The owners of the Fraser Valley Inn have redrawn and scaled back their plans to re-develop the Abbotsford landmark.
The owners of the inn had hoped to build a 100-unit, six-storey “passive” mixed-use building that would create a plaza along Montvue Avenue while rebuilding the facade of the original 92-year-old structure.
Kamaal and Nurdin Samji, doing business as Aksa Group, had hoped to transfer density from a vacant lot across Montvue to allow the proposal to go beyond established limits.
But online records show new applications were submitted to the city in December that would create two smaller mixed-use buildings on the pair of properties.
The Samjis now want to build a four-storey mixed-use building on the Fraser Valley Inn site, and a second similar building on the West Railway Street parcel it once hoped to keep vacant.
The two buildings would have around 80 residential units between them, if approved.
Aksa president Kamaal Samji confirmed the change in plans. He said the previous proposal had met with some resistance from the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association.
The Samjis – and their fathers before them – have owned the inn since 1989 and told The News last summer that the proposal would help further revitalize the area.
The applications were each submitted as the city puts the final touches on a new plan for the historic downtown.
The plan will require the facade of the Fraser Valley Inn and five other historic properties to be preserved during any future development.
It also caps building heights at three storeys for the neighbourhood’s commercial core blocks – including that housing the Fraser Valley Inn.
Because the application was submitted prior to the adoption of the plan, it’s unclear whether city planning staff and council will choose to allow the development to push past the height limit.
In the past, the city has allowed applications submitted prior to the adoption of new rules and plans to proceed under the old guidelines.
But most of those cases involved city-wide land-planning rules, while the historic downtown plan intends to shape the future character of a cherished, but condensed, Abbotsford neighbourhood.