Are we about to see a building boom? Will there be construction cranes seen on the skyline instead of just the hydro towers?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 23, 2012  Shovels in the ground, cranes poking up into the skyline.   You see that in Hamilton but in Burlington?  We just might be seeing the beginning of a burst of growth in the commercial construction sector.  In the last ten years there has been very little significant commercial construction in the city.   Most of the construction has been residential but with “build out” approaching Burlington will not see another large housing project for some time.  Eagle Heights in the western part of the city is the next big one coming our way.  There is still some discussion as to what the Evergreen property at Tremaine and Dundas will eventually consist of – currently it is a mixed use development.

The re-development of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital re-development will begin before the end of the year.  City council will get to see site specific drawings that staff will have gone over – so look for a quick rubber stamp on that one.

The 22 storey structure that is due to be built on the waters edge will forever change the look of the city. For the better?

There are signs that the city might see some major construction in the downtown core.  The Seniors residence on Pine Street is well underway and if all goes according to plan work on what is now called Bridgewater  – the three building structure planned for the old Riviera Motel site, which is now closed, may finally get underway.

That site is permitted to have a 22 story building, a seven story hotel and another seven story building.

The owners of the property – Mayrose Tycon, have gone to Committee of Adjustment for a variance, one of which is to add an eighth floor to the hotel structure that will be used for administrative purposes.

The public pathway along the edge of the lake has been in place for a number of years but is still in the hands of the property owners.

The hotel portion of the project is slated to be ready for occupancy during the Pan Am games in 2015.  The plan is to have the Pier finished by that time as well.  The rest of the project will follow – it might be some time before we see the 22 story tower rose over the city.

It will all begin to be real when the wrecking ball slams into the sides of the old Riviera Motel.

A four-star hotel partner has been confirmed; the builder is still being finalized. The Riviera Hotel will be demolished in coordination with the start of construction.

The medical building on the right will go up first followed by the parking garage and then the apartment building. The residents in the Caroline John Streets part of town can expect disruption for some time.

Earlier this week at a Council meeting, committee staff brought back the application for a zoning change to the property bounded by Caroline, John, Elizabeth and Maria.  The locals refer to this one as the Tudor Project.   The development had a conditional zoning change subject to a bunch of provisions and an 18 month deadline to get them completed.  They failed to do so – that meant going back to the city and asking for a bit more time.

The city could have required the developer to go through the whole re-zoning exercise but given that staff would have come forward with the some recommendation and given that there wasn’t any significant objection coming from the community – it went through committee quite quickly.

Prior to the 2010 municipal election Marianne Meed Ward, then a citizen, delegated a number of times on her dissatisfaction with the street-scape and the height on the apartment building – but she wasn’t able to keep that flame burning and didn’t say very much at committee.

This city Council just wants to see development and were prepared to go along with the design and the street-scape.

At the council committee meeting Carriage Gate representative assured the city they were in compliance now and the committee agreed to go along with a new date.  The developer has requested a new lapsing date so the project can proceed. Councillor Meed Ward in her Ward newsletter explained that “the alternative would be to require a new rezoning application. Staff have recommended against that option, suggesting that it wouldn’t change anything – the project hasn’t changed, therefore the staff recommendation for approval would remain the same.”

This developer has had some difficulty in the past meeting the commitments they make – we shouldn’t expect a smooth ride on this one.

Low level, service and residential structures will make way for the Medica One structures. The downtown core is slowly changing.

The developer will start with the structure that will hold medical offices.  They currently own a few buildings in the city that already serves as offices for the medical profession so they have a tenant base they can draw upon.  The parking garage will probably follow and then the 17 storey apartment part of the project will follow.  The developer assured council that all was well – they said the same thing 18 months ago.

This one will bear close watching – the Planning Department has good people in place monitoring what gets done.

Council has also received confidential legal advice on this matter but this Council has yet to learn that just because it comes from the city solicitor, it doesn’t have to be squirreled away on yellow paper.  Our legal counsel has some growing to do in this regard.  The Freedom of Information Act can be used to pry information out of them.

The development picture then looks something like this for the balance of this year and through 2013

Hospital will be underway by the end of the year

The newly named Bridgewater three structure complex will get underway.

Medica One, being developed by the Carriage Gate Group, should get underway as well

And of course the poor pier..

Is that a boom?  By Burlington standards perhaps it is – it is certainly a start.

One interesting development in the Escarpment part of the city is an application to build a 20,000 square foot private residence.  That is a BIG house that will have an indoor pool, a gymnasium and a five car garage.  We understand the house is for the owner of Bond Construction.

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1 comment to Are we about to see a building boom? Will there be construction cranes seen on the skyline instead of just the hydro towers?

  • Nick

    Are there any plans at not only getting construction done around the Dundas 407 GO Carpool loop to become that Alton Inter-Regional Transit Terminal? Or, is it associated with the Dundas BRT project?

    Further, are there also plans to have major development north and west of the 407 to Number One Sideroad or Derry Road? Keep in mind that with any new developments, I am hoping that these developers have transit in mind. If this city is going to have a big construction boom, transit would come first, too.

    I feel that for any new construction projects to occur, they should be in the northwest area…north and west of the 407 towards Brant & Guelph Line.