Scott Smith, left, the city’s director of development services, was on hand for a public information meeting Thursday on a proposed redevelopment of 10th Avenue Plaza. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Repurposing plaza in Alberni business district follows market trend

Public hearing for Fairway Market conversion set for March 12

BY MIKE YOUDS

Special to the News

A plan to transform the shuttered Fairway Market into a four-storey retail and apartment complex drew a roomful of curious residents Thursday night.

Marlowe-Yeoman Ltd., which has owned the 10th Avenue Plaza property for 50 years, proposes a 24-unit rental apartment building with four retail/commercial spaces at ground level.

A city amendment of the property’s general commercial zoning is an initial step to enable the redevelopment to proceed. The necessary bylaws have already received second reading by city council and a public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 12, 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

Architect Raymond de Beeld said the plan reflects a North American-wide trend that has shopping centres being repurposed in order to adapt to shifting commercial and retail market demands.

“There’s not a lot of demand for plazas,” he said. “It’s a tough business being in retail.”

Fairway Market closed a year ago. Thursday’s meeting was held in the former premises of Serious Coffee, which closed recently as well. At the same time, there is growing demand for multi-family residential housing as the postwar boomers downsize from single family homes. The proposed one and two-bedroom units would range from 552 to 900 sq. ft.

“We thought it would be good to get the feedback,” said de Beeld, who also designed the Uchucklesaht Cultural Centre and Thunderbird Apartments on Argyle Street at Kingsway Avenue. “People are interested. Seniors are looking for other places to live.”

The project bears “good synergies,” as a catalyst to attract additional seniors’ services to the neighbourhood surrounding 10th Avenue and Redford, said Scott Smith, the city’s director of development services. It’s a neighbourhood that already offers a mix of services within walking distance as well as public transit connections, he noted.

Cameron Olma, who works for the property owners, said they hope to balance an over-supply in the commercial property market with community needs by achieving the highest and best use.

“It has to make sense, economic sense,” Olma said. “That’s the challenge. We want to develop a concept we can take into the future.”

If the rezoning proceeds, the redevelopment project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Just Posted

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alberni care homes benefit from funding to purchase new safety equipment

Echo Village and Fir Park Village will be receiving $32,500 each

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read