The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.

The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.

Plan to develop Fraser Valley Inn unveiled

Six-storey mixed-use building would recreate facade of existing structure and add public plaza

A proposal to construct a six-storey apartment building on the current site of the Fraser Valley Inn would preserve the building’s facade and create a public plaza along the eastern entrance to the historic downtown.

The long-time owners of the site submitted an application to develop the site last December, prompting worry from residents of the building’s second-floor Atangard communal living project.

To proceed, the project, which the developers showed to The News last week, must still be approved by council.

A six-storey building on the Fraser Valley Inn site would exceed the current density allowed for the property. To alleviate that obstacle, the owners – Aksa Group – are asking the city to transfer a portion of the density permitted for a second property, on the other side of West Railway Street, that is currently used for parking. Such an agreement would essentially treat the two properties as one when it came to calculating the total number of housing units could be built on the sites.

The deal is described as a “win-win” by the developers, who said they would be open to turning the parking site over to the city, so long as they know there is no future building on the site. The property could then be used both for parking and as a plaza for a farmer’s market, perhaps with a roof that allows both uses, the developers say.

Kamaal Samji, the president of Aksa Group, said constructing a smaller building on the Fraser Valley Inn site is not financially feasible for him and his business partner Nurdin Samji. The Samjis, and their fathers before them, have owned the building since 1989, and say the development would help revitalize the area. They said they won’t proceed with the development in the face of community opposition.

“At the end of the day, it has to be a win-win situation,” Nurdin Samji said. Aksa Group does much of its work overseas now, but the Samjis – who are cousins – say the property holds a special place in their heart.

As for the Atangard residents, Nurdin Samji said the building’s owners would look to sit down with them and assist them in relocating elsewhere, but added that it is too early to proceed on that front because the proposal has not been approved.

The building, as envisioned, would include around 100 apartment units, along with commercial businesses, including higher-end entertainment options on the first floor.

The existing building would be completely removed, but the facade of the Hotel Atangard – the first part of which was constructed in 1927 – would be restored. Apartments would be set back from the Essendene-facing facade in order to emphasize the historic aspect of the development.

The structure would be Canada’s largest “passive building,” minimizing energy use and bearing a green roof, said Wim Arits of Willmen Canada, the Belgium-based construction company teaming with Aksa.

The project would simplify the road arrangement and nearby intersection between Essendene, Montvue Avenue and West Railway Street. Under the plan, Montvue would be connected directly to West Railway, and its northern approach converted into a public plaza. The plan would see the city bear the cost of that, but the Samjis said the alterations were already in the city’s plans for the area.


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The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.

The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.

The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.

The owner of the Fraser Valley Inn hopes to build a six-storey mixed-use developmen at the site, while recreating the facade of the existing building. The plan calls for changes to the road pattern in order to create a public plaza.