Today’s Poll

Solid foundation in place for Nelson Commons project to move forward

By Contributor
December 15th, 2013

Within the first two weeks of the start of residential unit sales, Nelson Commons developer (and Kootenay Co-op General Manager) Deirdrie Lang was happy to report that sales have been brisk.

“We’ve had substantial interest ever since we opened the show suite in August and we were tremendously happy and relieved to know that this interest has translated into strong initial sales”. 

Lang and Project Manager Russell Precious anticipate sales to continue this way through the winter months as their sales and outreach efforts expand throughout the region.

“For a lot of people in the Kootenay Boundary area, the Nelson Commons neighborhood is a way to stay active and engaged in community without the burden of maintenance that accompanies larger, single family dwellings”.

The Nelson Commons development, a mixed commercial and residential facility, will include a substantially expanded Kootenay Co-op grocery store as the anchor tenant, as well as green-space and indoor and outdoor parking.

 It is the largest development in the downtown core since the construction of the Kutenai Place in 1992. But size is not the only thing that matters, says Precious.

 “The nature of this development project is a reflection of the Co-op’s values and all those things that make Nelson a special place. For example, we decided to act as our own developers significantly because we believed in keeping any profits local. And we made the project mixed-use with substantial green space because we recognized the importance of having downtown residential space and making cities really livable.”

The contrast between the Nelson Commons development and similar-sized developments does not end there. Behind the scenes, project financing has also had an alternative spin. “As a co-operative enterprise, we follow seven International Principles, one of which is ‘cooperation amongst cooperatives’. For this reason, it felt important for the Nelson Commons project to work with credit unions for primary financing, including Nelson & District Credit Union and VanCity’.”

The Kootenay Co-op’s recent Member Loans campaign is another example of how co-operative enterprises can access important capital for growth and expansion. After campaigning during the month of October to raise funds, the Kootenay Co-op reached—and then exceeded—its goal of raising $1.5 Million.

The final tally was just shy of $1.8 million in member loans for its new store. These member loans provide the Co-op with ‘patient’ capital at preferable rates, contributing significantly to a healthier financial start for the new store.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the most money raised to date in a member-loans campaign for natural food co-operatives in North America!” says Lang.

“Because we have been a community-owned and mission-driven co-op for almost 39 years, we really understand how important it is to see growth as something that must have a triple bottom line…it should be good for the economy, the community and the environment. And it needs to be something we can stand behind. Nelson Commons is all of that.” says Lang.

To learn more about the residential units and options for purchase, visit the Display Suite and Sales Office at 621 Vernon Street, open Wednesday – Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.

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