Developer seeks higher density for apartments at old downtown Safeway site

Higher density and fewer parking spaces form the basis of a rezoning application

The developer planning the long-awaited redevelopment of the old Safeway site downtown is now seeking higher density with fewer parking spots.

Three years ago, city council rezoned the Mary Street portion of the long-vacant site to R6, to create high-density, multi-family residential development with high-rise apartment complexes.

Under R6 the developer would be allowed to build 185 dwelling units per hectare, or 118 units on this site.

Council took a proactive approach to the rezoning back in 2015, rather than waiting for an applicant-driven idea, because the site was considered a “potential catalyst” for redevelopment in the area. It was seen as a chance to guide development toward the creation of a walkable mix of commercial/residential development at a critical location that covers an entire city block.

The applicant, OTG Development Concepts, acting on behalf of Mann Group, is now aiming to rezone half the site from R6 to CD-20 (comprehensive development), which would allow for 160 units in Phase 1, which is even higher density than first envisioned.

A CD zone also allows for “greater flexibility” with respect to off-street parking requirements.

The R6 zone requires developers to include 1.5 parking spaces per unit, whereas the CD-20 allows some room for negotiation.

Council approved first and second reading of the rezoning bylaw at city hall last week, and a public hearing is set for Aug. 7.

The intent for Phase 2 is to develop the remaining portion of 9299 Main Street, which is within the CD-15 Zone, as a mixed-use commercial and residential development and to share access and parking.

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