$500-million multi-tower plan may change city’s southwest
A massive $500-million, 1,300-unit residential development, one of the biggest in city’s history, may alter London’s southwest, said Coun. Anna Hopkins.
The 16 hectares of land surrounding the new Bostwick Community Centre may be home to six residential towers, an office complex, commercial space as well as parks and green space, redefining the area, said the city politician representing the community.
“It is a game changer. I am not sure that we fully realize what we are contemplating here, given the sheer size of the development,” said Hopkins.
“But it is a good thing, vital for our community. We are so used to being rural out there that getting around after this will be very different.”
York Developments want to build the site during a 10-year period and the matter will go to city council Nov. 20, one of the last matters on which this outgoing council will vote before the new council is sworn in.
“We need development there, but this is huge,” said Hopkins.
The development at 3080 Bostwick Road, at Southdale, was up for debate at a recent planning and environment committee meeting and died on a tie vote, 3-3, meaning the matter will go to council without a recommendation.
“I hope between now and council, we can work with staff to come up with a solution we hope council will look at it in a more finite light and we can provide detail,” Ali Soufan, president of York Developments, said after the meeting.
The matter came to committee as three separate proposals, on three parcels of land surrounding the community centre.
“There is a great demand for this type of housing in the city, specific to this area because of the sheer proximity to the new community centre,” said Soufan, also citing nearby commercial amenities on the Wonderland Road corridor.
“It is in a sweet spot.”
The entire site is designated high density, allowing for about 900 units with towers up to 12-storeys, but York wants higher density. Nearby highrises are full, with waiting lists, he said.
City planning staff support high density on the site of about 900 units, but the proposal would see too much built outside the urban transit corridor, said city planning director John Fleming.
To have such a high density plan outside that boundary would work against the city’s plan to grow “inward and upward” and along transit routes, the committee heard.
“This is one of the largest in terms of density, concentration and buildings,” Paul Yeoman, director of development services for the city, said of the Bostwick plan.
The city wants highrise towers closer to transit corridors, as large single-family subdivisions usually cannot locate in those areas, he said.
“We are always looking at how pieces fit together. The city has a vision for growth. High density is a big driver and when it is outside the boundary, it impacts that,” said Yeoman.
The urban transit corridor ends at Wonderland and Southdale, just east of the Bostwick development.
Coun. Jesse Helmer said the area and city needs high density highrises and the city has approved it for other developments such as Sifton’s West5.
“It does seem appropriate. I think housing is the thing we have to take on in London. We want to grow inward and upward, but we want to grow,” said Coun. Michael van Holst, who does not sit on the committee.
But Coun. Stephen Turner, planning chairperson, wanted the matter referred to staff to work out some details with hope it can be improved.
York donated 2.8 hectares of the 4.4 ha on which the Bostwick Community Centre is built, a donation valued at about $2.3 million. The city bought 1.6 ha for about $2 million to build a twin-pad arena.
“It is likely the most comprehensive, dynamic community centre of its kind in the country,” said Soufan.
The Thornicroft drain will run through the development and serve as the centrepiece for a park system. Soufan also has a block on Bostwick Road designated for a school, and will meet with school board officials in 2019 to discuss the possibility of adding a school to the area.
York also owns about 120 ha of land adjacent to the development zoned for medium density that may be targeted for future building, he said.
York’s Bostwick development proposal
- Three-storey office and commercial
- 21-storey tower
- 18-storey tower
- 18-storey tower
- 17-storey tower
- 17-storey tower
- 15-storey tower
Total: 1,300 residential units
Total value: $500 million