018.
“It will be a phased development. They have 22.8 acres so I think they’ll start doing chunks at a time,” DeLuca said. “I think it will happen over two to five years.”
He added that the developers are conscious of 17th Avenue residents’ views of the Inlet and they don’t plan on adding any “skyscrapers” on the upper lots.
“For people who live in this neighborhood, I think [development] is going to up the value of their property because everything is going to get better,” he said. “One of the big benefits will be increasing the tax base by $100 million.”
DeLuca said with people moving to Port Alberni from more expensive real estate markets, he believes the homes will have no problem with occupancy.
“There are people moving here all the time from more expensive markets and so for us to maintain affordable housing we need to build more houses,” he said.