The City of Castlegar has purchased the old Eremenko building. Photo: Submitted

The City of Castlegar has purchased the old Eremenko building. Photo: Submitted

City of Castlegar purchases downtown building for housing and relocating Kootenay Gallery

The historical old Eremenko building will be revitalized

Submitted by City of Castlegar

The City of Castlegar has purchased the historical old Eremenko building located at 310 Columbia Avenue and 1224 3rd Street downtown to develop housing and support the community’s vision for a vibrant downtown.

The building will also become the home of The Kootenay Gallery of Art.

“This is such an exciting announcement for the community because this location has so much potential,” says Chris Barlow, Chief Administrative Officer. “We are in the very early stages of planning what’s possible at this location but wanted to share the news with the community and keep moving the city’s Downtown Area Plan and Housing Strategy forward.”

“The Kootenay Gallery, has been working on the relocation of the gallery for many years,” says the gallery’s executive director, Val Field. “The board, staff and relocation committee (with huge support from the community) have never wavered from their passion and vision of relocating the gallery to downtown.

“The two-pronged project answers a need for Castlegar and area; revitalization of the downtown core and additional housing. We are very excited to see this project come to life, and thank the City of Castlegar council and staff and Columbia Basin Trust for their tremendous support. A special thank you to the past landowners Basil and Susan McLaren for believing in our vision.”

This purchase supports the city’s 2018 Housing Needs Assessment and current discussions with the community about the Downtown Area Plan and Housing Strategy.

The 2018 Housing Needs Assessment showed a need for more, and diverse, housing. Castlegar’s significant growth is changing our community and the city is committed to making investments like this to ensure our housing supply keeps up with demand and meets the unique needs of seniors, students, vulnerable populations, and families.

The community has been sharing feedback on what it would like to see in the city’s Downtown Area Plan for over a year. The city heard the community wants a vibrant downtown that provides cultural attractions, restaurants, amenities, and a mix of housing choices. The Draft Downtown Area Plan will be ready for community review and feedback this spring.

Columbia Basin Trust provided a grant to the City of Castlegar to obtain this historic space.

“We’re pleased to support the city with the purchase of this downtown building,” says Johnny Strilaeff, CEO and President of Columbia Basin Trust. “We understand there is a lot of planning to do, but we are really looking forward to seeing this space evolve and meet the affordable housing and community needs of residents.”

The city is not planning changes to the building within the next year as it still has a lot of planning to do. Next steps include working with the Kootenay Gallery of Art to design its space and meeting with potential partners to determine the best fit for the development and operation of the housing component.

READ MORE: New life for old building in Castlegar’s downtown