A proposal to redevelop the Fairfield United Church property at 1303 Fairfield Road is making its way through the community consultation process.
Victoria-based JN Development Group (JNDG) acquired the parcel earlier this year with the goal of redeveloping the land into rental apartments and ground floor commercial space – a portion of which will be designated for use by Fairfield United.
Reverend Beth Walker, one of two pastors based at the church, says the time had come for the congregation to divest itself of the 90-year-old asset.
“This church was built like a big house and not like a cathedral, and it just hasn’t held up as well as a smaller building would have or one built with different construction materials and techniques. It’s not seismically safe, and quite honestly the majority of the space remains unused at this time. So as you can imagine any restoration work would have been very expensive to undertake,” Walker said.
JNDG’s Nicole Roberts says she is “committed to providing the church with 2,500 square feet of space” as part of the building’s commercial component, adding that she looks forward to the “sanctuary space” that will continue serving the community in the absence of a traditional house of worship.
A statement on Fairfield United’s website says representatives will “consult with [their] neighbourhood about how [the church group] can offer its strengths to meet the neighbourhood’s needs and wants,” with the result of the consultation process fuelling “a reintegrated strategic plan which will be lived out by Fairfield United using space in the new building.”
Although project massing and height details have yet to be worked out, Roberts says the rental apartments – numbering some 20-units – will range between one and two-bedroom layouts while the remaining commercial space is earmarked for a coffee shop.
“I have [heard from] a couple of really good local café operators that are seriously interested in the space,” Roberts said.
Provided municipal approvals are in place by mid-to-late 2017, construction could be underway by the end of 2017 or by early 2018. Project completion would likely occur by mid-2019. C
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