Welcome Guest! In order to take advantage of all the great features that Waterloo Region Connected has to offer, including participating in the lively discussions below, you're going to have to register. The good news is that it'll take less than a minute and you can get started enjoying Waterloo Region's best online community right away. Click here to get started.


Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sunlife Towers | 22 + 21 fl | Proposed
#31
It looks like four buildings will disappear:
- two walk-up apartments fronting Caroline
- one small house fronting Caroline
- the smaller of the two houses fronting King Street.

I wonder what the rationale of keeping the larger house is. Does it allow a larger height on the two towers by using the air rights above the house?

I also wonder what the story is with the house at the corner of John and Caroline.
Reply
#32
(09-22-2017, 03:54 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: The demand may not pay for the added complexity in construction, policy, insurance liability.

Worse, demand for housing may simply be great enough that one floor of housing has a higher ROI than of shops.

Moreover, even if there wasn't demand, maybe they *should* be forced.  Even if there is little demand, there are great benefits to the community to having mixed use on King St. Demand could be lagging.

Capitalism is not guaranteed to have good outcomes.  We should use it when it makes sense, but not rely on it without evaluating the situation.

I am also curious as to the ownership and management of retail spaces within a condo building.

That's entirely up to the builder. The builder could retain ownership and lease the commercial space, they could sell the commercial space to a holding company that would then lease the space and or they can sell the space directly to the end business user(s), like they sell condos. No matter who ends up owning the space pays condo fees just like all residents do. 

In a rental scenario they can hand the commercial component over to a management company that then owns much of the liability. Alternatively they could register the building as a condo, title all the residential to themselves and sell the commercial as above. There are legal implications here but they are not onerous (BarrelYards being a prominent local example of such a setup).

Basically, if the builder does not want liability for the commercial space (though other than seeing more foot traffic, the commercial space is not governed by different statutes than a residential space so there is little reason that should be a worry), they can sell it to whomever they want. 

That should not be an excuse for lack of commercial here. 

The city should be more concerned with animating the street along the LRT corridor than it should be with parking or setbacks but alas, small town thinking persists on our council.
Reply
#33
Thanks for the explanation. Helps a lot. All that I am saying is that if there is no market demand for mixed use is it right to force a developer to build just because it is a good idea. I'm in the fence on this one. I don't want to see a sea of residential and office without the supporting retail/services. But at the same time if I'm taking the chance that this will be a successful investment should I be required to provide something if there is no demand.
Reply
#34
It will be interesting to see something finally next to the Sunlife tower. I've always thought it looked a bit awkward, being so tall and having nothing else beside it.
Reply
#35
(09-22-2017, 04:33 PM)dubya Wrote: ...
That's entirely up to the builder. The builder could retain ownership and lease the commercial space, they could sell the commercial space to a holding company that would then lease the space and or they can sell the space directly to the end business user(s), like they sell condos. No matter who ends up owning the space pays condo fees just like all residents do. 

In a rental scenario they can hand the commercial component over to a management company that then owns much of the liability. Alternatively they could register the building as a condo, title all the residential to themselves and sell the commercial as above. There are legal implications here but they are not onerous (BarrelYards being a prominent local example of such a setup).

Basically, if the builder does not want liability for the commercial space (though other than seeing more foot traffic, the commercial space is not governed by different statutes than a residential space so there is little reason that should be a worry), they can sell it to whomever they want. 

That should not be an excuse for lack of commercial here. 

The city should be more concerned with animating the street along the LRT corridor than it should be with parking or setbacks but alas, small town thinking persists on our council.

Thanks for the detailed explanation.  I am curious, how do those scenarios work in terms of votes for the condo board.  I wouldn't think a "corporation" could get a vote.  I guess in general, how do votes work in terms of different sizes of units anyway?

As for liability, I kind of assumed that business insurance would be greater than residential insurance, but I really have no idea, having never owned a business.

The city does need to be concerned with animating the street, but there are also pretty high parking requirements.  If I was looking for a condo, I wouldn't want to be paying for a parking space.  But I'm pretty sure I'd have little choice in the matter.
Reply
#36
(09-22-2017, 04:57 PM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(09-22-2017, 04:33 PM)dubya Wrote: ...
That's entirely up to the builder. The builder could retain ownership and lease the commercial space, they could sell the commercial space to a holding company that would then lease the space and or they can sell the space directly to the end business user(s), like they sell condos. No matter who ends up owning the space pays condo fees just like all residents do. 

In a rental scenario they can hand the commercial component over to a management company that then owns much of the liability. Alternatively they could register the building as a condo, title all the residential to themselves and sell the commercial as above. There are legal implications here but they are not onerous (BarrelYards being a prominent local example of such a setup).

Basically, if the builder does not want liability for the commercial space (though other than seeing more foot traffic, the commercial space is not governed by different statutes than a residential space so there is little reason that should be a worry), they can sell it to whomever they want. 

That should not be an excuse for lack of commercial here. 

The city should be more concerned with animating the street along the LRT corridor than it should be with parking or setbacks but alas, small town thinking persists on our council.

Thanks for the detailed explanation.  I am curious, how do those scenarios work in terms of votes for the condo board.  I wouldn't think a "corporation" could get a vote.  I guess in general, how do votes work in terms of different sizes of units anyway?

As for liability, I kind of assumed that business insurance would be greater than residential insurance, but I really have no idea, having never owned a business.

The city does need to be concerned with animating the street, but there are also pretty high parking requirements.  If I was looking for a condo, I wouldn't want to be paying for a parking space.  But I'm pretty sure I'd have little choice in the matter.

In a condominium in Ontario, each unit gets a single vote. Each unit also has responsibility for a specific fractional share of the common expenses, as specified in the declaration of that specific condominium.

Note however that may be possible to knock together multiple units, and as far as I can tell the owner would still be considered to own each of the individual units and would therefore have the appropriate number of votes. In the future they presumably could un-combine the units and sell them off individually.

As to the commercial issue, I definitely agree that commercial would be desireable, but I would rather we stop forbidding stuff before we start requiring more stuff. For example, parking minima absolutely should be abolished, setbacks should be a matter between the property owner and adjacent properties, and there should be no commercial-only zones: it should always be legal to occupy a commercial storefront residentially, or to construct apartments or offices above commercial.

I might be convinced that zoning should require the ground floor units to have a floor height that matches the street and that they should in some sense “face” the street and maybe even that they be constructed to a standard that would allow commercial use. But actually requiring that they be used for commercial purposes is nonsense (although in practice the result would almost certainly be commercial use).
Reply
#37
(09-22-2017, 04:57 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: Thanks for the detailed explanation.  I am curious, how do those scenarios work in terms of votes for the condo board.  I wouldn't think a "corporation" could get a vote.  I guess in general, how do votes work in terms of different sizes of units anyway?

Corporations are (legal) persons too! Smile As IJ says, one vote per unit regardless of the unit size.  The "units" are defined when the condo is registered so possibly all of the ground floor could be a single unit, but it then also means that it must be sold (and bought) as a unit.

(09-22-2017, 04:57 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: If I was looking for a condo, I wouldn't want to be paying for a parking space.  But I'm pretty sure I'd have little choice in the matter.

You could rent it out -- usually there are people looking for an (extra) parking spot.
Reply
#38
(09-22-2017, 07:22 PM)ijmorlan Wrote: [quote pid='42403' dateline='1506117453']
In a condominium in Ontario, each unit gets a single vote. Each unit also has responsibility for a specific fractional share of the common expenses, as specified in the declaration of that specific condominium.

Note however that may be possible to knock together multiple units, and as far as I can tell the owner would still be considered to own each of the individual units and would therefore have the appropriate number of votes. In the future they presumably could un-combine the units and sell them off individually.

As to the commercial issue, I definitely agree that commercial would be desireable, but I would rather we stop forbidding stuff before we start requiring more stuff. For example, parking minima absolutely should be abolished, setbacks should be a matter between the property owner and adjacent properties, and there should be no commercial-only zones: it should always be legal to occupy a commercial storefront residentially, or to construct apartments or offices above commercial.

I might be convinced that zoning should require the ground floor units to have a floor height that matches the street and that they should in some sense “face” the street and maybe even that they be constructed to a standard that would allow commercial use. But actually requiring that they be used for commercial purposes is nonsense (although in practice the result would almost certainly be commercial use).

[/quote]

I disagree with the statement "it should always be legal to occupy a commercial storefront residentially." The way I see it, retail and commercial space add value to a neighbourhood and city in a way residential space does not. Converting ground-floor commercial units on what should be a busy retail street could in a very real way threaten the continues viability of that street.

I generally think that restrictions on development should be eased (parking spot requirements and segregation of uses especially). But I don't think it's illegitimate for the municipal government to require certain things from a development, especially since a site like this is in the busiest part of the city, and its value and the viability of the proposed development has been driven by a lot of public investment.
Reply
#39
(09-25-2017, 06:22 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I disagree with the statement "it should always be legal to occupy a commercial storefront residentially." The way I see it, retail and commercial space add value to a neighbourhood and city in a way residential space does not. Converting ground-floor commercial units on what should be a busy retail street could in a very real way threaten the continues viability of that street.

I generally think that restrictions on development should be eased (parking spot requirements and segregation of uses especially). But I don't think it's illegitimate for the municipal government to require certain things from a development, especially since a site like this is in the busiest part of the city, and its value and the viability of the proposed development has been driven by a lot of public investment.

If a small number of storefronts are occupied residentially, it doesn’t significantly affect the street. If many storefronts are occupied residentially, then the market is telling you that there is more demand for that street to be residential than for it to be commercial.

In the first case, the rule will have little effect other than to reduce the flexibility available to those few owners who would find it useful to be able to use the storefront as a residential property. In the second case, the rule will probably cause derelict storefronts because commercial is no longer demanded in that location. Either way, the rule won’t have the effect you want.

The same observation applies to many situations, such as medical offices opening in houses, up-conversion of houses into small apartments, and the reverse of the original concept, small stores opening in former living rooms.

Zoning should restrict itself to externalities (e.g., no loud businesses in this area, but OK in this other area), safety (e.g., the city will determine where a propane distribution centre may open), and long-term thinking (e.g., protect for a rapid transit route). Every planner needs to remember that the best parts of our cities were built in a pre-zoning time, and act accordingly with humility.
Reply
#40
That's probably good advice for most people, planners included. The conditions that led to a healthy mix of uses in the past, though, might not exist now. Sometimes there are market failures. And externalities include a lot more than just noise- every new development has a plethora of externalities and impacts on its neighbours and the wider city, good and bad. Shadows are an externality, traffic is an externality, the extra use of city services is an externality.

I sympathize a lot with the idea that private property owners should be left to do what they want with their land, but realistically what they do has a lot of impact on others and in the city needs to be subject to restrictions as a result.
Reply
#41
I may be the only one who sees no particular benefit to commercial uses in the proposed towers (more precisely, I'm neutral about it and I don't have a problem with a "Midtown gap" that would clearly separate Downtown and Uptown).  What I do find interesting is that the courtyard facing King St, in front of the house, seems to be open to the public, which is unusual.   Not using the space for a cafe with outdoor tables seems to underutilize an otherwise very attractive space.  Without some sort of public use, I think it will be a bit of a dead zone.
Reply
#42
Are live-work spaces a way to get around the conundrum of having commercial uses where there is otherwise not much demand for ground-floor commercial? Seagram and Barrelyards are two downtown examples that I can think of.
Reply
#43
Sometimes residential use is explictly forbidden, as is the case locally for 83-93 Ontario st and 1 vic, for example. Could be similar here....

PG1, bottom of cpu link
https://www.lrcsde.lrc.gov.on.ca/BFISWeb...nId=220826

PG2, top
https://www.lrcsde.lrc.gov.on.ca/BFISWeb...nId=219127
Reply
#44
The links between the house and the two towers are they going to be glass? I am picturing something like a sky bridge but at ground level?
Reply
#45
(10-11-2017, 04:29 AM)rangersfan Wrote: The links between the house and the two towers are they going to be glass? I am picturing something like a sky bridge but at ground level?

The render shows the links as glass walled with a solid roof.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)