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83 Elmsdale Dr
#16
Former brownfield site to be redeveloped

City of Kitchener release, August 20, 2015

Quote:The former site of the City of Kitchener’s operation facility at 83 Elmsdale Dr. has officially been sold to NovaCore Communities Corporation in partnership with The Downing Street Group.

NovaCore Communities is an award winning developer, specializing in transforming low value urban brownfield properties into high value residential and commercial developments.  Downing Street is a Toronto based real estate merchant bank and asset manager which provides investment, transaction and asset management services across all classes of real estate.  NovaCore and The Downing Street Group have partnered on three other brownfield transactions that are at different stages of remediation and development, the Elmsdale facility will prove to be another successful collaboration.

...

NovaCore’s vision for the property consists of a mixed use development made up of approximately 100,000 square feet of commercial, office and restaurant uses and multiple residential buildings.  Since the property is a brownfield, their intention is to immediately remove the existing buildings and commence remediating the site.
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#17
Work on the site began this week. Today, a block's worth of the mature trees lining Ottawa St were chopped down. It was terrible to see.
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#18
I wondered if something was going on.  I saw all of the trees cut down and figured something was up.

I'm curious to see if what is built is exactly as proposed a year ago (see first post in this thread)
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#19
I would prefer to see something more creative but I have a feeling we will see what was proposed.
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#20
My biggest issue is the lack of street interaction. If the buildings along Ottawa had active street fronts I'd feel different, but I can all but guarantee they dont.
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#21
(08-21-2015, 07:14 AM)Spokes Wrote: My biggest issue is the lack of street interaction. If the buildings along Ottawa had active street fronts I'd feel different, but I can all but guarantee they dont.

In general, I agree that street interaction is good.  But Ottawa S is a busy four-lane road with high average speeds and few pedestrians.  Would street interaction really gain us much in this particular location?
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#22
(08-21-2015, 08:37 PM)tomh009 Wrote: In general, I agree that street interaction is good.  But Ottawa S is a busy four-lane road with high average speeds and few pedestrians.  Would street interaction really gain us much in this particular location?

This may not be the battle to focus on, but this is a chicken-and-egg scenario. If you want places like this to improve, you have to start somewhere. Otherwise they will continue to be terrible places to experience.
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#23
(08-22-2015, 11:55 AM)mpd618 Wrote:
(08-21-2015, 08:37 PM)tomh009 Wrote: In general, I agree that street interaction is good.  But Ottawa S is a busy four-lane road with high average speeds and few pedestrians.  Would street interaction really gain us much in this particular location?

This may not be the battle to focus on, but this is a chicken-and-egg scenario. If you want places like this to improve, you have to start somewhere. Otherwise they will continue to be terrible places to experience.

It's not realistic to change everything at once, so I do think we should focus on (1) locations where that interaction will make a difference, and (2) where the battles can realistically be won.  This one fails on both counts, so I would be willing to let it go.
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#24
(08-21-2015, 08:37 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(08-21-2015, 07:14 AM)Spokes Wrote: My biggest issue is the lack of street interaction. If the buildings along Ottawa had active street fronts I'd feel different, but I can all but guarantee they dont.

In general, I agree that street interaction is good.  But Ottawa S is a busy four-lane road with high average speeds and few pedestrians.  Would street interaction really gain us much in this particular location?

I get what you're saying.  But if you take that mindset you're saying Ottawa Street as is, is just fine.
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#25
(08-22-2015, 01:55 PM)Spokes Wrote:
(08-21-2015, 08:37 PM)tomh009 Wrote: In general, I agree that street interaction is good.  But Ottawa S is a busy four-lane road with high average speeds and few pedestrians.  Would street interaction really gain us much in this particular location?

I get what you're saying.  But if you take that mindset you're saying Ottawa Street as is, is just fine.

Well, no, it's not great -- but it is what it is, and changing this one project wouldn't make it fine, either.  The street interaction would be pretty useless given the traffic speeds and volumes.

I would rather focus street interaction/enhancement efforts (and intensification efforts in general) on the core downtown areas, rather than throwing darts at scattered suburban areas that are heavily car-focused (and difficult to change).  Downtown now is starting to have critical mass, it will take much longer to reach that in various suburban areas, and especially ones far away from the LRT.
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#26
(08-22-2015, 04:00 PM)tomh009 Wrote: Well, no, it's not great -- but it is what it is, and changing this one project wouldn't make it fine, either.  The street interaction would be pretty useless given the traffic speeds and volumes.

I would rather focus street interaction/enhancement efforts on the core downtown areas, rather than throwing darts at scattered suburban areas that are heavily car-focused (and difficult to change).  Downtown now is starting to have critical mass, it will take much longer to reach that in various suburban areas, and especially ones far away from the LRT.
Why not both?

The point of Official Plans and zoning rules is to help guide large swaths of city building, without needing to apply direct attention to each and every project. Pedestrian non-hostile developments need not be a zero-sum game.

Here's an example from Ottawa, at Merivale and Hunt Club.  The planning department in Ottawa started to push for ubanized form, without making exceptions for the vehicular hellscape of Merivale Rd.  While the new building initially stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the big boxy malls, and small pads surrounded by parking, I've come to see how it's an important first step.  The next urban-ish building will stick out a little less. The one after, even less so.  After that, an urban form will positively fit in.  And each of these baby steps help support future transit uses.
I'm still wondering when Ottawa will get a Hunt Club bus, connecting Kanata, Nepean, and South Keys, and as things like this are built, it helps build the case for such a route.
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#27
(08-24-2015, 09:44 AM)Markster Wrote:
(08-22-2015, 04:00 PM)tomh009 Wrote: Well, no, it's not great -- but it is what it is, and changing this one project wouldn't make it fine, either.  The street interaction would be pretty useless given the traffic speeds and volumes.

I would rather focus street interaction/enhancement efforts on the core downtown areas, rather than throwing darts at scattered suburban areas that are heavily car-focused (and difficult to change).  Downtown now is starting to have critical mass, it will take much longer to reach that in various suburban areas, and especially ones far away from the LRT.
Why not both?

Exactly. It's presenting a false choice to say that we should focus on improving streets in the downtown core, "rather than" outside of them. Just like you say, it's baby steps and some building needs to be the first.

By the way, the Region of Waterloo's traffic counts show less than 17,000 vehicles a day on this part of Ottawa South. That makes it a good candidate for a road diet one day: it needn't stay four lanes forever.
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#28
(08-24-2015, 09:44 AM)Markster Wrote: The point of Official Plans and zoning rules is to help guide large swaths of city building, without needing to apply direct attention to each and every project. Pedestrian non-hostile developments need not be a zero-sum game.

Does the Elmsdale project meet the current zoning rules (which in turn conform to the city's official plan)?  If not, then I agree that the developer should change it and conform to that zoning.

But if it does, then you need to start by lobbying the city to change the zoning rules for areas outside the downtown core.  Developers will not, in general, develop projects to some higher ideals unless those ideals are enforced through zoning.
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#29
(08-24-2015, 11:29 AM)tomh009 Wrote: Does the Elmsdale project meet the current zoning rules (which in turn conform to the city's official plan)?  If not, then I agree that the developer should change it and conform to that zoning.

But if it does, then you need to start by lobbying the city to change the zoning rules for areas outside the downtown core.  Developers will not, in general, develop projects to some higher ideals unless those ideals are enforced through zoning.
If they have their approvals (do they?) then I'm not about to suggest that anyone goes and lays down in front of a bulldozer.

And I absolutely agree with your second paragraph. Of course, once a developer needs a zoning change, all bets are off. Zoning changes are excellent opportunities to open up the Official Plan and ask for better design as a concession. The key is training the planning staff on what to ask for.
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#30
Update on the site's remediation plan.
http://m.therecord.com/news-story/581664...nt-project
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