A new 30-storey Hilton hotel with a unique design is being proposed for Front Street.
Stantec, the firm that would build the hotel on behalf of the Hilton chain, has submitted a rezoning application to the City of Nanaimo to allow for the construction of the hotel development at 10 and 28 Front St.
The property at 10 Front St. is an empty lot across from the Globe Hotel where Insight Developments had planned to build its 24-storey Seawalk condominium tower before market conditions stalled the project in 2009.
Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said InSight still retains ownership of the site and would be a partner in the new project, although he didn't provide specific details.
The site at 28 Front St., adjacent to the Pacifica high rise, is in poor condition and a memo from Stantec said the building would be demolished to make way for the new development if the project gets the green light.
Stantec architect Jiang Zhu said heritage elements of downtown Nanaimo would be incorporated into the design of the structure.
He said the development's landscape design would see an "upgraded" Georgia Park and a "multi-purpose" plaza that would integrate with the city's waterfront revitalization and redevelopment program.
"The high-rise development has great visual interest and will form a landmark for downtown," Zhu said.
"Variations on each tower floor [would be] achieved by rotating and twisting each floor, creating balcony shapes that appear to ripple and are inspired by waves and the spirit of the ocean."
Ruttan said having the Hilton Hotel group take an interest in building an upscale hotel "is huge" for Nanaimo.
"Having a 21-storey hotel planned for the conference centre site and now a new 30-storey Hilton on the waterfront helps deal with our worries and concerns that we didn't have enough upscale hotel rooms to service the conference centre," he said.
Stantec will hold an open house on the proposed project on May 13 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, beginning at 4 p.m.