The redevelopment of Virginia Park Plaza took another step forward Monday night as St. John’s city council voted to rezone the land in question.
The project — which will see two five-storey condo buildings constructed on the Newfoundland Drive site with commercial and office space available in one of the buildings — had been sent from council to a public meeting last month.
Coun. Dave Lane, who chaired the meeting, said about 15 people attended the session to discuss the redevelopment, which will contain 232 apartment units, most of which are single-occupant units, many of which are expected to cost less than $200,000, said Lane.
“The project rationale from the developer is that they’ll be attractive to the influx of new workers that are coming to the area of Virginia Park, because there’s a long-term facility under construction, the Canadian Forces’ headquarters is being upgraded, and the White Hills industrial park is going to be located (here),” said Lane.
“They expect to have young professionals in these units.”
Lane said neighbourhood residents wanted to know if the buildings would be condominiums or rental units. Lane said the units will be turned over to a property management company.
Bill Mahoney of developer Regal Condominiums said while some buyers might rent their units, the larger demand will be for owner-occupied units, and the property management firm will ensure upkeep and maintenance in any scenario.
“The nice thing about it from my perspective,” said Lane, “is they will have commercial space. It’s a mixed-use building. There was commercial there before, so we’ll see that bring vibrancy back to the community, we hope.”
The amendment to rezone the land received unanimous support from council.
Coun. Danny Breen said the old Virginia Park Plaza “had reached the end of its usefulness” as a commercial operation.
“When it closed, one of the things that was really lost by the community was the services that were provided there: dentist’s office, the convenience store, etc.,” said Breen.
The commercial space will be much appreciated in the neighbourhood, he added.
“The people in the community really missed it when those services moved out of there.”