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Strategies for development within the study area 

There are currently four properties within the study area which this planning document has some interest in:

     1)  The Jean Burn's site (6 Commercial Street as well as 8 Commercial Street and 525, 555, 557, 565 & 575 Terminal Avenue)

     2)  The A&B Sound site (1 Commercial Street)

     3)  The Johnson's Hardware Store site (33, 39 & 45 Victoria Crescent)

     4)  Shaw Lane parking lot (581, 589 & 595 Terminal Avenue)

With the exception of the Shaw lane parking lot, which used to be part of our last Chinatown, each one of these sites are commonly know by the businesses that once occupied them. Of the four sites the Johnson's Hardware Store site has structures that have a genuine historic value as they are the oldest remaining in situ structures in Nanaimo. The Jean Burn's site and the Shaw Lane parking lot are the both owned by the city, while the A&B Sound site and the Johnson's Hardware Site are privately owned.

For the benefit of the downtown economy all four sites could be developed with ground floor retail and multilevel commercial or residential above. The residential levels have the potential to support small families in a way that is affordable. Retail space on the A&B Sound site and the Jean Burn's site have the potential to expand the downtown market, but that depends a great deal on their ability to develop in a way that complements their individual efforts. Neither site has enough area to attract a market from other parts of the region, but combined as an indoor market area they could create an attractive magnet to our downtown.    

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There would be two strategies that can work for the benefit of development in the study area:

     1)  Unusual methods to assist financing property owners who wish to develop their properties. The owners of the A&B Sound site have

          plans to renovate their existing building so that it can be leased in small pieces to people for various purposes. While this would be
          a welcomed improvement to the existing situation it doesn't fully realize the potential of the site. It is too small and isolated to create
          a draw from the region of Nanaimo and it won't provide a large enough incentive to encourage people to cross the highway from
          the north side of Terminal Avenue. It is good enough for now, but the city needs to encourage a larger project that will compliment
          rather than compete with projects planned for the others sites in the study area. To achieve this end the city might provide financing
          that would allow for the development of an urban market with residences above. This same type of financing might be granted to
          the owners of the Johnson Hardware site where a set of escalators, stairs and an elevator can connect Victoria Crescent to Cavan
          Street and also levels of retail, offices and residences. 

     2)  City owned properties could engage with multiple levels of government, including the Snuneymuxw First Nation, to provide social
          housing and retail space to local owned enterprises. Revenues generated would contribute to Snuneymuxw endeavors or a fund to

          support similar cooperative ventures.

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