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Victoria Commons
#31
(03-11-2015, 10:26 AM)YKF Wrote: It's cheaper to build with wood than with steel/concrete. Wood-frame construction is permitted to achieve 6 storeys in Ontario.

That is correct. further to this conversation the developer/sales rep indicate that the second building is now going to be 6 storeys rather than 4. Apparently sales are going really well and they are taking advantage of that and adding 2 more floors to the second condo building!
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#32
I realize building with wood is cheaper, as a building consultant I am aware of all of its challenges & drawbacks however. As an office we are staying away from mid-rise wood construction until the bugs have been sorted out so to speak. As an owner of one of the townhomes in this development I am surprised that they have increased the height of the second building, that probably explains the lack of work on it compared to the first. I guess this should be a positive in creating more density and hopefully supporting a lively "central park" area with what I am hoping to include decent commercial uses.
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#33
The web site makes reference to "cafés" and "shoppes," but is there really commercial development planned yet? That's great news if they are hoping to increase the height of the second building- I think the density added here is going to be great. Commercial would be great, too, the more the better.
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#34
(03-11-2015, 12:21 PM)MidTowner Wrote: The web site makes reference to "cafés" and "shoppes," but is there really commercial development planned yet? That's great news if they are hoping to increase the height of the second building- I think the density added here is going to be great. Commercial would be great, too, the more the better.

The web site does make reference to such uses and zoning for this land does allow it. I am not aware of any other information at this point. I am assuming these uses will be incorporated into the two 8 story and one 12 story facing onto the central park area. Anyone have any further info?
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#35
(03-11-2015, 11:53 AM)JCnb Wrote: I realize building with wood is cheaper, as a building consultant I am aware of all of its challenges & drawbacks however. As an office we are staying away from mid-rise wood construction until the bugs have been sorted out so to speak. As an owner of one of the townhomes in this development I am surprised that they have increased the height of the second building, that probably explains the lack of work on it compared to the first. I guess this should be a positive in creating more density and hopefully supporting a lively "central park" area with what I am hoping to include decent commercial uses.

apparently phase 1 of the condos was going to be two 4 storey condos and then after that were completed they would consider doing a phase 2 with 2, 6-10 storey buildigns and phase 3 a 12 storey condo. Phase 2 and 3 are still a few years out before they even hit the market so to accumolate the current demand of phase 1 adding another 2 storey's now made more sense for them. Apparently they were able to go deeper with the parking garage and purposely planned for more parking spaces so its almost as if they planned to go higher from the begining by creating extra parking. IMO i think a 4 storey and 6 storey building are great for the site. the more the better!
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#36
(03-11-2015, 12:21 PM)MidTowner Wrote: The web site makes reference to "cafés" and "shoppes," but is there really commercial development planned yet? That's great news if they are hoping to increase the height of the second building- I think the density added here is going to be great. Commercial would be great, too, the more the better.

Do the buildings call for ground floor retail?  That would be a nice surprise.  Maybe make that courtyard lively. 
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#37
They've been tacitly promising ground floor commercial (i.e. convenience and cafes) for some time, even back when we were talking about this on WonderfulWaterloo. It's always been a waiting game to see if it comes true.
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#38
I would imagine that the presence (or absence) of amenities like a restaurant or a coffee shop would be at least part of the decision-making process of a lot of purchasers. Besides a couple of great restaurants (Jimmy's Lunch, Mei King), there are not a lot of amenities in the immediate vicinity- ground-floor retail here could mean the difference of a lively common space and a somewhat-walkable existence.
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#39
(03-12-2015, 10:08 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I would imagine that the presence (or absence) of amenities like a restaurant or a coffee shop would be at least part of the decision-making process of a lot of purchasers. Besides a couple of great restaurants (Jimmy's Lunch, Mei King), there are not a lot of amenities in the immediate vicinity- ground-floor retail here could mean the difference of a lively common space and a somewhat-walkable existence.

A fast-casual restaurant, a coffee/tea shop (with outdoor patio!), a deli, an artisan bakery ... there are many options that can benefit from a core population in Victoria Commons yet draw customers from a wider area.
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#40
I agree with that, tomh009. I suppose they've made the decision that buyers do not need to be certain of amenities in order to make a positive buying decision. That's what seems odd to me: I would think that, for some number of people, the existance (or not) between the types of options might mean the difference between buying here or choosing not to.
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#41
Are there other areas in the Region that offer this kind of living? Unless the commercial is a destination draw from outside the neighbourhood or the project is fully built out, there may not be enough traffic (foot, bike, transit or car) to sustain commercial uses at the moment. The developer (or final property owner) may not be keen to see that space empty. Putting ground floor commercial in the area around the Universities, where there is already a certain amount of foot traffic (not to mention a constantly rotating group of 'new' customers) would make it easier to launch walk-up retail.

Perhaps a first step would be to encourage ground floor spaces in multi-storey buildings that are suitable for either residential or commercial uses (consider how many houses in the downtown cores have been transformed into commercial uses). Once the foot traffic increases, a residential unit could convert to commercial. Live-work units could be a gateway to more established commercial.
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#42
(03-13-2015, 02:12 PM)nms Wrote: Are there other areas in the Region that offer this kind of living?  Unless the commercial is a destination draw from outside the neighbourhood or the project is fully built out, there may not be enough traffic (foot, bike, transit or car) to sustain commercial uses at the moment.

From my experience living in other places in the world, local residents are rarely enough to sustain a business. There are many reasons why:

  • You need a massive number of residents to have enough customers, and
  • Residents need to be walking past you in the first place. If there is a covered garage people will park downstairs and take the elevators straight up, having bought their groceries on the way home, and
  • There has to be a variety of businesses together: if I'm going out to get a capuccino and a gallon of milk, I won't talk to the convenience store downstairs and then drive for the cappuccino: instead I'll drive straight to the plaza where there is a Zehrs and a Starbucks side by side, and
  • People from outside need to walk past the business. Say, if the store is in between the bus stop and another townhouse complex further down the road, you have now effectively doubled the number of customers.
This is why it makes a lot more sense to rezone commercial areas that already have high foot traffic such as University between King and Phillip, or allow increased densities (and thus more residents) in areas that already have foot traffic such as getting rid of the ridiculous three story max restriction on King St in Uptown.
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#43
Some commercial uses might have been a better bet in Victoria Commons if they fronted on St Leger, but since they are going to be in the central plaza, I think the prospects for business are much diminished, even if the plaza turns out to be a very attractive feature.
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#44
(03-13-2015, 02:12 PM)nms Wrote: Are there other areas in the Region that offer this kind of living?

Maybe Belmont Village?
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#45
Here are a couple of shots from tonight of the townhouses and condo building.


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