The site of the former Palace (E.W.) Theatre in downtown Courtenay may soon be a place to call home for many people, as plans are in place to proceed with a 39-unit, four-storey mixed-use building.
Brian Moran, Guy Champagne and Allan Landa of Endure Projects Inc. purchased the site in October 2019, after the lot at the corner of 5th Street and England Avenue sat empty for years.
The site was home to the E.W. Bickle Theatre since 1940, but after a fire ripped through the building in 2007, the theatre was closed.
The damage was deemed extensive, and in April 2008 the building was demolished.
Now, the experienced developers are planning to transform the site into a building with commercial space on the ground floor, and three floors of residential affordable housing, with 10 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments on each floor, and a 28-car underground parking lot.
“Initially, we thought about a boutique hotel,” says Moran. “But Guy had a CMHC-RCFI (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corportation – Rental Construction Financing Initiative) contacts … so we decided to tinker with residential/mixed commercial. We looked at it and it made sense given the site and the location, so in December (2019) we decided to make them into rental units.”
Moran adds the project is aimed at improving rental accommodations within the Comox Valley.
On the ground floor, Moran sees space for retail, restaurants or office space, but adds the building will honour some elements of the art deco esthetic of the Palace Theatre.
The colours of the proposed Palace Place building will be reflective of the former building, along with a large art deco-style wall-mounted sign above the residential entry facing England Avenue.
There will be no age restrictions for the rentals, and there will be a number of accessible units.
Champagne explains the building will be created using modular construction, meaning that the individual units will be built by Muchalat Construction in Cumberland, and moved to the site where a crane will stack the units to create four floors.
The building will meet Step Three of the B.C. Energy Step code.
They hope to break ground this year with an occupancy goal set for November 2021.