New Look for Brant Street

By Pepper Parr

November 4th, 2021



They told us there would be intensification.

And there is intensification.

The view is of The Gallery a 23 storey tower under construction on the north east corner of Brant and James Streets.

Is this close enough to the sidewalk for you?

The building comes right to the property lot line.

The four storey podium has been completed. Tower will rise to 23 storeys – the new look for downtown Burlington.

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18 comments to New Look for Brant Street

  • Bruce Leigh

    It is time for all to realize and accept that “affordable housing”, i.e. rental housing does not provide the return on investment achieved with condo developments. Hence developers have no interest in supplying rental properties. The only viable solution is for Provincial and municipal levels of government to build the rental units themselves and like in Toronto have a crown corporation be the landlord and property manager.

    The Provincial governments deep pockets would allow for expropriation of necessary land parcels.

    This approach would needed to be funded through taxpayers of all types. So if you are advocating for affordable housing, be prepared to pay for it.

  • Alfred

    Penny and James.

    An average new single family home in south Burlington is pushing the $2 million dollar mark. From this approx: $400 thousand goes to paying various taxes, application fees, park dedications levies permits. The list is never ending. If there is a shortfall it is because the City and other forms of Government have a severe spending problem.

    Adding $400 thousand to the price of a home for what exactly???

    James congrats. you hit this one out of the park. Truer words have never been spoken.

    Ironically the people who caused all this intensification the environmental wackos, including your Mayor are the ones now complaining of overcrowding. The creation of the Greenbelt has put the squeeze on you and has driven prices skyward as a result of a shortage of building land.


  • Penny Hersh

    James, I agree with some of what you indicate in your comment. However, the city/council is always saying that the application fees, development charges, do not cover the cost of the upgrades the city has to do to accommodate these new developments.

    Some of the other issues are that a development like the Bridgwater which consists of one large and one smaller tower, and the Pearle Spa and Hotel have the entrance and garage on Elizabeth Street. This is a small street and also serves as entry to the parking for the Waterfront Hotel which will also be redeveloped into 2 large condominium buildings with retail space, etc.

    Lakeshore Road is not that wide as well. Presently the ADI development (26 storey) and if approved the Carriage Gate ( 29 storey) that is to be constructed on Lakeshore/Pearl have their entrances and parking exit onto Lakeshore Road. Lakeshore is already a traffic nightmare and these 2 condominiums don’t have anyone living in them as yet. The Carriage Gate condominium will have their moving, and garbage entry on Pearl Street. Pearl Street is a tiny street that already has to deal with large trucks that service the retirement home, and street parking,The garage exit for both the Pearl/Pine retirement home and the 360 Pearl Condominium are on Pearl Street as well.

    Unfortunately, the infrastructure in this area cannot handle the amount of cars, etc. It is not what I call a NIMBY situation. It is more of the fact that residents deserve a quality of life, green space, clean air, and the units in these buildings are so small that there will be a high number of people living in a small area.

    One of the reasons that Burlington did not have the Covid numbers that Brampton, Mississauga, and other areas experienced I feel is a direct result to the fact that we didn’t have huge condominium complexes with a multitude of people sharing the elevators, public spaces etc.

    Yes, there needs to be growth, but controlled growth in the areas that can accommodate them.

    • Stephen White

      Right you are Penny!

      The existing infrastructure cannot handle the amount of cars…or people for that matter. We are shoehorning people into the GTA, and we are creating the same kind of environmental mess that exists in places like California. The tragic events in British Columbia this past week should be a wake up call for the need to hit the reset button on urban development.

      There are thousands of communities across this province that are in economic decline. A renewal strategy that would promote regional decentralization and encourage people to move to smaller communities where they could actually afford a decent sized home instead of a 400 sq. ft. closet would address the issue of housing affordability. It would also improve the quality of urban life in the GTA. And no….I’m not talking about tearing up farmland or bulldozing greenbelts. I’m referring to dozens and dozens of smaller communities across this province that have lost their major employer and where younger people have moved away. When the CBC actually has has a television program called “Still Standing” to highlight this issue you can bet it is real.

      The pandemic and ensuing shutdown has shown that people don’t need to be packed into urban ghettoes “cheek by jowl” in order to live. Digitization permits employees to be connected to their workplace while living hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Shopify in Ottawa is a classic example. Over 60% of their workforce now live outside the province.

      The Ford government needs to get a grip on reality. They need to stop gaslighting the electorate and spouting this silly intensification mantra. It isn’t working, and people aren’t buying it.

  • Steve

    When can we stop using the Orwellian term “intensification” and start using the real term: overcrowding?

  • James

    This development and others like it bring millions of dollars in application fees, development charges and property taxes into the City at a time when we desperately need the money. This development and others like it provide hundreds of jobs to construction workers, planning and engineering firms, and skilled trades. This development and others like it bring thousands of less expensive housing units for those who can’t afford $1.7M+ detached homes. This development and others like it bring thousands of paying customers to the doorstep of downtown businesses without any need to drive a car. This development and others like it are located in the downtown core of the city, where just like every other major city in North America is exactly where the highest and most densely populated buildings should go. So what’s the problem?

    I know everyone cringes when they hear the word “NIMBY”, but isn’t that exactly what the problem is? Isn’t it time to call a spade a spade? Downtown residents who perpetually demonstrate hatred of these high rise buildings need to admit to themselves that their opposition is caused by a perceived negative impact to themselves and their personal vision of what Burlington should stay like forever, and unfortunately our elected officials encourage this misguided behaviour for their own political gain, seemingly standing on the side of the nay-sayers while knowing full well that there is no way to stop the redevelopment of downtown Burlington over time, and knowing that this city needs the significant benefits that these developments provide.

    How many years have the same nay-sayers been against development downtown? And how’s that working out for them? I’m serious, all this time and effort complaining, for what? One after another these high rise buildings keep getting approved. I’m sorry but the personal feelings of a small group of area residents toward redevelopment downtown have nothing to do with good long-term city planning. You can’t freeze time. You can’t stop progress. If they want to remain angry and miserable and keep kicking up a fuss every time a new high rise building gets approved, I don’t suppose there’s much we can do to stop that. It’s just getting tiresome. Maybe it’s time we embrace change and make the most of it. Or maybe for some the GTA just isn’t the right place to call home anymore.

    • perryb

      One problem: with all this talk about providing “affordable housing” we have yet to see any. Instead developers build high margin, high profit residences for wealthy migrants from Toronto and land speculators. As to the idea that the City will benefit from development fees and jobs, that’s like tearing down your house because you can sell the furniture.

      • James

        Maybe the problem is the use of the arbitrary term “affordable housing”. What’s affordable for one person may not be affordable for someone else. High rise units are typically considerably less expensive than detached homes. They are by definition more affordable. Finding homes of any kind for under $400K isn’t realistic in the GTA anymore given high land costs, high construction costs, high development charges, etc. Maybe the reason nobody is satisfied with the level of affordable housing being constructed is because nobody really knows what that term means, and if there is by chance a definition out there somewhere, is it even realistic in the GTA market?

    • Don

      Fair enough, but what is so bad about downtown Oakville?

      • James

        Nothing, downtown Oakville is great. But we can’t compare Oakville to Burlington. Oakville still has hundreds of acres of residential land between Dundas St. and Hwy 407 within which to develop and build new housing. Burlington does not, Burlington is built out. Oakville is not. Burlington is in intensification mode. Oakville is not. In time, downtown Oakville will face the same pressures that downtown Burlington is experiencing today, but Oakville North has provided relief from those pressures for just a little while longer. Oakville is very different than Burlington.

  • perryb

    One only has to look at Appleby Line around Upper Middle to see what happens when you allow buildings right up to the roadside. Pedestrians unwelcome, roads jammed, ugly environment. The only solution for this trend is to close lower Brant street to cars and give back some sense of space to the unfortunate residents. Too bad for people who want to visit/shop/park there, and any merchants.

    • Chris Ariens

      As a resident of that area, the “buildings built right up to the roadside” are not at all the issue. They humanize the place and have a calming effect. I notice the difference when biking past the homes and condo buildings fronting on Appleby.

      It’s the single story strip malls surrounded by a sea of asphalt, with their ugly service entrances facing the street, and the massive scale of the roads, parking lots, gas stations, drive-thrus, not to mention the trash-lined moats surrounding the businesses protecting them from pedestrian incursion. That is the root cause of an “ugly environment”, as well as the roads being jammed because the alternative is unimaginable.

      There’s evidence that people who come to downtown areas by foot or by bike, actually spend more at local shops and services than those who come by car.

      Therefore it is very likely that pedestrianizing lower Brant would be positive for merchants as well as visitors to the city and downtown residents.

  • Steve W

    Why is everyone upset about Burlington finally looking like a modern city?

  • Don Fletcher

    Legal? 100%
    Ethical? No, not even close.
    I can’t wait for a retake of the former groundbreaking photo of all of the exuberant culprits: then city councilors & mayor, Burlington MPP & developer, standing before this out of place & proportion atrocity, once erected.
    Cold comfort for the residents, though.

  • Carol Victor

    So very disappointing…it didn’t seem to matter how much we didn’t want this kind of development, it happened anyway. It is easy to see why so many people have no interest in public meetings or municipal politics. City engagement is only going to continue to decline.

  • Penny Hersh

    When driving along Brant Street today I noticed that this development was going up very quickly. I also noticed how closed in the area looks now and they are only on the 6th floor. The podium that is supposed to mimic storefronts merely closes in the area even more.

    The only justice is that people working in City Hall will finally realize how this type of development affects the surrounding area and its impact on the people who live or work where these large developments are being constructed.