June 18th, 2024

Seniors housing coming to historic convent building

By Tim Kalinowski on September 10, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - St. Aloysius Convent on the city's southside is set to transition into a Green Acres Foundation seniors' residence.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Council unanimously approved the rezoning which will allow new affordable seniors’ housing to be established in the historic St. Aloysius Convent building on 18th Street South.
Councillors made the decision following a public hearing on the application during Tuesday’s meeting.
The Green Acres Foundation purchased the property, and had requested city council rezone the convent, which was built in 1912 by the nuns of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, from its current designation as a Public Building into Direct Control which will allow them to construct 23 new seniors’ apartments at the residence.
The building is not listed as a Municipal Historic Resource in Lethbridge, but the Green Acres Foundation confirmed it is dedicated to maintaining the historic facade and character of the exterior of the building with extensive renovations planned mainly for the interior.
Under questioning from Coun. Jeffrey Coffman, city planning staff said they felt Direct Control was the appropriate rezoning to use in this case since the building hasn’t officially been designated as a Municipal Historic Resource. Direct Control would allow the City to uphold the convent’s historic value to the community and prevent detrimental alterations of the site. It would also allow, staff confirmed, some flexibility on parking requirements to make room for an expanded greenspace area on the site.
The seniors’ apartments will be built in two phases with the first phase of 15 units being geared specifically toward low to moderate income seniors who retain their independence. The eventual second phase, (to be built on the second floor when funding becomes available), will be for general rental by any senior.
Council was reassured on the parking question when Foundation CEO Dawna Coslovi said given their experience at existing residences many of their seniors do not own cars, and they have excess parking available at their current sites. She felt the same would be true of the St. Aloysius residence. All parking would be onsite parking, Coslovi confirmed.
Coun. Rob Miyashiro sponsored the motion to approve the rezoning bylaw.
“As we have heard the Green Acres Foundation wants to renovate what was formerly a convent, formerly a daycare, formerly apartments back into affordable and market-value seniors’ housing,” he stated. “They will have appropriate parking. They have got it all scoped out. And I think this would definitely add to our housing inventory in the city for seniors.”

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