By Kerry Benjoe, LEADER-POST NOVEMBER 4, 2015
One project promises to make big changes in downtown Regina.
On Tuesday, the Namerind Housing Corp. unveiled artist renderings for the newly named Namerind Place to be located at 1800 Lorne Street.
“We are looking at 170 units of affordable housing in two towers,” said Namerind president and CEO Robert Byers. “We are looking at daycare. We are looking at a grocery store and about 500 spots for parking.”
He expects to break ground on the first phase project in the next couple of weeks.
The building located at 1840 Lorne St. is to be demolished to make way for a parking lot. Work on the mixed-use building is to begin in the next two years.
“We are working on the final drawings and the business plan and then from there it is about a 24- to 30-month build,” said Byers.
The towers are to comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
For the past decade, the housing corporation has worked to reinvent itself after government subsidized programs dried up.
“It’s a big step for us,” said Byers. “We have never done anything like this and we’re very excited about it. We’ve taken on many challenges over the past 10 years.”
Byers said the grocery store will be allocated 4,500 square feet and the daycare will accommodate up to 70 children.
The focus is to become sustainable while still providing affordable housing to those in need.
Byers said Namerind continues to evolve and Namerind Place is just the start.
“I think we will continue to offer affordable housing and work with as many community-based organizations, ” he said. “I believe it’s an industry and we have to work together and share in the successes.”
Byers believes that multi-unit building is the future of affordable housing because apartment buildings are more efficient and cost effective.
Mayor Michael Fougere commended Namerind on its efforts to create more affordable housing units especially in downtown Regina.
“It is so symbolic of the work they are doing in our community,” he said. “They are always building and they are always growing and expanding. It’s a great day for their board of governors.”
He said Namerind is helping those and helping revive downtown Regina.
“It is affordable housing for aboriginal people and it’s below-market (rates) and that’s very important to have that done and they have been doing that for a number of years,” said Fougere.
“It will be unique for our city because we were looking for a grocery store downtown,” added Fougere. “We’re looking for more housing and for people to live downtown. That’s a priority for council and obviously that’s a priority for Namerind as well. So that in itself is different because we don’t see 170 units being built that way downtown, typically it (happens) in suburbs or (other) parts of the city. So this good news for us all.”
Also on Tuesday, Namerind hosted the grand opening of its new head office located at 1130 Winnipeg St.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post