A 149-unit rental development has been approved by Nanaimo council as the community copes with a chronically low rental-vacancy rate.
As in many communities on Vancouver Island and across the country, rental housing is in short supply in Nanaimo.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Nanaimo’s vacancy rate as of October 2021 was 1.6 per cent for apartment-style units.
Council gave unanimous support this week for a development permit application to allow District Developments of Vancouver to go ahead with the second phase of its North Grove project at 6985 Island Highway North: two five-storey buildings.
Jeremy Holm, director of development approvals for Nanaimo, called the building design and finish high quality, saying the project is a “nice addition to rental housing in the community.”
Coun. Tyler Brown said the city’s design panel “overall thought this was a very attractive project.”
The first phase of North Grove has a total of 146 units in three four-storey buildings.
District sought a height variance from 14 metres to 17.7 metres to allow more efficient use of the site, Holm said.
Plans call for 13 studio apartments, 89 one-bedroom units, and 47 two-bedroom apartments.
A total of 164 parking spaces are planned, more than the 147 required by the city, a staff report said. Of those, 78 would be underground. Bicycle parking would be provided as well.
According to Zumper.com, an online rental site, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit in Nanaimo is $1,650, an increase of 32 per cent year-over-year.
Nationally, the average vacancy rate is 3.1 per cent, CMHC said in its February rental market report.
In B.C., only the Abbotsford-Mission area saw supply outpace demand for rental housing, the federal agency said.