Ladies and gents, we have a winner! Debbie MacGregor has won a dinner for four at the All Seasons Cafe–and a movie after at the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. Dinner and a movie for four, on us. ‘part of our “Meet the Neighbours” contest. Here Debbie and project manager Russell Precious perform a “grip and grin” for the camera. Congratulations to you Debbie. Enjoy.
Nelson Commons emerged as an effort to optimize a unique piece of property in the heart of downtown Nelson. Initially, the Kootenay Co-op health-food store was preparing to refurbish the old Extra Foods store on the site but was soon exploring more creative options. The 2012 Nelson City ‘Downtown & Waterfront Plan’ had called for mixed use developments downtown and had specifically identified our site as an obvious location for redevelopment.
Of course, re-inhabiting downtown cores has been an accelerating trend for nearly two decades now in North America. Residential developments, strategically located above retail stores, have slowly brought life to areas that had previously gone dark after 5PM. Someone must have realized that one of the reasons European towns were more liveable than ours was because they were inhabited 24 hours a day. Some have seen this as a long overdue correction to the ‘suburbia’ wave that swept across North America after World War II. James Kuntsler in the ‘Geography of Nowhere’ is quite blunt in referring to suburbia as “the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the planet”.
Mixed use developments not only provide for convenience in a society giving up its love affair with the automobile and endless trips to the mall, but they make for a much more effective use of land—what is now referred to as ‘eco-density’.
With our Nelson Commons project, there will be 30,000 sq ft of commercial space and 54 condominium units in the same area that 10 homes would occupy up the hill in Nelson. And, of course, this sharing of expensive downtown land is what makes the units themselves affordable.
It was summed up this past fall in an article in the Globe and Mail: “Across Vancouver, mixed-use-development—especially ones with specialty food markets or full-service grocery stores on the ground level—are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain. Condo purchasers want a new kind of lifestyle—one of convenience. As living space shifts downtown, municipalities are shedding old zoning models in which homes are placed in one spot, retail in another, industry in yet another. In Toronto the movement is ramping up. In Vancouver, where space is at a premium, it’s rampant.”