Demolition is nearly complete at the old Extra Foods building on Vernon and Hendryx, as crews move towards a summer 2016 completion for the Nelson Commons project.
“Demolition is moving along nicely. The weather is helping of course,” said Nelson Commons project manager Russell Precious, noting the beautiful sunny weather on Tuesday.
“We expect to finish demolition this week, then excavation will be four to six weeks, and as soon as that’s done we go into forming for the foundation work.”
Precious said the busy construction site, piled with assorted detritus, is a welcome sight.
“We had some people concerned for a while this would never get off the ground, so it’s good to see it actually happening.”
Precious encouraged interested buyers to swing through the display kitchen and bathroom the the corner of Hall and Vernon streets, as that helps those struggling with the decision to see their potential new home in three dimensions.
“You have an actual kitchen and a bathroom, you can see the level of finish. The kitchens are all stone counter tops, stainless steel, and the cabinets are made locally here in BC. We put a lot of thought into this.”
He said they’re taking their cue from European cities in attempting to revitalize the core of downtown Nelson.
“If you look at European cities, why they work is people live downtown and that vitalizes the downtown core because everybody’s not going to head out to the outskirts or go uphill right away at the end of the day. Building up is a very efficient way to accomplish that.”
He noted that whereas six to 10 residential homes could have fit in the spot, now it will be host to 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 54 residential units.
“If you head Uphill there’s maybe six or 10 houses on a block. This is an efficient use of space and a very effective way for people to spend less time in their car.”
Precious is particularly proud of the high-tech system whereby all the heat from the store’s refrigeration will be captured and used to heat the store, parkade and their hot water.
“In the long term you save a lot of money, and you save a lot of green house gas emission. Hopefully it’s on the forefront of everybody’s mind because every city in BC has obligations to meet. Our environmental commitment is pretty high, so it was kind of a no-brainer for us.”
Kootenay Co-op has now set up a webcam at nelsoncommons.ca so that interested parties who would like to follow the construction have the chance.
So far 36 of the units at Nelson Commons have sold, while 16 remain for sale and 2 sales are in-progress. If everything goes according to plan, the units will be available in the summer of 2016.
The next stage of construction will involve excavating the space that will ultimately become underground parking and the foundation of the building.