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
Avalon Urban Towns
#1
Avalon Urban Towns
[Image: q41bMAk.png]
1424 and 1430 Highland Rd W, Kitchener
Project: Townhouse community with a total of 108 units

[Image: 15360-49902.jpeg]

Location

[Image: UFTszsL.png]

Site before redevelopment

[Image: 0yos0WH.png]
Reply
#2
Construction hoarding has started going up on site.
Reply
#3
I have an honest question: why do these kinds of townhouse "communities" so rarely include any kind of commercial component? I think that some kind of retail or restaurant would do pretty well on this part of Highland, and 108 units alone would be enough to service some retail uses. What is the barrier (if any) to developers to make these types of things mixed-use? To say nothing of the question of why the municipality doesn't encourage it, especially on a corridor where rapid transit is planned.
Reply
#4
Commercial adds complexity to a project.

Currently, that plot of land is zoned R-9.  This allows the following commercial uses:
  • Convenience Retail;
  • Day Care Facility;
  • Financial Establishment;
  • Office;
  • Personal Services
Where "Convenience Retail" means
Quote:a retail outlet serving the day-to-day, non-comparison shopping needs of a consumer including, for example, a variety store, bake shop, drug store or small food/grocery store, and shall also include a florist, photo depot (no processing on site) and video film outlet, but except for a video film outlet, shall not include any retail outlet having its main product line involving hardwares, housewares, apparel, footwear or fashion accessories.
And this commercial use must be located on the ground floor of an apartment building of at least 20 units, and occupy no more than 20% of the floor area.

To have a restaurant, you would need a rezoning.
To have townhouses with an adjacent commercial service building, you would need a rezoning.
To have smaller townhouse building with commercial uses, you would need a rezoning.
Not to mention, the parking requirements for commercial tend to be steeper than residential, cutting further into the land you have to develop on.

I don't blame any developer for wanting to avoid all that.

It really does come down to, as you say, "the question of why the municipality doesn't encourage it, especially on a corridor where rapid transit is planned."
Currently, zoning rules actively discourage it. Reading between the lines, you can see that residential zoning says "residential ONLY, but okay okay, if your apartment building is large enough, you can have your property management office or a convenience store too"
Reply
#5
(03-12-2015, 07:40 AM)MidTowner Wrote: To say nothing of the question of why the municipality doesn't encourage it, especially on a corridor where rapid transit is planned.

Kitchener has no particular intention of intensifying every iXpress corridor, and I'm not sure they should, either.
Reply
#6
(03-12-2015, 10:21 AM)Markster Wrote: Commercial adds complexity to a project.

Currently, that plot of land is zoned R-9.  This allows the following commercial uses:
  • Convenience Retail;
  • Day Care Facility;
  • Financial Establishment;
  • Office;
  • Personal Services
Where "Convenience Retail" means
Quote:a retail outlet serving the day-to-day, non-comparison shopping needs of a consumer including, for example, a variety store, bake shop, drug store or small food/grocery store, and shall also include a florist, photo depot (no processing on site) and video film outlet, but except for a video film outlet, shall not include any retail outlet having its main product line involving hardwares, housewares, apparel, footwear or fashion accessories.
And this commercial use must be located on the ground floor of an apartment building of at least 20 units, and occupy no more than 20% of the floor area.

To have a restaurant, you would need a rezoning.
To have townhouses with an adjacent commercial service building, you would need a rezoning.
To have smaller townhouse building with commercial uses, you would need a rezoning.
Not to mention, the parking requirements for commercial tend to be steeper than residential, cutting further into the land you have to develop on.

I don't blame any developer for wanting to avoid all that.

It really does come down to, as you say, "the question of why the municipality doesn't encourage it, especially on a corridor where rapid transit is planned."
Currently, zoning rules actively discourage it. Reading between the lines, you can see that residential zoning says "residential ONLY, but okay okay, if your apartment building is large enough, you can have your property management office or a convenience store too"

Thanks very much for the answer, Markster.
Reply
#7
(03-12-2015, 11:35 AM)mpd618 Wrote: Kitchener has no particular intention of intensifying every iXpress corridor, and I'm not sure they should, either.

Why shouldn't they? Surely mixed-use along rapid transit corridors is desirable, and a certain amount of intensification, to help drive transit ridership.
Reply
#8
(03-12-2015, 12:13 PM)MidTowner Wrote:
(03-12-2015, 11:35 AM)mpd618 Wrote: Kitchener has no particular intention of intensifying every iXpress corridor, and I'm not sure they should, either.

Why shouldn't they? Surely mixed-use along rapid transit corridors is desirable, and a certain amount of intensification, to help drive transit ridership.

A few points, in no particular order:

1) In my opinion, iXpress routes are not rapid transit, regardless of branding. They're bus routes with limited stops, but they don't have dedicated rights of way, transit priority measures, or most importantly the frequency that's needed for rapid transit.
2) I don't think mixed-use or a lot of intensification along every major corridor is necessarily desirable. Spreading growth throughout the region also supports increases in car traffic more so than directing growth to the central corridor and the downtowns, and keeping it relatively limited elsewhere. 
3) Transit ridership should not be a goal in itself.
Reply
#9
(03-12-2015, 07:40 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I think that some kind of retail or restaurant would do pretty well on this part of Highland,

I don't think so. Houses face the other way in this part of Highland. There aren't even sidewalks in that stretch of the road and density is pretty low, even with the townhouses there.

I agree with the general sentiment, but not for this specific case.
Reply
#10
BuildingScout, I take your point that this is certainly not a stretch of road that's friendly to anyone not in a car. But density is going to increase with developments like this, and the road is probably going to change sooner than later, so I think there's a possibility, when areas like this are developed, of saying that we want it to function a certain way. Just to the west of this development are townhomes that front Highland, so sidewalks are in order shortly. And an ixpress stop is nearby on Ira Needles. I'm not saying that places like this are ever going to achieve real density, but I think it's possible to shoot for less than 100% car dependance.

(03-13-2015, 01:10 AM)mpd618 Wrote: A few points, in no particular order:

1) In my opinion, iXpress routes are not rapid transit, regardless of branding. They're bus routes with limited stops, but they don't have dedicated rights of way, transit priority measures, or most importantly the frequency that's needed for rapid transit.

I suppose "rapid" transit is relative. But frequency isn't possible without ridership.

(03-13-2015, 01:10 AM)mpd618 Wrote: 2) I don't think mixed-use or a lot of intensification along every major corridor is necessarily desirable. Spreading growth throughout the region also supports increases in car traffic more so than directing growth to the central corridor and the downtowns, and keeping it relatively limited elsewhere. 

I agree that growth sprawling in all directions isn't what we want, but we're not talking about whether this development and others in the area should happen. They will happen, and if we go ahead with them as we have in the past, they will be highly car dependant. If you're telling me that this shouldn't be approved, and the residents should be accommodated in infill in the central corridor (which I know you're not), that would be unlikely but maybe a good idea. Since Highland road and others like it will be developed, maybe we could make it amenable to something less than total car dependance. I still do get BuildingScout's point that this is less likely here than elsewhere.

(03-13-2015, 01:10 AM)mpd618 Wrote: 3) Transit ridership should not be a goal in itself.

Mobility should be, and (relatively) sustainable development. Part of that is facilitating other methods of transportation besides driving. I think it is the goal of the Region to promote transit-oriented development near rapid (or express bus) transit. But you might be right that transit ridership should not be the goal. Allowing people to get out of their cars once in a while should be one, I think.
Reply
#11
Until there is a switch in general travel patterns, it is going to be difficult for any kind of convenience commercial to survive without some degree of parking.  Given this location, how much foot traffic might this location expect even with a sidewalk and transit stop?  It wouldn't be impossible, but it would be very difficult unless the business owner had either deep pockets or virtually guaranteed clientele (say a daycare, or a medical office).  Trying to fit any customer parking requirements onto a property like this would be difficult.

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.
Reply
#12
Ha, this one is getting an Urban Toronto real-estate shill job feature.

Apparently...
Quote:Grocery shopping is a half-block walk away as are other convenience options.
They clearly didn't look at the scale of the map when coming up with that gem.

They've got a bunch of renders of the project. It looks like a standard modern stacked townhome. Nine units long, parking along the front.
Reply
#13
(03-23-2015, 02:33 PM)Markster Wrote: They clearly didn't look at the scale of the map when coming up with that gem.

It's definitely not a "half-block" but to be fair it's still pretty close to the Sobeys.
Reply
#14
Depends how they define "half block" Wink
Reply
#15
I found it comical, because they are talking to a Toronto audience that is going to have a very concrete concept of how far 'half a block' is, which is like 150m. The Sobeys is, generously, 500m.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)