History of City Hall Annex

Nanaimo City Hall Annex building was built in 1938 at 238 Franklin St in Nanaimo, BC. The City Hall had to come down in 2017. A developer bought the land and has now built condos at that site. City Hall had to come down because it did not meet current seismic restrictions for this area. Many of the fir beams used in the original construction were sold or given to Live Edge Design Inc. for use in custom furniture creations.


238 Franklyn Street was constructed in 1937 and operated as a warehouse.  In 1979 it was leased by the City as the City Hall Annex.  In 1999 a consultant was hired to compare 238 Franklyn Street and 250 Albert St. (the old Coastal Communities Credit Union) for acquisition by the City. Of the two, the consultant recommended the Credit Union building, noting seismic problems with the Franklyn Street structure. The consultant’s recommendation was ignored, and in 1999  238 Franklyn Street was purchased by the City for $1.55 million dollars.

In 2007, given the seismic problems noted by the consultant which had been ignored since 1999, City Staff recommended that a seismic evaluation and upgrade be undertaken.  Consultants were retained in 2008 and determined that a satisfactory seismic upgrade would cost between $2.4 and $4.6 million dollars.  It was the consultants’ opinion that the structure would sustain severe damage in the event of a major seismic event.  At the time Staff noted that seismic upgrade would be required only in the event that the use of the building were changed from its use as office space.

Disposition of 238 Franklyn Street (City Hall Annex)

About the Land and Building:

Lot Size & Area
The former City Hall Annex was located at 238 Franklyn Street, in the Old City Neighbourhood of downtown Nanaimo. The land is an irregular shaped lot with frontage on Franklyn Street of approximately 54.3m (178.2ft and frontage on Wallace Street of approximately 48.8m (160.1ft). The total site comprises approximately 2,160m 2  (23,250 sq ft).

Property Analysis
Zoning – DT2, which allows various residential, office and commercial uses;
Former Building Area: 36,000 sq ft over 3 floors
Purchase Price: $1.55 million in 1999

About the Former Building

The building was a former distribution warehouse (formerly Kelly Douglas Foods), which underwent various additions and renovations and was comprised of a three storey office building. The property included approximately 592 m 2  of asphalt paving for 18 vehicles on the north side of the property. The original warehouse structure was constructed as a two storey building in 1937 by Dominion Construction. A single storey addition was added in 1954 to the west side of the building and a third storey was added in 1978. The warehouse was renovated to an office complex between 1978 and 1981. Periodic interior remodelling, minor renovations, and exterior upgrades occurred during the past 30 years.

By Dominic Abassi

May 3, 2017

It appears after years of waiting, this old, vacant building will be torn down and replaced with rental units.

NANAIMO — High-end rental housing is planned to replace Nanaimo's old City Hall Annex, which has sat vacant for more than three years.

Council has approved a development permit for Cracey Holdings to build the residential rental project at the corner of Franklyn and Wallace Streets downtown. Demolition of the 80 year-old building will begin this month, according to Cracey director Darren Moss.

"Our intent is to bring a product that represents what Nanaimo can be downtown and encourages people to live downtown" Moss told NanaimoNewsNOW. "Our belief is the residential rental market has a sector of it that would be willing to pay a little more for the building we want to build."

The building Moss referenced will feature "better than average" amenities and target people looking for a rental they can take pride in. We're building a building for a rental market that doesn't exist yet in Nanaimo."

"I'm really pleased to see this project come forward," coun. Ian Thorpe said. "I think it's a very interesting and innovative design...I really liked the mixed-use component and underground parking."

About 150 City of Nanaimo staff worked out of the old annex building before construction of the $15.7 million Service and Resource Centre on Dunsmuir St. in 2012. Real estate manager Bill Corsan said the annex was found to be seismically unsafe and as a municipal corporation they couldn't sell it as is.

Corsan said because the demolition or repair costs exceeded the value of the land the City chose to sell it for just $1. Covenants placed on the sale lowered the assessed value to $2, meaning the City has not earned property tax revenue since Cracey took possession in 2014. As soon as demolition happens, taxes will be collected moving forward.

Coun. Jerry Hong voiced some concern over the property being used for rentals considering the City basically gave it away.

"I would have liked to have seen some affordable housing but they did put some micro-units in there which are pretty affordable for people that rent so I'm pretty satisfied with the design," Hong said.

Cracey's design proposed three micro-units, one and two bedroom townhouses and larger suites making up 46 residential units.

"I agree, it would have been nice to have seen some low income housing into it, especially since we're about to give them an extra floor, which means extra space, but it's going to go ahead and I think that's great,"  coun. Gord Fuller said.

Moss said demolition will take a couple of months. He said they're currently working through the investor phase and hope to begin construction later this year.

"To me this is a really good news story and it shows that patience pays off...A patient approach to a tricky situation has really paid off,"  coun. Diane Brennan said


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