A conceptual drawing of the housing and art gallery relocation project in downtown Castlegar. Image: City Spaces Consulting

A conceptual drawing of the housing and art gallery relocation project in downtown Castlegar. Image: City Spaces Consulting

City of Castlegar selects developer and affordable housing partner for downtown project

Expression of interest was passed at Feb. 7 council meeting

The City of Castlegar has found an affordable housing partner for the proposed apartment and art gallery development in downtown Castlegar.

The project is slated for the site of the old Eremenko building at the corner of Columbia Avenue and 3rd Street. Columbia Basin Trust provided a grant to the City of Castlegar to obtain the property back in April 2021. The project will include affordable housing — which is not to be confused with low-income or subsidized housing — and the Kootenay Gallery of Art.

On Feb. 7, city council approved an expression of interest from Steel River Group (SRG) and Lu’ma Native Housing Society (LNHS).

SRG is an Aboriginal-owned and operated group of companies based out of Calgary with experience in development and construction. Recent projects include housing developments in Grand Forks, Cranbrook and Osoyoos.

Their design team has experience with the design of museum and art gallery spaces in Banff National Park. City staff said this was an important consideration given the unique nature and needs of the project combining the two objectives of housing and art gallery space.

LNHS is a non-profit housing provider based out of Vancouver with experience managing a variety of mixed-use and mixed-tenancy projects in and around the Lower Mainland.

The selection committee consisted of three city staff members and three members of the Kootenay Gallery of Art.

The conceptual design for the project includes two options to be decided on at a later date. One concept would require coordinating funding and construction of the two building components and yield 48 housing units, while the other would allow construction of each component independently and yield 33 housing units.

RELATED: Next steps for art gallery and housing project in downtown Castlegar

With the passing of the expression of interest, the city can now move into more detailed conversations and negotiations with the project partners. The next step will be to develop and pass a memorandum of understanding at which point the city will be removed from a lot of the planning of the project.

“For a large part, the city has accomplished its goal which was to purchase the building and unlock that space for redevelopment and turning it over to the art gallery and a housing provider to move forward,” explained CAO Chris Barlow.

Barlow says the project is still in the very beginning stages with many details still to be worked out. The project will come before council several more times along the way for things such as development permits and zoning amendments (if needed).

“This [stage] is just about bringing in the third party that will best deliver on the project as originally intended by council,” said Barlow.



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

affordable housingArtcastlegar