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Snark
Sep 9, 2006, 5:00 AM
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Snark
Sep 9, 2006, 5:01 AM
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ldoto
Sep 9, 2006, 5:24 AM
Joe Fontana running for city's mayor!

Maybe Fontana can unleash the incredible capacity the city has.
It would be nice to see more leadership from city hall! :rolleyes:

FazDeH
Sep 10, 2006, 4:24 PM
Snark* I agree with the idea that one developer should not be able to monopolize the market. However I would rather see a bylaw like the building codes in Vancouver where they can only build a structure 25% taller than the tallest exsisting building in city. I think that would be an effective way to not limit the style of design and also to increase the hieght of the buildings downtown, all be it gradually.
what are other peoples thoughts on that subject?

Snark
Sep 10, 2006, 11:28 PM
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FazDeH
Sep 11, 2006, 3:26 AM
20% seems fair, considering the stats you're right. I don't know much about Joe Fontanas politics, you said something about mega projects? Sounds interesting! Hope your right!

ldoto
Sep 12, 2006, 3:48 PM
Downtown twin towers one step closer

Tue, September 12, 2006



A proposed 600-unit, $100-million twin tower apartment project in London's core is a "lottery ticket" city council can't refuse.

But it also could carry a price of more than $3 million for taxpayers if the city wants it to include a five-storey, 327-stall public parking garage.

Last night, council's planning committee gave the green light to the Tricar Developments project that will bring about 1,000 residents to Ridout and King streets across from the John Labatt Centre.

That recommendation goes to full council Monday.

"It seems to me the city has a winning lottery ticket in its hands," said Ian Grisley, owner of Bloomers at Covent Garden Market, across the street near the site.

"We desperately need neighbours downtown and I firmly believe this will be the start of something very big."

Plans for the twin towers were unveiled, including drawings showing a public parking garage linking the towers with an acre of rooftop parkland for residents.

Each tower will include five storeys of parking for residents.

Tricar president Joe Carapella said the project will go ahead even if the city chooses not to fund the parking garage to the tune of $10,000 a stall. Instead of a parking garage, that part of the project would include commercial space, he said.

But Carapella said he wants a decision soon to get shovels in the ground next month. The first tower would be completed in two years.

"It's an awfully big commitment on my part, so it's good to see support as strong as it is," Carapella said. "This is by far the most exciting project I've ever undertaken."

Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell, who chaired a downtown parking working group that recommended providing grants to private developers, said council will have to make a decision soon on the parking.

"Obviously, it would be cheaper for us to be part of a joint venture rather than try and build a parking garage on our own," Gosnell said.

Several business groups turned out to lend support to the project.

"The city has generously invested about $100 million in the downtown (for the JLC, Covent Garden Market and Central Library)," said Coun. Roger Caranci, who chairs the committee. "Now here's a developer who has stepped up to match the city's investment, dollar for dollar."

Carapella said the city projects made a difference.

"Six years ago, nobody in their right mind would have considered building a project like this in that location, but with all those assets, it's now feasible," he said.

Snark
Sep 13, 2006, 12:50 AM
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ldoto
Sep 13, 2006, 3:51 PM
Parking woes hurting core

Wed, September 13, 2006

Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell says more spots are needed near offices.

By NORMAN DE BONO, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER



The city must rethink its downtown parking strategy or risk losing core businesses, Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said yesterday.

The city needs to built parking garages for about 1,000 vehicles and strike a partnership with the private sector to help pay for them in order to woo and retain office development in the area, he said.

"The city has to get in the game," said Gosnell, who chairs the city's parking committee. "If we do not do this, there will be a dearth of office space and we will see offices built by Highway 401."

The city has a policy of building office space downtown. The time is approaching, however, when the city may be approached by a business saying it will locate out of the core for parking reasons -- or not come here at all.

"We do not need much, 1,000 spaces would put a big dent in the problem," Gosnell said.

But a city study looking at that issue recommends against building garages, saying they are costly and unnecessary, said Coun. Joni Baechler.

"It will cost taxpayers $500,000 a year in carrying charges and it found there is adequate parking downtown."

If a business wants to locate downtown, it can provide parking. Taxpayers have pumped more than $100 million into the core, she said.

"Experts have told us to not do this. It does not make sense. When do taxpayers stop footing the bill?"

London's largest downtown landlord and property owner, Shmuel Farhi, agrees more parking is needed closer to commercial developments.

"There is a real problem attracting people downtown. If offices move out of downtown, it will be the kiss of death for this city," Farhi said.

While monthly spaces are available, what is needed is a longer-term solution and spaces close to office buildings, Gosnell said.

"No business will come downtown, pay $20 million to renovate an office, pay taxes, but have no parking."

FazDeH
Sep 14, 2006, 5:04 AM
^^ I completely agree with Fahri. True we the tax payer have to pay, but its important for the city otherwise downtown will grow stagnent aswill the econonmic state of the community. I hope that the municipal government doesn't drag its feet on this matter, because whenever I go downtown Im always having to find parking and its generally nowhere near where Im going. Still I feel as though some parking lots in the city are taking up valuable realestate, ie. old smugelers alley at King and Clarence.

flar
Sep 14, 2006, 5:14 AM
Parking woes? There's tons of parking downtown. Are the parking garages at the Galleria or Market ever full? Last couple times I was downtown London, I had no trouble finding parking along King St. near the Market, and the parking lot where Smugglers Alley used to be was nearly empty. More parking will not help downtown London. Office vacancy is high so I doubt there will be much office development in the near future, but if there was, underground parking would surely be part of the design.

ldoto
Sep 14, 2006, 4:25 PM
Update!


COMING FEBRUARY 2007


Homewood Suites by Hilton
106 Room property opening February 2007.



http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4124.jpg


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4126.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4127.jpg:banana:

ldoto
Sep 16, 2006, 11:57 AM
Denis Dimitrakopoulos had a great little car wash business downtown.

But it was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Downtown Car Wash at the corner of Ridout and King streets was recently demolished to make way for a 600-unit, $100-million twin tower apartment project proposed by Tricar Developments.

Dimitrakopoulos bought the property at King and Ridout about five years ago. It had once been a Cities Service gasoline station and later a transmission shop, but had been vacant for years when he purchased it.

He was reluctant to sell out, having built up personal and corporate fleet clients by offering a complete interior and exterior car cleaning and detailing service, he said.

But the business stood in the way of the Tricar project, considered a major step forward in redeveloping downtown.

Dimitrakopoulos got repeated calls from Tricar president Joe Carapella and city of London officials -- and he eventually reached a deal.

"It was something I could do for the city of London and for downtown," said Dimitrakopoulos, who is looking for another location for the car wash business.

In the deal, he got some cash and a parking lot on the south side of the block -- and that fits in with his plans because parking lots have always been his main business.

Originally a bus driver in his native Greece, Dimitrakopoulos emigrated to Toronto in 1969 and started building up an empire of dozens of parking lots.

He sold that business and moved to London about 12 years ago. He now owns Metro Parking, with 14 lots in the core.

And while many parking lots have gone to automated systems, Dimitrakopoulos keeps his lots more personal, employing parking lot attendants.

"It serves the customers better and it gives people jobs," he said.

ldoto
Sep 17, 2006, 3:50 PM
Airport Road Officially Renamed as Veterans Memorial Parkway

The City of London today celebrated the completion of its infrastructure renewal and reopening of Airport Road under its new name - Veterans Memorial Parkway.

To honour the sacrifices of those who fought for their country, the City held a ceremony near the intersection of Page Street and the newly-christened Parkway. Thanks to the generosity of London business Advanced Wire Die, which kindly turned its parking lot into a staging site for the celebration, more than 150 veterans graciously took in this special tribute to their military contributions.

“We, as Londoners, appreciate that much of our community’s success and prosperity is owed to our brave veterans who fought for our freedom so many years ago,” says Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best. “And, this major corridor serves as both a sign of London’s prosperity and a gateway to our city, so it is most fitting that it be named Veterans Memorial Parkway.”

“We thank the City for pushing hard to recognize us in this special way,” says David Diggs, Commander of London Zone A-6 Royal Canadian Legion. “The day has now come when military veterans - both old and new - can enjoy this important and tangible symbol of appreciation.”

On September 15, 2006, the by-law to change the name of Airport Road to Veterans Memorial Parkway between Highway 401 and Huron Street came into effect. At today's ceremony, new road signs were unveiled and are now present along the nine kilometre stretch, as well as beautiful new banners at major intersections along the Parkway.

City Council has also asked staff to consider a landscaping plan for the Parkway, with various concepts expected to be presented to Council in the future. The renaming ceremony coincides with the launch of Legion Week this Sunday. :cheers:

ssiguy
Sep 21, 2006, 2:06 PM
I'm a little lost.
I thought the 2 new twin towers were at Ridout and Queen, not King.
Was I wrong or is this another development?
I think Ridout & King as it will be better for downtown. Most on Queen would be prone to shop along Richmond were as on King people have to go thru downtown to get there. More local shopping which means more cafes and local shops.

GreatTallNorth2
Sep 21, 2006, 4:09 PM
The towers are for Ridout and King Street...not Queens.

Snark
Sep 21, 2006, 4:33 PM
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ldoto
Sep 22, 2006, 1:14 AM
Fontana Officially Enters Mayor's Race

Just one day after saying goodbye to Ottawa, Joe Fontana has begun his run for Mayor of London.

He filed his nomination papers at city hall this afternoon.

Yesterday was Fontana's last day in Ottawa.

He says he plans to use his 18 years as an MP to help the city get more from the federal government.

Snark
Sep 26, 2006, 11:55 PM
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ldoto
Sep 27, 2006, 12:36 AM
Here is a pic that I had from 2 years ago.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2003/IMGP0538.jpg

The long-awaited but controversial $6.7-million Springbank Dam rebuilding project is finally underway.

Construction crews were busy in Springbank Park today preparing a staging platform needed to build a temporary bridge below the dam for the work, which will continue this fall and through the winter months.

The project, which will replace the existing stop logs with new steel flap gates operated by hydraulic lifts, will better enable the dam to manage debris and to operate in a safe and effective manner.

The new dam is expected to be complete by April 1 in time to allow fish to spawn. If the work is not completed by then, it will have to resume after the spawn. Even so, the hinged gates won’t be used to fill the river until June 15, or about a month later than normal.

The dam is owned by the city but managed under contract by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.

The dam, last rehabilitated in 1960, was damaged in a flood six years ago and board of control recommended the project, especially since $2.8 million in federal and provincial funding expires March 1, 2008. The city’s share is $4.2 million.

The dam will cost taxpayers 50-per-cent more than originally estimated and has annoyed those who use the Thames River for recreational purposes.

As a result of the construction, there will be some drawbacks for park — and river — users.

Families who come to feed the ducks and Canada geese near the dam will be unable to do so except on weekends because it is part of the construction zone.

The roadway leading to the dam will also be closed during the week. In addition, the Thames River is impassable at the Springbank Dam for boaters and a safety rope has been placed across the river to help those who get too close to the dam.

Ugo DeCandido, an engineer with the city, said the work is going to be “a huge challenge" for contractor Taylor McLean Construction Ltd. of St. Marys, to replace four log gates with steel gates.

“These are huge gates,” DeCandido said. “It’s going to take a couple of months before the first gates are in.”

On Tuesday, dump trucks were unloading huge blasted rocks to form a platform for a crane to lift jersey barriers into the Thames River to create a base for a temporary bridge stretching halfway across the river.

Once the bridge is in place, the river will be redirected through the two gates on the south side — flowing under the temporary bridge — allowing for the gates on the north side to be replaced.

When that is completed in December, the two gates on the south side will be replaced.

DeCandido said testing would begin in late February or March.

Rick Goldt of the UTRCA said the start date was established to disrupt recreation activities as little as possible.

That means the 900 members of the London Canoe Club won’t have full access to the river until next June 15 — or later. The date the Springbank Park reservoir is refilled is normally by May 24.

The delay by almost one month is not the fault of the city or construction but the Ministry of Natural Resources, which now says studies indicate fish going up river to spawn later than previously believed.

“Normally, they had use of the park by the May long weekend," Goldt said.

It will be pushed back for the next few years while the city as owners of the dam monitors to ensure fish pass through as they had before. The city is required by the province to monitor the dam to make sure fish passage is still possible.

MolsonExport
Sep 27, 2006, 6:08 PM
^is this of any significance to development?

FazDeH
Sep 28, 2006, 3:13 AM
^^ NOPE!!! but hey what does that matter?

Snark
Sep 28, 2006, 3:27 AM
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ldoto
Sep 29, 2006, 12:23 AM
Biotron super garden

UWO facility to be leader in climate-controlled plant, ecological research


mar Singh gave a presentation on London's new Biotron experimental climate change research facility. (Dave Chidley, LFP)
Western's new Biotron research complex will help make London a player in the biotech revolution, say university officials.

Members of London city council got a briefing yesterday on the $28-million project now under construction at the University of Western Ontario.

The Biotron will operate like a super-sophisticated greenhouse with a series of sealed chambers or biomes that control temperature, humidity and sunlight to simulate any climatic zone on Earth -- from rainforests to Arctic tundra.

Ted Hewitt, Western's vice-president of research, said the Biotron will become North America's leading facility for climate-controlled plant and ecological research.

The builders of the Biotron had to pioneer new standards, because the facility is unique in the world, he said.



"We figure we are five to 10 years ahead of anybody else."

The facility should open late in 2007 and employ about 100 to 120 people.

Amar Singh, Biotron's business operations manager, said the complex will support a wide variety of biological research into agricultural crops, ecosystems and insects.

Some of the research could include:

- Documenting the effect of climate change on crops and ecosystems.

- Improving biofuels refined from corn and other agricultural products.

- Analysing intact soil samples in Arctic temperatures to determine how pipelines and drilling could affect that region's tundra.

- Developing bioactive paper that would detect and neutralize dangerous bacteria and viruses.

- Creating new fibres that would replace plastic, allowing for disposable food and liquid containers that would naturally decompose.

- Producing new vaccines and medicines nurtured inside plants such as tobacco.

"The irony is that someone with cancer may be treated with a pharmaceutical that was produced in tobacco," Singh said.

All of the research and equipment will be connected to a central control that will be wired into the SHARCNET super computer network based at Western.

Singh said that will allow researchers to monitor and control their experiments from anywhere in the world via the Internet.

Hewitt said Biotron, which is being developed in partnership with the University of Guelph, will restore Western's leadership in agricultural research.

"Back in the 1950s, London had a good reputation as place to do research in biology and agriculture. We lost that. Now we're roaring back with this facility," Hewitt said.

The Biotron presentation was part of the series of events celebrating Biotech Week in London.

ldoto
Oct 6, 2006, 4:23 PM
Fri, October 6, 2006

The $647-million building permit record set in 2004 is expected to be shattered this year.

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER




Partners in Premiere Framing Aaron Suhr, second from left, and Scott Sabourin, second from right, started their construction business last spring and Sabourin says that they are turning business away. Other members of the team are Neil Thirkettle, left, and Fanshawe College co-op student Mark Alers. (Susan Bradnam, The London Free Press)
London is poised to set a construction record this year.

By the end of September, the city had issued $550 million in building permits, not far from the annual record of $647 million set in 2004.

The city's director of building controls, Rocky Cerminara, said he knows of at least $80 million in building projects likely to start by the end of the year, including a $33-million apartment tower being constructed in downtown London by Tricar Developments and $35 million in projects at the University of Western Ontario.

Those big projects, along with new single-family homes, make it quite likely the old record will be beaten, said Cerminara.

"It's very possible that we would surpass $647 million. Apartment construction really helped," he said, adding that relatively low interest rates are helping to drive the big projects.



August was an especially strong month with $87 million in building permits and another $48 million added in September.

Figures released yesterday by Statistics Canada show an even higher figure of $633.5 million for year-to-date London building permits, but Cerminara said the StatsCan figures are not accurate.

London's construction industry is bucking a slump seen in almost every other major centre in Ontario.

Year-to-date building permits are down in Hamilton and Ottawa and almost unchanged in Toronto and Kitchener.

London's building permits are up 12.7 per cent from January to August, compared to the same period last year.

London is getting a boost from the anticipated spinoff from the new $1.1-billion Toyota plant under construction in Woodstock, said Cerminara.

But he says London is also becoming a prime spot for retirees and empty-nesters, who are drawn by affordable prices.

"We're getting people from Toronto. . . They can sell their house for half a million in Toronto, buy (here) for $250,000 and bank the rest."

Meanwhile, builders continue to scramble to keep up with demand.

"It's so busy now, we are turning down two or three jobs a week," said Scott Sabourin of Premiere Framing.

And finding qualified workers is tough, he added.

"Everyone I know who does framing can never find enough good people."

Sabourin, who also teaches at Fanshawe College, said many of the workers have been heading to booming cities in Western Canada.

Snark
Oct 6, 2006, 4:39 PM
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FazDeH
Oct 7, 2006, 7:11 AM
^ I'm hoping that this last article had inacqurate information. It would be a terrible shame if the tricar developement was slashed.

When it comes to developements is the rendering not supposed to show what the final product is suppose to look like? I've never understood why the finished building often looks so difference from the artists concepts, Money I guess but that doesn't seem logical because I would assume the cost of construction would be already calculate before the first shovel hit the dirt. hmmm,...

ldoto
Oct 9, 2006, 2:41 PM
Londoners have reasons to be thankful

The weather went to bat for area farmers, the city's building boom piled up a mountain of sawdust and an improbable end to a junior hockey season left fans on the edge of their seats.

Southwestern Ontarians are celebrating Thanksgiving in a thousand personal ways, from quiet family reunions and dinners out to movies and sports.

That's the Canadian way -- understated and personal, unlike the U.S. version of the fall harvest holiday that hits with a blizzard of civic events, football and parades.

But the London region as a whole -- despite the inevitable tragedies and grim headlines each year brings -- also has a horn of plenty stuffed with things to be thankful for during the last year on this holiday.

Following, culled from Free Press reports and listed in no particular order, is a breakdown of 10 area reasons to celebrate this Thanksgiving:

1. The harvest: Crop commodity prices may be in the muck and area farmers face no shortage of rising costs. But this year, for a change, the weather co-operated in the country's richest farm belt, with none of the natural disasters -- drought, excessive heat or flooding -- that make agriculture such a risky business.

2. No election snore pie: Longtime London MP Joe Fontana's late entry into the London mayoral race guaranteed voters a high-profile contest for the first time in years, with the 18-year veteran of Parliament Hill taking on a popular incumbent, Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, as she goes for a three-peat in office in the Nov. 13 civic election.

3. An axe blunted: Bleeding billions of dollars and market share, North America's Big Three automakers shed thousands of workers and began massive rounds of plant closings in 2006. But Ford's huge St. Thomas assembly plant, crucial in the area's manufacturing muscle, dodged the bullet and will even gain a new product, the Lincoln Town Car, though production will remain at only one shift daily.

5. Knight fever: In a junior hockey world where keeping talented teams of teenagers together is tough, the London Knights followed up their first national championship with an improbable run for a return trip in 2006 to the Memorial Cup tournament, finishing oh-so close in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs before falling to the Peterborough Petes.

6. Busing compromise: The school year began this fall on a sour note for thousands of area kids, for whom busing for field trips and sports events was jeopardized when bus lines threatened to pull that service without more money to cope with rising costs. A last-minute deal between the bus lines and area school boards rescued the service.

7. Rainbow politics: The rare, mid-winter federal election in January produced a first for London -- its first New Democrat MP. Irene Mathyssen won the London- Fanshawe seat vacated by longtime Liberal Pat O'Brien. Now, with Fontana retired from the Liberal ranks and his seat vacant, London is one of the few Canadian cities that covers the waterfront in mainstream political choices, with one MP each from the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP.

8. Building boom: The hammers keep swinging and sawdust flying in London, with its building boom this year poised to shatter the city's record construction year, 2004, which produced $647 million in projects. This year's frenzy includes a just-started, twin-tower residential project near the John Labatt Centre that will add the first new highrises in years on the downtown's western end, adding a new twist to the city skyline.

9. Once dubbed by a Toronto paper as "the dozey village on the Thames," London showed it's no cultural backwater when filmmaker and native son Paul Haggis picked up two Oscars at the Academy Awards this year, including best picture, for his movie Crash. Haggis was feted in a hometown tribute when he returned to his old London stomping grounds last month.

10. Underlining the old adage that charity begins at home, area residents ponied up big for the United Way in 2006, helping it set a $6.57-million fundraising record and providing a springboard for an even more ambitious goal this coming year, $6.85 million.

ldoto
Oct 10, 2006, 3:01 AM
Update!

Auburn Developments's 23-storey, 200-unit apartment building at Ridout Street and Dufferin Avenue -- a project valued at $35 million.And the Lerners office building


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4146.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4147.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4149.jpg

upinottawa
Oct 10, 2006, 1:53 PM
Update!

Auburn Developments's 23-storey, 200-unit apartment building at Ridout Street and Dufferin Avenue -- a project valued at $35 million.And the Lerners office building


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4146.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4147.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4149.jpg

So is it $35 million or $100 million? Is it one or two towers? What's going on here?

Snashcan
Oct 10, 2006, 2:15 PM
So is it $35 million or $100 million? Is it one or two towers? What's going on here?

I thinbk this is the Harriston, nothing to do with the twin tower proposal

upinottawa
Oct 10, 2006, 2:56 PM
I thinbk this is the Harriston, nothing to do with the twin tower proposal

If that's is the case, then that is a very good answer! :tup:

With respect to the earlier discussion concerning the downtown twin tower complex, what is the latest?

GreatTallNorth2
Oct 10, 2006, 3:14 PM
If that's is the case, then that is a very good answer! :tup:

With respect to the earlier discussion concerning the downtown twin tower complex, what is the latest?

The twin tower complex is going ahead and has nothing to do with the 23 storey building going up beside the law firm's building. The twin tower complex is directly across from the JLC. My guess is that it is only 33 million right now because they have only applied to the city to put up the first tower. No one is going to put up two towers at the same time. They will build the first and then build the second after like CityPlace did. They have demolished the former Carwash and have started digging a hole. I imagine we will see a crane in a month.

Snark
Oct 10, 2006, 5:30 PM
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ldoto
Oct 12, 2006, 3:39 PM
We're not superstars but we're skating with the three heavy hitters -- Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

London housing prices jumped enough in the latest monthly tally to place this city in the top four of 21 cities monitored by Statistics Canada.

London prices rose 1.7 per cent in August over July to lead Ontario increases.

Edmonton recorded the biggest gain with a 6.8 per cent rise, with Calgary (3.5 per cent) and Vancouver (2.5 per cent) rounding out the top three spots.

The spike in London prices reflected the ability of builders to pass on increased costs for materials and labour to consumers, said Ken Sumnall, senior market analyst with Canada Mortgage Housing Corp. in London.

"They're not able to do that in a slow market," he said.

London can't be compared to Edmonton and Calgary, said Sumnall.

"They're in a league of their own. It's not uncommon for house prices to jump $15,000 to $20,000 in a month in those two cities."

From August 2005 to this August, house prices rose 60.6 per cent in Calgary and nearly 38 per cent in Edmonton, Sumnall said.

During the same period, they jumped 5.7 per cent in London, more than the increases for the last few years and more than most Ontario cities for the last year.

By comparison, Toronto house prices rose 3.8 per cent, Ottawa 3.4 per cent and Kitchener 3.5 per cent.

House prices rose 6.6 per cent in Hamilton and not at all in Windsor.

Despite a 16-per-cent drop in single-family housing starts last month, London's market is still "reasonably strong," Sumnall said.

Housing starts in September 2005 were unusually high, he said.

He expects year-end start totals for London to be about 10 per cent below 2004, the record year.

"That would still be a very good year," Sumnall said.

While no dollar figures were given for the new homes, Century 21 reported in May that the value of a typical three-bedroom bungalow in London had risen 48 per cent to $191,000 from $131,000 since 2001.

Price increases since June would put the value of that resale home in the $200,000 range.

HOUSING PRICES

Monthly Yearly

increase increase

Edmonton 6.8% 37.8%

Calgary 3.5% 37.8%

Vancouver 2.5% 7.9%

London 1.7% 5.7%

Sudbury 0.8% 1.7%

Montreal 0.5% 4.7%

Hamilton 0.5% 6.6%

Toronto 0.4% 3.8%

Kitchener 0% 3.5%

Windsor 0% 0.2%

GreatTallNorth2
Oct 12, 2006, 8:50 PM
I actually just spoke with the owner of Tricar on the phone. Just out of the blue I decided to call him. I asked him if he planned on building both buildings (across from JLC) the exact same height, etc. He said yes. I then told him that he should instead build one taller and told him that London already has too many unpleasing twin towers. He said that I shouldn't worry about it looking unpleasing as these towers look nice. He then hung up on me. This tells me that they are indeed building both towers.

London needs to really push for better design in buildings. Other than One London Place, everything else looks pretty bland.

Snark
Oct 13, 2006, 1:26 AM
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GreatTallNorth2
Oct 13, 2006, 1:50 AM
Let's just say that we didn't have a long conversation. He was wondering why I was calling and who I was. I just said that I belong to a community of people with an interest in downtown. He was kind of short with me which is to be expected. I am totally convinced they are building both towers and it will be 100 million. They will start with the first tower and then build the second.

ldoto
Oct 13, 2006, 4:56 AM
:previous:
It sounds like good news to me!:tup:

Today I decided to send an E-mail to the city of London Building Division about the inquiry regarding the former central library land.

This is what they sent me! :lmao:

Dear Sir. Thank you for your inquiry regarding the former central library. We have no permit application on file at this time. For future plans and timing you may want to direct your question to the property's owner.

Thank you
Manager of Plans Examination
City of London
Building Division


*** This message was sent to you from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld ***

Snark
Oct 14, 2006, 3:51 PM
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FazDeH
Oct 14, 2006, 11:10 PM
Its like the daily planet on this forum! LMAO.
Im glad to hear about all possitive feedback from the developers though!

GreatTallNorth2
Oct 15, 2006, 5:10 PM
:previous:

Today I decided to send an E-mail to the city of London Building Division about the inquiry regarding the former central library land.

This is what they sent me! :lmao:



I actually have spoken with the owner a couple of times. His name is Farhi (last name). He is definately not going ahead with the former library project with all these new towers being built. He said he was going to wait a while, but still has plans to build one day.

ldoto
Oct 16, 2006, 3:25 AM
Extra gas tax cash fuels LTC

Sat, October 14, 2006

With Ontario pumping $9.1 million to London, transit officials can expand routes and add buses.

By JOHN MINER, FREE PRESS REPORTER




London's share of the provincial gasoline tax is jumping to $9.1 million, up from $6.8 million last year.

The money is being funneled to the city's transit system, allowing the London Transit Commission to add buses and expand routes.

"As a result of this announcement, people are spending less time waiting for a bus, they are more likely to get a seat on the bus and they are riding newer, safer and more environmentally friendly buses," MPP Deb Matthews (L -- London-North-Centre) said yesterday. It's the third year the province has passed on two cents from every litre of gasoline sold in Ontario to municipalities for their transit systems.

LTC chairperson Gary Williams said the money helped increase ridership in London by four per cent last year and the trend is expected to continue this year.

If it does, ridership on LTC buses could top the 19 million mark, beating the record set in 1989.

"What we are hoping for in the long, long term, perhaps 18 to 20 years out, we want to try and get to our goal of 28 million annual trips in London. That would be a 10-per-cent share of the travelling public," Williams said. "That takes a lot of SUVs off the road."

Ridership on LTC buses declined after 1989 because public transit funding was cut, Williams said, adding that long-term funding is vital.

"Without that, you can't really create an ongoing, effective and efficient transit system, no matter how hard you try. Unless you have the funds, you cannot replace the aging buses on the street," he said.

The extra provincial money has helped LTC expand its fleet by 10 buses and reduce the average age of its buses, Williams said.

Across Ontario, Queen's Park is transferring $313 million from the gas tax to 86 transit systems in 104 centres.

The government estimates that by the end of 2007, public transit ridership will grow by 31 million, the equivalent of removing 25.8 million car trips from Ontario roads.

ldoto
Oct 18, 2006, 1:09 AM
:tup: A lot of big business deals are forged in the bustle of a coffee shop.

Now, a new downtown London business is hoping to capture some of that market by offering both coffee and private high-tech office space.

The Coffee Office will open Oct. 30 in a former bank building at 137 Dundas St., north of the Covent Garden Market. General manager Fred Anjema said the business will offer the casual convenience of a coffee shop with proper and private business space.

"It will be a place to meet and get work done and be comfortable," said Anjema, a London native with a background in hotel management.

The facility will be ideal for home-based entre-preneurs or anyone needing short-term office space, he said. The ground floor of the business will feature a small gourmet coffee shop and cafe that will be open to the public. The rest of the 7,500-square-foot building consists of offices, meeting rooms, cubicles and lounges equipped with the latest technology, including wireless Internet.

The Coffee Office is the brainchild of the people behind the fast-growing computer service Nerds On Site.

In their travels, David Redekop, John Harbarenko and Charles Regan found they often were trying to do business or meet clients at coffee shops.

"It wasn't a conducive place to do business. People at the next table could hear what they were saying," said Anjema.

The first Coffee Office opened in Windsor last September under the direction of John Millson, a former mayor of the city.

Anjema said more outlets are planned for Burlington, Toronto and Western Canada.

Mainstreet London manager Janette MacDonald said the Coffee Office will be a good addition to the downtown.

"It's a great concept and it a good use of a prominent space," she said.

The Coffee Office is one of several downtown developments, said MacDonald.

Others include:

- A 25-unit affordable housing apartment building opened with full occupancy on the same block as the Coffee Office.

- Loft apartment units opened above the former Swiss Chalet restaurant at 260 Dundas St.

- Expansion at Jonathan Bancroft-Snell's ceramic art business in the form of a 1,500-square-foot addition in the rear of the 258 Dundas St. building.

ldoto
Oct 18, 2006, 1:10 AM
For as long as any of us can remember, downtown revitalization has been an election issue.

People are still talking about it today, of course, and it is still an election issue. That's not to say that nothing has been done. Or that what has been done has been a failure. Downtown revitalization is a long-term project. It should never end, no matter how healthy the downtown is.

For without a unique and distinctive downtown, a city loses much of its identity, and it begins to rot from the inside out. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.

London's core in particular will require special attention from taxpayers for years to come, and it needs renewed commitment from candidates during this election.

The current council members and some of their predecessors deserve considerable credit for their efforts, despite the costs to taxpayers.

Recent public projects such as the downtown library, the John Labatt Centre and the Covent Garden Market have proven themselves to be money well spent -- not because each is successful in its own right, but because together, along with other measures instituted by city hall, they have encouraged private investment on a broad scale not seen in some time in downtown London.

You need only look at the cranes downtown for office and apartment towers to know that city hall's strategy is working, and that taxpayers' money was not just well spent, but well invested. There is little doubt that without the initiatives by city hall, many of those private projects would not exist.

London as a city or a community cannot hope to prosper without a vibrant downtown. Economic development across the city depends as much on downtown's viability as it does on dozens of other factors. It should be the city's showpiece.

The heavy lifting may have been done by taxpayers and is now paying dividends, but a smart politician will promise to remain vigilant.

Snark
Oct 18, 2006, 1:34 AM
..

FazDeH
Oct 18, 2006, 7:10 AM
^^^ This has been discussed in the past with little result. A city hall expansion isn't going to happen without some kind of cooperative developement with the private sector, being that there is a high comercial vacancy rate in London we have to face facts that such a project won't happen until the city is able to attract more big business to the core. My feeling is that some kind of tax insentive should be intitiated to draw more corporations away from Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

WhipperSnapper
Oct 18, 2006, 11:47 PM
My feeling is that some kind of tax insentive should be intitiated to draw more corporations away from Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.


do you really think taxes are that important especially when rents in London are a huge bargain to those centres

FazDeH
Oct 19, 2006, 4:11 AM
^^^my feeling that any sound business person would consider any savings to be of a huge benifit to running their company, rents are lower but that doesn't seem to be enough. tax insentives MIGHT help. Can't say for certian but I believe its worth trying. Thats why Cami was built in Ingersol because they were given insentive. I believe the same goes for the Sterling truck plant in St. Thomas

ldoto
Oct 20, 2006, 1:09 AM
Wonderland Gardens bandshell can't be salvaged, city says

Thu, October 19, 2006

By JONATHAN SHER, LONDON FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER




London city hall will restore Wonderland Gardens without the original bandshell, a late casualty to a fire last year whose complete devastation wasn’t apparent until recently.

In the aftermath of the fire city officials said they could restore the bandshell and restaurant but further investigation has shown that’s not the case.

The bandshell, which dates back to the 1930s, was not salvageable, its structure of chicken wire and plaster damaged beyond repair.

“It’s very unfortunate we lost the bandshell,” Andrew MacPherson, the city parks manager, said today.

While the city will rebuild the Gardens to reflect its art-deco heritage of the 1930s, it will do so with scant tangible links to the past: a few clay roof tiles and inlaid stones.

The demolition of the bandshell was OK’d by the London Advisory Committee on Heritage, whose head, Joe O’Neil, was stunned to learn of the flimsy structure holding it up.

“If someone had been doing the twist and swung his partner too far, she might have kept going and going,” he said.

A new bandshell will be built to replicate the original, using as a model a photograph from 1941, staff say.

The unexpected condition of the bandshell has delayed the project, which staff had planned to start in December and complete next summer.

Now staff hope to begin work in May and finish in mid-September.

The staff are also behind plans to remove a dilapidated chain-link fence to open up the space to the public — it was supposed to have been done months ago but hasn’t yet, in part because unsafe trees had to be removed first.

The total costs of the project are also higher than first estimated, though what the city pays out-of-pocket won’t change much — thanks to insurance money from the fire.

The city had hoped to collect as much as $2.9 million from the fire, but its insurer, after four visits to the site, settled on $1.8 million.

That will leave taxpayers picking up a tab now estimated at $1.4 million — a little bit less than what it would have cost to restore the place before the fire.

The money will not only restore the site, it will link it to Springbank Park, creating continuous pathways along the river, staff said.

While the delays and unexpected losses are disappointing, Londoners will love the final result, MacPherson said.

“People who were there 40 years ago will say, ‘I remember this',” he said.

The destroyed ballroom at the Gardens once featured big-name acts such as Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.

MolsonExport
Oct 20, 2006, 5:03 PM
What the hell. Why not, eh? The city saves nothing as it is. Just rezones more land for big box retailers on the periphery.

ldoto
Oct 21, 2006, 2:39 AM
Update!
An 11-storey, 52-unit apartment building by Ayerswood Development Corp. is under construction at Kent and Talbot streets.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4142.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4145.jpg:cool:

Snark
Oct 21, 2006, 4:11 AM
..

Snark
Oct 21, 2006, 4:18 AM
..

ldoto
Oct 23, 2006, 2:18 AM
If London wants to be worthy of its title as the Forest City, it should make tree planting a priority, a woman who protects rare species said in London last night.

The city should also do everything it can to preserve its existing inventory of trees, Diana Beresford-Kroeger said before speaking to a full house at Wolf Performance Hall.

"You can't just leave it up to authorities," she said. "There has to be a lot of citizen engagement. Everybody who can should be planting trees, the right kind of trees for this environment."

Trees serve many good purposes, the most important being oxygen generation and water purification, she said.

"Trees are geniuses when it comes to doing these two things."

Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist and agricultural researcher who lives near Smith Falls, said the mental and physical health consequences of tree loss are enormous.

"If you want to have a healthy city, you need to have an abundance of trees."

Beresford-Kroeger said she approved of London city council's recent decision to give more protection to woodlands facing development pressures.

A healthy environment is good for business, she said.

"People want to live in cities that are attractive because of their natural resources."

Beresford-Kroeger's visit to London was sponsored by the Thames Talbot Land Trust and it attracted an audience from most of the city's "green" groups.

Since its formation in 2000, the trust has been raising money and acquiring natural environments to be held in trust for future generations, said executive director Don Gordon

ssiguy
Oct 23, 2006, 4:19 PM
I hope London maintains her trees and continues to plant more.
London truly is the Forest City and it is one of her true strenghns

ldoto
Oct 25, 2006, 5:56 PM
Battle looms over Capitol Theatre facade

Wed, October 25, 2006

By NORMAN DE BONO, LONDON FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER




The city and developer Shmuel Farhi are on a collision course over the Capitol Theatre building on Dundas Street, Controller Tom Gosnell said this week.

The developer will apply to have the facade of the building torn down for parking, but the city has made it clear it wants the front of the old building saved to prevent more gaps in the downtown streetscape, said Gosnell.

“I would hope that does not happen. We have gone on the record stating we want to preserve the historical character of the downtown streetscape. If we allow piecemeal development to take place it will have a significant impact on the core,” said Gosnell.

But preserving downtown heritage is exactly why he needs additional parking — to keep his tenants in true heritage structures, said Farhi. If he cannot provide parking, the buildings may go vacant and that would hurt the core much more, he said.

“We need some common sense here. I hope common sense will prevail, but time is running out,” said Farhi. “I need to do this to preserve heritage stock.”

The Capitol Theatre facade is in very poor condition and is not historically significant, he added.

“Parking is essential for office use. It does not make sense to have derelict buildings rotting on Dundas Street,” said Farhi.

Janette MacDonald, MainStreet London manager, believes the issue exemplifies the two great challenges now facing downtown redevelopment: Providing parking and preserving aesthetically pleasing and historical facades.

“I really see both sides of it, it is a tough one. We know Mr. Farhi needs parking to care for his existing clients, but I don’t want to see gap-tooth development on Dundas Street,” said MacDonald.

There are negotiations now ongoing at city hall that may create a “win-win” for the city and Farhi, she added.

“They are talking and something may happen. We have a suggestion to offer and we will be at the table.”

Farhi now has about 250,000 square feet of vacant space downtown. He bought the buildings at 204 and 206 Dundas St. to tear them down for parking spaces, but the city allowed the demolition permit only for the rear of the building — allowing Farhi to create 50 spaces. Demolishing the front would add another 20 spaces.

If the city denies him the demolition, Gosnell fears the city may face a legal challenge in the form of an Ontario Municipal Board application from Farhi.

“If we allow this, what is to stop other buildings from being demolished? This could affect four or five blocks downtown and it may never recover,” said Gosnell.

The facade of the theatre has been identified as a “priority item” on a list of historically significant buildings, but does not have a designation, added Gosnell.

Farhi has not yet applied for a demolition permit. He needs the parking because he has lost spaces in Galleria London’s parking garage because the mall needs spots for its tenants, said Gosnell.

MolsonExport
Oct 25, 2006, 6:11 PM
Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.

Shadow11P
Oct 25, 2006, 7:19 PM
Another open parking lot, cut into beautiful, priceless buildings. Just what London needs! :rolleyes:

ldoto
Oct 28, 2006, 12:58 AM
Public gets a peek at proposed Wonderland Gardens redesign

Fri, October 27, 2006

By KATE DUBINSKI, LONDON FREE PRESS REPORTER




The concept for a redeveloped Wonderland Gardens site drew both praise and criticism this week as it was presented to the public for the first time.

Sprawling trails, a concession stand, lookout points and a spruced-up bandshell, pavilion and dance floor will all be part of the new Wonderland Gardens grounds.

But some were concerned the pavilion — which is covered but opened on all sides — wouldn’t be able to accommodate those who want to use the space in winter.

“I think if it’s going to be used in the spring, summer and fall, maybe people should be utilizing it in the winter, which can’t happen with an open pavilion in the freezing cold,” said Joanne DiCicco, a breast-cancer survivor and an avid dragon boater.

“I think large groups may be limited in how they can use this,” she said, adding she often went to the gardens to dance in her youth.

So did Ruth and Bob Geoghegan, married 49 years, who hope to dance on the same spot they did in the early years of their marriage.

“I think it was in pretty bad shape for a lot of years. It will be nice when it’s open,” said Ruth Geoghegan.

“I just think that it’s great they’re making it a park and not condominiums or apartments, so that everyone can use it.”

The input from people will be presented to city council, who can then vote to give the project the go-ahead.

The conceptual plan was already presented to board of control, who liked the idea but wanted public input.

Among other concerns raised at the public meeting, held Wednesday night at the civic gardens complex adjacent to Springbank Park, was lighting, parking, and installing traffic lights into the site.

A concession stand that will be leased out to a private vendor also raised some eyebrows, with people wondering if the food sales would be year-round and how many people it could serve.

The new site, with the bandshell rebuilt to the original early-1930s style and the pavilion, will hold about 500 people, and could be cordoned off for private functions, said architect John Nicholson.

“We will be respecting the cultural history of this place, that place where people had their first dance, their first date, their first kiss, and that is important,” said Nicholson.

The bandshell, which city council originally wanted to keep and restore, has to be torn down because it's in such disrepair, Nicholson said.

A new restaurant or teahouse would also be too costly to rebuild.

“We’re trying to capture the ambiance of this place’s heyday,” said Bruce Cudmore, a consultant who is working with the architects.

“We’re looking at musical, natural and river heritage trails that would tie all of this together. Ramps, squares and paths would allow people to access all of the new greenland.”

A massive fire in August destroyed much of the formerly glorious bandshell and pavilion. The insurance payout to the city from the fire will be $1.8 million.

The first phase of the project, rebuilding the dance floor, pavilion and bandshell, should be done by September 2007. The trails and gardens should be done by 2008.

Those gathered this week were excited about the restoration, particularly the gardens and trails, which are currently overgrown and not accessible.

The principle use for the new facility and gardens at the site would be for large activities like walks and runs, continued use by people who already use the area like dragon boaters and canoers, and those who want to use the trails.

Blitz
Oct 28, 2006, 1:02 AM
London truly is the Forest City and it is one of her true strenghns

It was named the Forest City because of the dense forests that were originally at the forks of the Thames. It has no more tree cover than the average Canadian city...Londoners just like to think it does.

Snashcan
Oct 28, 2006, 3:20 AM
It was named the Forest City because of the dense forests that were originally at the forks of the Thames. It has no more tree cover than the average Canadian city...Londoners just like to think it does.

This is true, one of my professors did the tree inventory for london, per sqft, toronto has more trees then london.

London does have enormous old trees, but there needs to be a huge push to get more trees planted to replace the old ones when they die, and to just fill the city up with trees to make it a more healty place.

ldoto
Oct 28, 2006, 5:54 PM
Shmuel Farhi, owner of 70-plus downtown buildings, says he'll raze them, invest elsewhere:tup: :yes:



Downtown London's largest landowner says he'll let his buildings rot or raze them and divert $100 million in investments if the city doesn't help solve the core's parking problems.

Welcome to Ground Zero of the biggest problem facing downtown landlords.

Without long-term, off-street parking, the downtown "is going to die," Shmuel Farhi warned board of control yesterday in a special meeting.

"If I can't maintain my heritage buildings, the city is going to have problems," said Farhi, whose company, Farhi Holdings Corp., owns more than 70 downtown properties.

"If those buildings go dark . . . in 10 years those buildings are (going to have to be demolished).

"Enough is enough. I'll put my heart in other communities. I'm asking you for help, to be a partner."

Farhi later said: "I have a window of opportunity over the next six months to invest $100 million. Do you want it in London?"

The meeting was hastily arranged by chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding and Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, when Farhi said he wanted to demolish buildings at 204 and 206 Dundas St., the old Capitol Theatre and former Bowles Lunch Counter.

"I felt there was a sense of urgency," DeCicco-Best said.

Farhi "is the major landlord, a huge supporter of heritage buildings and he has huge challenges with unique properties like this. So we want to work to help wherever we can," DeCicco-Best said.

Both buildings are listed as priority 1 in the city's inventory of heritage buildings.

In June, city council approved a demolition permit for the rear portion of the theatre, provided Farhi left the facade and 500 square feet of commercial space.

That would provide Farhi with about 50 parking spaces for nearby tenants.

But Farhi now says he needs a long-term tenant for the rest of the building to make the estimated $500,000 in renovations feasible.

Otherwise, Farhi said he'll demolish the facades and add another 20 spaces, urgently needed because he'll lose tenant parking space at Galleria on Jan. 1.

City planners and heritage enthusiasts say if the buildings are demolished, a "gap-toothed hole" will be left in Dundas Street that would be a major setback to the core's revitalization.

Further, they say, it could lead to a "domino" effect of buildings being demolished.

DeCicco-Best mostly ignored normal rules of order to allow a free exchange between the sometimes explosive and passionate Farhi and controllers.

Clearly, the board heard Farhi's message, instructing Fielding to find a deal to save the facades of the two Dundas Street buildings before Christmas.

The board also asked staff to start work on a long-term parking strategy.

The direction to staff must still be approved by city council at its next meeting Nov. 6.

Farhi found an ally in Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell, who this year chaired a downtown parking committee that recommended the city find a partner to build a parking garage.

"Sometimes the city has to make investments to strengthen the core area," Gosnell said.

"The longer we postpone making those investments, the more problems like this will arise and the core will suffer."

It's been suggested the city lease the space at the former Capitol Theatre, moving some of its offices out of city hall.

Farhi didn't make idle threats.

"Legally, if I want to tear down 25 buildings downtown, there's nothing you can do about it," he said as city staff nodded.

The city's demolition control bylaw only applies to residential property. Further, unless a commercial property is designated a heritage building, the city can't deny the owner a demolition permit, city staff said.

Farhi has long pushed the city to find a solution to the core's parking problems.

Though staff and consultants say the core has plenty of parking, Farhi, Gosnell and other landlords say there's no conveniently located long-term parking for long-term tenants in office buildings, leaving many vacant.

Without parking, Farhi said companies downtown, or looking to come to London, will move to the suburbs.

ldoto
Oct 30, 2006, 3:37 PM
Residents worry buildings will overcrowd area

Mon, October 30, 2006

By NORMAN DE BONO, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER




Three new apartment towers will crowd a west London neighbourhood and overburden services, the city's planning committee will be told today.

Old Oak Properties' proposal to build 12-, nine- and five-storey buildings at 610 Beaverbrook Ave., has drawn fire from residents who say it is too much development in the neighbourhood.

"There are 34 highrises within two kilometres of the area and that is a lot," said Lynda Smithers, a Riverside Drive resident opposing the development.

"It is a terrible situation, the area is way overcrowded."

Old Oak is looking for a zoning change to have the parcel of land, south of Proudfoot Lane and north of Riverside Drive, change from medium to high- density.

Among the concerns is that Riverside has capacity for 15,000 cars a day -- and already exceeds that by more than 4,000, said Smithers.

Other concerns include overwhelming services, including sewer capacity, pollution caused by gridlock and saving a woodlot on the property.

However, Coun. Roger Caranci, chairperson of the planning committee, believes the proposal is consistent with what is in the area.

"There are many apartment buildings there now because people want to live there in apartments," he said. "This seems like a compatible development. We get spanked all the time for putting these in areas where there are not apartment buildings."

The matter is likely to go to staff for a report on the impact of services and traffic flow, Caranci said. "I am for development, it is what makes the city tick, it creates jobs and that is something the people of London demand."

But development has to be balanced with the needs of a neighbourhood, said Coun. Judy Bryant, who also sits on the planning committee. A study of that area in 1991 suggested limiting development to medium-density units and apartments to eight storeys -- points that are now exceeded.

"This is why people are alarmed," Bryant said. "It concerns me we have had an area studied and are not following that report. We have a lot there already and it begs the question, 'when do you stop?' "

The proposal would also see lights installed at Beaverbrook and Riverside, which will cause gridlock and difficult conditions in winter as it is hilly, said Smithers. "The traffic in that area now is bad and it will get a lot worse." :shrug:

ldoto
Oct 31, 2006, 3:26 PM
Fontana maps out rail plans:cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

Tue, October 31, 2006

The candidate for mayor vows to work toward moving all CP traffic to the CN line.

By JONATHAN SHER, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER



Joe Fontana vowed yesterday to try to end the rail gridlock that's snarled London traffic for years.

Standing next to the CP tracks, the mayoral candidate painted a bold and costly vision in which all freight travel would be moved to a CN line with plenty of overpasses.

"I have no illusions this would be easy or cost-free for Londoners. I believe that, given a 10-year time frame to find partners, that it's achievable," Fontana said.

The abandoned CP line could then be used for pedestrians, cyclists and even light rail transit, he said.

"Today's announcement is the boldest and most challenging of all for London," said Fontana, who was facing a big deficit in the polls earlier this month and now has two weeks until election day Nov. 13.

Just how challenging, is a matter of debate.

Fontana says he thinks he can persuade the two rail lines to co-operate, and, if they do, to shake money from the federal government. But the obstacles appear immense. The CN line has two tracks -- one less than needed for both railways the last time city staff checked a few years ago, according to city transportation director Dave Leckie.

Other cities have tried and failed to get one rail company to give up its line, since neither wants to play second fiddle on rails controlled by its competitor, Leckie said.

"When you're a guest on someone else's tracks you may not get an advantage . . . The probability of this happening is pretty low," Leckie said.

If CP rail agreed to a move, building overpasses at the CN tracks would be pricey -- a typical overpass costs $10 million to $20 million, he said.

Such funds may be available through a national infrastructure program, Fontana said. "There is money available."

But his rival, Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, says that simply isn't the case. For years, the federal government had a program to create overpasses but it was never funded and none were built, she said.

When the city asked the feds to pay one-quarter of a proposed overpass at Hale and Trafalgar streets, the reply was a resounding no, she said.

"The only people that didn't come to the table was the previous federal government," DeCicco-Best said.

Ottawa instead suggested the city abandon other federally-funded projects to do the overpass, she said.

While CN has committed $2 million toward the overpass, it hasn't agreed to pay a one-fourth share, with costs now pegged at $12.8 million.

Even if the city can't implement his plan, Fontana believes talks with the rail companies might achieve smaller goals such as reducing trains during rush hour.

He also announced other transportation and environmental initiatives, including:

- Creating a corridor downtown where streets are closed permanently or part-time to attract pedestrians.

- Planning to eliminate the often-frustrating way the number of road lanes expand and contract, what he calls the "accordion roadway."

- Creating a more aggressive transportation plan to foster ways to keep cars off the road.

- Requiring more energy-efficient homes, encouraging in-fill development and neighbourhoods focused on people, not cars.

A series of Free Press articles found Londoners die waiting for paramedics blocked by trains and motorists wait more than 440,000 hours a year for trains to pass, a huge burden on the local economy.

ldoto
Oct 31, 2006, 3:33 PM
Dissent over downtown London parking is spreading to Richmond Row.

Merchants on the boutique strip are joining the chorus of businesspeople who want more parking for the downtown, saying daytime office tenants snap up what space there is along the row and leave little for customers.

"Just about every businessperson along here says we have to do something about parking. If the city talked to businesspeople here, they would tell them there is a big problem," said Dennis Winkler, manager of Wink's eatery on Albert Street, just off Richmond Street.

The city is working on a parking report and last week a special meeting of board of control was convened to hear London developer Shmuel Farhi say there is a need for more commercial parking downtown because office space is going vacant for want of nearby parking.

"Farhi was right. Anyone who invests millions in this city should be listened to," said Winkler.

James Cowie, chairperson of the Richmond Row Merchants Association, agreed, describing parking as "a constant issue" for retailers, discussed at virtually every meeting.

"Parking is a serious issue which needs to be addressed," he said. "Commercial buildings use the parking here and there is nothing for retailers."

But the city is focused first on the downtown parking issue and Richmond Row is not a priority, said Controller Tom Gosnell, chairperson of the city's parking committee.

"We know Richmond Row needs parking too, but our big priority right now is the downtown," said Gosnell.

But a long-term parking solution for the core will have a ripple effect, aiding Richmond as long as commercial tenants get parking, he added.

"The most urgent issue for us right now is downtown office space that is under-used," said Gosnell.

On weekends, Richmond Row enjoys ample parking, but through the week most lots off Richmond are filled by 10 a.m., added Winkler.

"I talk to people who are saying their accounts are way down and they need parking," added Winkler. "I have been to about six merchants' association meetings and it is always talked about."

In addition, merchants are concerned about customers getting hit with costly private tickets of $39 for an expired meter, which is hurting business.

"It is a phenomenal cost if you use one of their meters and get a ticket," said Cowie.

Winkler agreed. "I have had people come in and ask if they can do anything about the ticket. What can I do?"

"People shop here, they have dinner or buy something and get a ticket. It hurts business."

The city was investigating the regulation of parking-ticket fines, but a Toronto court ruling this year ended that, added Gosnell. The city of Toronto lost a legal battle banning private companies from issuing parking tickets. 

ldoto
Nov 1, 2006, 4:39 PM
Wed, November 1, 2006

By JOE BELANGER, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER



London's planning committee is recommending approval of three new apartment towers in a west-end neighbourhood.

Residents in the area opposed the proposal by Old Oak Properties to build 12-, nine- and five-storey buildings at 610 Beaverbrook Ave.

But the committee gave the OK with some reservations over traffic and protection of a woodlot on the property.

"I think this was a good compromise for the applicant and the neighbourhood," said Coun. Roger Caranci, committee chairperson. "The committee felt this development fits in well with the area . . . good for intensification."

Staff are reviewing a traffic study and trying to find a way to permanently protect a woodlot and will report back to council Monday.

Residents complained the area is already congested.

They say the area is overpopulated with highrises, including 34 within two kilometres of the area.

They're also concerned about traffic, which they say is 4,000 vehicles over street capacity of 15,000 cars a day.

Old Oak wants the land, south of Proudfoot Lane and north of Riverside Drive, rezoned from medium to high-density use.

The developer agreed to build three apartment buildings with higher densities instead of four to protect the woodlot.

Ward 1 Coun. Judy Bryant, who also sits on the planning committee, said she's pleased the woodlot will be saved, but worries others may look to develop highrises in the area.

"Just because it's open space doesn't mean it's safe," she said.

A 1991 study of that area suggested limiting development to medium-density units and apartments to eight storeys.

ldoto
Nov 1, 2006, 4:46 PM
DOUBLING UP: Tricar owner Joe Carapella stands in front of the twin apartment towers construction site at King and Ridout streets. (DEREK RUTTAN The London Free Press)
You can rule out Castle Carapella, but other than that, just about anything goes.



http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/lfpBusiness.jpg


Tricar Group is inviting Londoners to name the twin apartment towers rising downtown at Ridout and King streets and win $5,000 doing it.

"This is going to be such an important building, I want to know what Londoners want it to be called, what they think," said Joe Carapella, Tricar owner.

"It's one of the biggest developments ever in the city."

Site preparation has been finished and construction began Monday on the apartment towers, Carapella said.


"I want a name befitting the stature it will have in the downtown," he added. "I want Londoners to come up with something creative and unique."

Whoever chooses the winning name will win a prize package valued at $5,000 including a luxury vacation to a Mayan Riviera resort, a $1,000 downtown shopping spree, a night in a private box at the John Labatt Centre -- as well as gift certificates from merchants.

"It's a great idea," said Janette MacDonald, MainStreet London manager. "It is an essential development for downtown London, given its location -- and we hope Londoners get their creative juices flowing."

The contest begins today and entries will be received until Nov. 24. The winner will be named Dec. 1.

Entry forms can be found at www.tricar.com.

The two, 28-storey apartment towers across from the John Labatt Centre will cost about $100 million to build and will have 600 units, which may bring more than 1,000 residents to the core.

But Carapella doesn't want a London version of Trump Towers. His name won't be in the title.

"Who do you think I am, Donald Trump? My ego's not that big," he joked.

Tricar bought the land --which was being used for parking -- from a consortium of city developers for about $4 million. The 0.8-hectare site will have 1,000 parking spaces -- 300 in each tower, with five levels in each (one below ground and four above). Another 400 are proposed for a five-level public parking garage between the towers, which Carapella and the city are still negotiating.

He has proposed that the garage feature a roof-top garden for tenants and says the ground level will offer space for shops and stores.

The living units will range from 700 square feet to 2,200 square feet for the penthouse units and rents will range from $1,000 to $2,200 a month. :tup:


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/MainstreetLondon_120x600.jpg

ldoto
Nov 1, 2006, 4:46 PM
DOUBLING UP: Tricar owner Joe Carapella stands in front of the twin apartment towers construction site at King and Ridout streets. (DEREK RUTTAN The London Free Press)
You can rule out Castle Carapella, but other than that, just about anything goes.



http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/lfpBusiness.jpg


Tricar Group is inviting Londoners to name the twin apartment towers rising downtown at Ridout and King streets and win $5,000 doing it.

"This is going to be such an important building, I want to know what Londoners want it to be called, what they think," said Joe Carapella, Tricar owner.

"It's one of the biggest developments ever in the city."

Site preparation has been finished and construction began Monday on the apartment towers, Carapella said.


"I want a name befitting the stature it will have in the downtown," he added. "I want Londoners to come up with something creative and unique."

Whoever chooses the winning name will win a prize package valued at $5,000 including a luxury vacation to a Mayan Riviera resort, a $1,000 downtown shopping spree, a night in a private box at the John Labatt Centre -- as well as gift certificates from merchants.

"It's a great idea," said Janette MacDonald, MainStreet London manager. "It is an essential development for downtown London, given its location -- and we hope Londoners get their creative juices flowing."

The contest begins today and entries will be received until Nov. 24. The winner will be named Dec. 1.

Entry forms can be found at www.tricar.com.

The two, 28-storey apartment towers across from the John Labatt Centre will cost about $100 million to build and will have 600 units, which may bring more than 1,000 residents to the core.

But Carapella doesn't want a London version of Trump Towers. His name won't be in the title.

"Who do you think I am, Donald Trump? My ego's not that big," he joked.

Tricar bought the land --which was being used for parking -- from a consortium of city developers for about $4 million. The 0.8-hectare site will have 1,000 parking spaces -- 300 in each tower, with five levels in each (one below ground and four above). Another 400 are proposed for a five-level public parking garage between the towers, which Carapella and the city are still negotiating.

He has proposed that the garage feature a roof-top garden for tenants and says the ground level will offer space for shops and stores.

The living units will range from 700 square feet to 2,200 square feet for the penthouse units and rents will range from $1,000 to $2,200 a month. :tup:


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/MainstreetLondon_120x600.jpg http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/building.jpg

MolsonExport
Nov 1, 2006, 7:02 PM
Name it after Tim Hortons (after all, London has 23,654,879,087,453 Tim Horton's Locations), and call it "Double-Double".

ldoto
Nov 5, 2006, 8:49 PM
Update!:) :yes:
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4166.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4169.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4178.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4172.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4173.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4174.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4168.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4164.jpg

FazDeH
Nov 6, 2006, 4:05 AM
^^ Great pics, I love how the poster they have on the job site only shows the one tower.

Snark
Nov 7, 2006, 1:15 AM
..

FazDeH
Nov 7, 2006, 7:50 AM
^^ You sound bitter. I thought we got confermation from the developer over a month ago that both towers were going to be built? Didnt someone from here actually call him? as memory serves me he said there'd be 2. Only time will tell I suppose.

upinottawa
Nov 7, 2006, 2:47 PM
This is not exactly development news, but it could have a big impact on the city (although, in fairness, it is too early to tell):

Emerald ash borer found in city lot

Tue, November 7, 2006

By JOE BELANGER, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER

It's here.

The emerald ash borer, which has laid waste millions of ash trees in the U.S. Midwest and western Ontario, has been found in London.

It's timing for the unwanted arrival could not be worse: the Forest City is already worrying how to cope with its dwindling tree cover that gives the city its nickname.

The tree-destroying beetle was found Oct. 24 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in two infested trees on a private lot near Wonderland Road and Springbank Drive, within a kilometre of Springbank Park, the crown jewel of the city's park system. Worse, the federal agency suspects the beetle has been on the site at least two to three years.

With an estimated 10,000 ash trees alone in its parks and along its boulevards, even more counting private property and city-owned woodlots, London could be a veritable smorgasbord for the beetle with no known predators.

"It could be anywhere," said Gerry Dowding, project manager for the CFIA, who delivered the grim news to city council last night.

"Probably by spring, we'll have a better idea of what we're dealing with," Dowding said.

Coun. Joni Baechler called the potential fallout for London a "massive" problem.

"It could put us back substantially in terms of tree and woodland cover," she said.

Thought to have arrived in North America from China in wooden packing crates, the borer has left once tree-lined stretches of some American cities looking like war zones.

In a bid to slow or halt the borer's advance, from Michigan and east through Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency mounted elaborate defences which the pest has overcome:

- A ban was slapped on the movement of ash firewood and still the borer advanced.

- A controversial ash-free zone was cut near Chatham, creating a kind of fireline officials had hoped would prevent the beetle's eastward advance and which triggered an outcry by property owners who saw their trees -- in some cases, huge lots -- levelled.

"The fact it's 10,000 trees in the most obvious areas of the city is a concern to us," said Dave Leckie, the city's director of roads and transportation. "We have entire streets lined with ash trees."

Dowding said the London infestation was likely caused by the delivery of fire wood or other human intervention.

"It's highly unlikely the insect arrived here on its own," he said, adding there's no proven method of controlling the spread of the beetle.

An inspection of trees within 500 metres of the now-quarantined London site showed no signs of the beetle.

Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said she's buoyed the infestation appears limited.

"We're ahead of the curve on this compared to . . . other municipalities," she said.

Dowding said the beetles are dormant and won't spread any farther until spring.

Blitz
Nov 7, 2006, 4:28 PM
^ That thing killed every single ash tree in Windsor, it's really unfortunate that despite all the efforts it still made it up to London.

MolsonExport
Nov 7, 2006, 5:13 PM
Looks like another great London Downtown development in the tradition of One London Place and the Duffern Corporate Centre. :(

They want a name for this supposed "London landmark"? How about the "Bait And Switch Tower". Or, how about the "Incredible Shrinking Development"?

Whatever impression that some people got thinking this project was going to all happen as advertised should get the real picture with this. I believe that this project as a twin tower development happening anytime soon is DOA. If they had any intention of building the second tower anytime soon, they would have certainly have shown it here, in order to build up the scope and importance of the project in the public eye. They would want to advertise this development as major as possible. If both towers were going up anytime soon, they would have surely shown it as such. They didn't - which means in my mind that they aren't. This must also mean that the parking garage proposal with the city is also dead.

Two towers promised. One delivered. Maybe that should be the new Downtown London mantra.
It is one thing generally consistent about the place: "Downtown London - half of a great thing". :hell:


Nah. Call it the "At least it is not a commie-block" tower.

What the hell is happening on Wonderland Road? Going over the CP railway tracks (southbound), you got one hell of a view of commie-block-o-rama.

FazDeH
Nov 7, 2006, 10:31 PM
^^ Developers LOVE cheap building projects and they will use the same template over and over to save money. Even on Wonderland and Springbank, a relitively attractive building is the same as the 2 at Wonderland and Southdale, Londons becoming like Sim city, a limited selection of buildings, popping up over and over.

MolsonExport
Nov 7, 2006, 11:16 PM
I agree, but unfortunately it is the original version of Sim City, rather than SimCity 4.

ldoto
Nov 8, 2006, 6:13 PM
The city of london is going to lose Farhi :koko: :haha:

Wed, November 8, 2006

By NORMAN DE BONO, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER



London developer Shmuel Farhi has cut a big deal in Windsor.

He's agreed to a land swap that sees him get 0.4 hectares of prime downtown waterfront land in exchange for 16 hectares in the city's east end where the new arena for the Windsor Spitfires Ontario Hockey League team will go.

Farhi plans to build a $45-million, 20-storey condominium tower on the downtown site and another $50-million commercial and residential development near the new arena, he said yesterday.

The deal may be just the beginning of what he sees as an ongoing relationship.

"They called me and said they wanted to make a deal," Farhi said.

"Here's a city that picked up the phone and said they wanted to work with me. They sent people here and we got a deal done in three weeks."

Farhi has been at loggerheads with the City of London in recent years over developing parking in the downtown for his commercial buildings.

At a recent city council meeting, he threatened to tear down his London developments or invest elsewhere.

Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said the new arena was the driving force behind the deal. The city wanted to look at building in east Windsor and contacted Farhi, who owned the large parcel.

"We are excited to bring someone here who has a track record of development downtown," Francis said.

"He's an individual who makes things happen."

Windsor also will develop a four-hectare property, immediately behind the land Farhi now owns, as a downtown urban residential area and Francis said he expects Farhi to bid on the development. :hell:

Snark
Nov 8, 2006, 6:47 PM
..

Shadow11P
Nov 8, 2006, 9:34 PM
Great work London. :rolleyes:

FazDeH
Nov 8, 2006, 10:15 PM
This has been going on for months is anyone really suprised he stuck with his word? If I was in his shoes I would done the same thing. Its a pity, but hey its only $100 mil,.... oh city council way to go!

Blitz
Nov 9, 2006, 12:07 AM
Well hell, who wouldn't want to leave London for Windsor? ;)

GreatTallNorth2
Nov 9, 2006, 3:15 AM
Well hell, who wouldn't want to leave London for Windsor? ;)

Me

Snashcan
Nov 9, 2006, 4:38 AM
I think why a lot of these huge projects get cut back is simply london is not really big enough yet to warrant this kind of demand, but the second tower isn't off the drawing board, i would imagine they will want to sell a lot of the first tower before they build the second.

FazDeH
Nov 9, 2006, 5:32 AM
playing safe.^^ Enough urban sprawl already! How congested are the roads going to need to be before the city starts pushing the developers to build downtown?

ldoto
Nov 9, 2006, 6:49 PM
The London area has seen its most housing starts in 15 years.

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER



With two months to go in 2006, the London area construction industry has already racked up the greatest number of housing starts in more than 15 years.

Led by a surge in rental apartment and townhouse construction, year-to-date housing starts in the London-St. Thomas area surged to 3,179 by the end of October, the highest total since the housing boom of the late 1980s.

"We are well ahead of the first 10 months of last year -- 35 per cent -- and apartment starts are huge," said Ken Sumnall, an analyst with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Sumnall said rental apartment starts could soar past 1,000 units this year if the Tricar residential towers in downtown London get underway by the end of the year.

Single-home starts in the London market are up just two per cent this year, but single housing has been hot in St. Thomas, with starts up 52 per cent this year.

"The land is a little more affordable in St. Thomas and their economy hasn't been doing too bad," said Sumnall.

The housing market hasn't been this active since 1986-1989, when housing starts consistently topped 4,000 a year.

October was a flat month in the London-St. Thomas market, said Sumnall, with single-housing starts down five per cent and multi-unit housing unchanged. Townhouse projects were a bright spot with 54 units started around London.

The CMHC said housing starts were up across Canada in October because of a rebound in volatile multiple housing.

Single-housing starts, a more reliable indicator of the new home market, fell to their second-lowest level of the year.

Ontario home starts edged up in October, fuelled by activity in Toronto's condominium sector. But single detached starts showed a decline.

ldoto
Nov 10, 2006, 6:18 AM
Search goes on for name of new twin apartment towers

Thu, November 9, 2006

By NORMAN DE BONO, LONDON FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER



Suggestions have ranged from the offbeat to the funny to the regal — but Tricar Group is still searching for a name for its twin downtown apartment towers.

“We want to see more names, we haven’t decided on anything yet but we’re glad some people are having a good time with this,” said Joe Carapella, Tricar owner.

But let’s face it, William and Harry just aren’t going to cut it and the Two Towers, is well, not very original, he said.

Still, you gotta love London’s Fawlty Towers and the Shania Twin Towers.

Tricar has received more than 4,000 suggestions and many of them have tried to tie in the location of the towers at King and Ridout streets, with names like Tricar Towers, Thames Towers, Market Square, City View and The Coventry.

You gotta love the city spirit that had people suggest the London Knights Towers, or Memorial Cup Towers, or even — the Hunter Brothers Towers.

“The Memorial Cup theme has come up a lot,” said Brenda Trineer, director of property management for Tricar. “But we want people to put on their thinking caps and come up with some other names.”

Then there are those that just having some fun, suggesting, the BB (Baby Boomers) Towers, The Duke and Duchess, Romeo and Juliet Towers, or how about Tricar Twin Tornadoes, Tricar Twin Thunders, London Tower, Big Ben, The Lord Simcoe and Lady Simcoe and Sky-High Estates.

Some suggestions have also ranged to the classic: Elysium Towers, Ancile Towers (for the Greek sacred shield that fell from the heavens), or Heavenly Heights.

Carapella, however, wants something special, encouraging people to log onto websites featuring apartment developments in large, metropolitan cities around the world for inspiration for “sophisticated” titles, he said.

“This will be a world-class building so maybe we should look at some world-class cities. It is a spectacular project,” he said.

To make a suggestion, log on to www.tricar.com.

The two 28-storey apartment towers across from the John Labatt Centre will cost about $100 million to build and will have 600 units, which may bring more than 1,000 residents to the core.

The winner will get a prize package valued at $5,000, including a luxury vacation to a Mayan Riviera resort, a $1,000 downtown shopping spree, a night in a private box at the John Labatt Centre - as well as gift certificates from merchants.

ldoto
Nov 13, 2006, 11:54 PM
City's newest fire station settling into the suburbs

Mon, November 13, 2006

By JOHN MINER, FREE PRESS REPORTER



Lucky 13 is up and running.

But don't be surprised if you missed London's new fire hall at 790 Fanshawe Park Rd. E.

Other than the oversized garage, the red brick Fire Station No. 13 resembles many of the other large detached homes that have sprung up in the city's north end.

"It does look different," fire Capt. Doug Romyn said during his first shift at the station yesterday.

The station became operational at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, providing fast-growing north London with faster response.

The station has one truck and will be staffed by a minimum of four firefighters.

Romyn said the new facility is needed, particularly with Mother Teresa secondary school on the north edge of London and other subdivisions going up in the area.

Citizens in the area -- where response times were eight minutes -- have demanded better fire protection for several years.

The response time should now be under the city's target of four minutes, Romyn said.

Like all city fire halls, it has a kitchen, captain's office and workout room, but individual bedrooms for firefighters.

The concept for a station that looks like a house was borrowed from Calgary.

Budgeted at $600,000 or less -- a full-fledged fire hall costs about $2 million -- the station can be resold as a home when a full fire station is needed.

About a hectare originally set aside for the station has been sold to Rembrandt Homes, which is marketing two-storey and multi-level condos on the site for $157,490.

That housing development is expected to generate about $50,000 a year in property taxes for the city.

As for the No. 13 designation for the station, the firefighters said they prefer to call it "station one-three."
__________________

MolsonExport
Nov 14, 2006, 8:52 PM
Anyone know what the hell is being built on the north side of Gainsborough, near Hyde Park Road? Looks like a big school or community centre, or something.

ldoto
Nov 17, 2006, 1:02 AM
O.R.E. To Develop 700,000 Square Foot Distribution Center in London, Ontario
First and largest speculative development in London

London, Canada (November 3,2006) - O.R.E. today conducted a groundbreaking ceremony to kick-off the development of 700,000 square feet of prestigious industrial facilities at Highbury Business Park, the first O.R.E. speculative development in London. The business park will be comprised of two multi-tenant buildings. Located on Max Brose Drive, the property is along the South side of Highway 401, southeast of the Highway 401 and Highbury Avenue interchange.

The two buildings at Highbury Business Park will be built on 32 acres. Building 1 will consist of 566,430 square feet featuring 30' clear height, parking for 275 automobiles, 55 truck level doors, 4 drive-in doors and 194 trailer parking spaces. The building is designed to accommodate up to six tenants, features an ESFR sprinkler system and is powered with a 3000 amp 3471600 volt electrical service. The building will be heated with gas fired unit heaters and the facades will be constructed with insulated flexwall precast panels.

The second building will consist of 129,386 square feet, is designed to accommodate a single tenant and is currently available for sale or lease. The building features a 1200 amp 3471600 volt electrical service, 24' clear height, parking for 60 automobiles, 11 truck level doors and one drive in door.

"Highbury Business Park is in a strategic location midway between Detroit and Toronto," said Michael Hanna, VP and General Manager of O.R.E. Development Corporation. "The centrally located site will attract automotive part suppliers and warehouse distribution users who want to service the southern Ontario and US markets."

"We are delighted to welcome 0.R.E to London and are confident the company will thrive in The Forest City". said London Mayor, Anne Marie DeCicco - Best. "This significant investment reinforces the merit of our industrial land development strategy in successfully attracting new enterprises and creating new jobs for our community."

The City of London plans to improve and extend roads and municipal services along Global Drive to
accommodate the Highbury Business Park. O.R.E. donated 4.72 acres of wet lands from the development property to the City of London.

"This development of a spec building will enhance our ability to attract new companies and will provide valuable marketing opportunities for the City," said John Kime, President and CEO of the London Economic Development Corporation. "It demonstrates the faith that O.R.E. has in the potential for growth in London."

andy Fisher, Chris Harris and Larin Shouldice of CB Richard Ellis will represent O.R.E. in leasing transactions. The Highbury Business Park was designed by O.R.E. Architects, Inc. and will be built by 0.R.E Development Corporation. Construction will begin in December 2006 and completion is scheduled for fall 2007.

O.R.E. - O.R.E. Development is a member of the Minneapolis-based Opus Group, which is composed of vertically integrated full-service companies with offices in 27 U.S. cities. O.R.E. offers the benefits of local expertise, as well as national capabilities through its U.S. affiliate. For more information, visit www.oredevelopment.com.

The Opus Group, based in Minneapolis, is a $1.4 billion premier, full-service real estate development company with nearly 55 years experience. Specializing in office, industrial, retail, multifamily, government and institutional development, The Opus Group has completed more than 2,300 projects and 227 million square feet and currently has 35 million square feet in planning or development. Opus employs 1,600 people in 28 offices in the United States and Canada. A community steward since its inception, The Opus Group contributes 10 percent of its pre-tax profits to community organizations. For more information, visit www.ovuscorp.com.

ldoto
Nov 17, 2006, 2:06 AM
Update!
Some pics of the new Angelo's Bakery at Wonderland south!
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/IMGP4122.jpg:banana:

ldoto
Nov 18, 2006, 8:50 PM
Active, affluent seniors help push the need for the new apartments.


Leo White enjoys the view of downtown from his apartment at Talbot and Kent streets where he moved with his wife, Mary.

After raising six kids and buying a succession of homes, Leo and Mary White are back to renting, right where they started 54 years ago when they married.

It's a life cycle that the Canada Mortgage Housing Corp. says will begin to dominate the housing market in the years to come.

The Whites, approaching their 80s, recently moved to a luxury, two-bedroom apartment in a new highrise at Talbot and Kent streets built by Old Oaks Properties.

Moving out of the "empty nester" home in an Old North neighbour they loved was a tough decision, Leo White said.

"I always liked gardening and raking the leaves. But the things I used to enjoy just got to be work" he said.


The Whites are the kind of active, affluent seniors that are helping to drive the demand for new downtown apartments.

"It's a huge apartment and we've got everything here. It's larger than the main floor of our old house," said White.

White, who pitched fastball until he was 64, said he and his wife appreciate living downtown, close to amenities such as Covent Garden Market.

"It's great. I do three big walks a day and I'm waiting for the rink to open at Victoria Park," he said.

If CMHC economists are right, the Whites soon will be joined by the leading edge of baby boomers downsizing to empty nester condos and homes and eventually to apartments and seniors communities.

Statistics from the national fact-finding agency show that nearly 60 per cent of Canadians under age 25 live in apartments. Less than 20 per cent live in apartments at age 50, having traded up to houses.

But, by age 85, nearly 50 per cent of Canadians are back in apartments.

CMHC analysts say the first transition for baby boomers approaching retirement is a luxury condo. And London is an especially hot market for one-floor, detached condos, considered a luxury in bigger cities where land is in short supply.

The next stage is typically a seniors community or retirement home and standards in that sector have shot up as well.

Suite-style retirement homes have become the new standard in the industry and already make up about 20 per cent of the market in Ontario, up from 10 per cent just five years ago, CMHC says.

Meanwhile, vacancy rates for older ward-style or semi- private rooms have soared above 20 per cent.

Barry Parker, vice-president of Sifton Properties in London, said the small, older units have become "unmarketable."

The new suite-style units are large enough to allow older couples to live together and the homes often feature amenities such as spas and restaurants.

"The old homes were about life support. The new one are about lifestyle support. They are like fine hotels."

Construction of retirement communities is on the rise. Parker said the number of beds in London has more than doubled, from 650 to 1,500 in the last three years. He said projects totalling another 1,000 beds are in the planning stages.

The trend is not expected to crest until 2020, when the peak of baby boomers born about 1960 approach retirement.

Ted Tsiakopoulos, a CMHC regional analyst, said by now most baby boomers have bought their second or third house and will not be ready to downsize to an apartment or condo for a few more years.

But after 2016, housing demand is expected to decline and boomers will start shifting into rental and retirement home accommodation.

The trend may happen more slowly than predicted since boomers are healthier than previous generations of seniors and many will adapt their homes to stay independent as long as possible. :tup:
__________________

ldoto
Nov 18, 2006, 9:03 PM
Update! Construction crews work on Londons Springbank Dam yesterday, part of a $6.7-million rebuilding project triggered in part by damage caused during a flood six years ago. Workers prepare a wall to cut off the water in the Thames River along one part of the dam. The area will be drained, so new steel gates operated by hydraulic lifts can be installed on the dam.

The rebuilt dam is expected to be completed by April 1, in time to allow fish to spawn. If the work isnt finished by then, officials have said it would be suspended and resume after the spawn.



http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam7.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam6.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam3.jpg

ldoto
Nov 18, 2006, 9:08 PM
[QUOTE=ldoto]Update! Construction crews work on Londons Springbank Dam yesterday, part of a $6.7-million rebuilding project triggered in part by damage caused during a flood six years ago. Workers prepare a wall to cut off the water in the Thames River along one part of the dam. The area will be drained, so new steel gates operated by hydraulic lifts can be installed on the dam.

The rebuilt dam is expected to be completed by April 1, in time to allow fish to spawn. If the work isnt finished by then, officials have said it would be suspended and resume after the spawn.



http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam7.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam6.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2006/LDN20061115SRdam3.jpg;)

ldoto
Nov 21, 2006, 10:55 PM
Downtown's largest landlord is glad to see the city ready to help ailing Dundas Street.



Downtown's biggest property owner expressed relief city hall is finally paying attention to a deteriorating Dundas Street, but warned yesterday politicians have to move more quickly than usual.

Despite his cautious optimism, Shmuel Farhi gave no guarantees a massive plan to fix the spine of downtown London would prevent him knocking down the former Capitol Theatre for parking.

"I don't want to demolish, but having said that, we have to work together," he said.

"To bring the Capitol Theatre back to life, you have to spend $500,000, $600,000. Whose account? Within this block, we have over 150,000 square feet of vacant space, so why would we go fix another building?"

The potential demolition of the building at 204 and 206 Dundas St. helped hurry up a planning department report on fixing the downtown street.

Farhi said he's been trying for years to get council to help the struggling street.

"In Windsor, it took me three weeks to do a deal for $48 million for an arena. Here, we are talking for two years and we are going little by little by little. I hope things will change," he said.

"The retail on Dundas Street from Richmond to Clarence is the worst ever."

Board of control hasn't yet seen the report, obtained by The Free Press Saturday, but controllers said yesterday they support making Dundas Street a priority this term.

Controller-elect Gina Barber, however, warned that fixing the core of the city won't work as long as unchecked development rages along the city's edges, creating a doughnut effect with the downtown as the hole.

"You can't just work on the hole of the doughnut," she said.

"That way, you are just throwing money down the hole."

It's clear the city has to do something different with Dundas, Controller Bud Polhill said.

"I don't think we should be spending a pile of tax dollars."

But with $100 million to $200 million in private money invested, the city has to help, Polhill said.

London is fortunate its downtown area is not geographically large, Controller Tom Gosnell said.

"The difficulty is that there are so many different property owners."

That makes agreement on key issues, such as parking, hard to come by, Gosnell said.

Parking, the protection of heritage buildings and incentives for specific kinds of businesses are key recommendations in the report by the city's planning department.

Property owners must have some incentives to renovate or repair buildings, Farhi said, citing his experience with the former Fairweather store.

"I spent over $1 million to refurbish this heritage building and my taxes rose by 300 per cent," Farhi said. "So I am not going to do stuff like this anymore."

Even with city help, the right businesses have to fill the buildings, he said.

"You can offer someone a filet mignon, but if they want to eat a hot dog, then what do you do?"

Farhi thinks the keys to Dundas Street are residential and office space and parking.

He wants government to step in and rent space in the core.

And he wants the city's help to create more parking for office workers and residents.

"We have 350,000 square feet of buildings and 21 parking spaces downtown," he said. "We need 1,400."

Dundas Street merchants welcomed a new city plan to improve the street.

"I think they are going in the right direction, but they have to be selective about what they put in," said bookstore owner Marvin Post. "We don't need a dental office facing Dundas Street and we don't need another soup kitchen."

Jonathon Bancroft-Snell, owner of an art studio, supported the report's call for more protection of heritage buildings downtown over creating more parking.

"You don't solve anything by a gap-toothed solution. I have never once heard any of my clients complain about parking."

drjohnnyfever
Nov 22, 2006, 2:44 PM
Anyone know what the hell is being built on the north side of Gainsborough, near Hyde Park Road? Looks like a big school or community centre, or something.

It's the new building for West Park Baptist Church (currently near Wonderland & Hyde Park Rd.).

ldoto
Nov 23, 2006, 1:13 AM
StatsCan figures show London has added almost 4,000 young workers in five years.:tup:


London is shedding its reputation as a place youth flee, with more young people living and working here than ever.

Having long endured a rap as a city that can't keep people in the valued 25- to 44-year-old age range, the city has turned things around, adding almost 4,000 young workers during the last five years, Statistics Canada figures show.

"We are on a roll," London Chamber of Commerce general manager Gerry Macartney said yesterday. "These are the people we need to keep the economy going."

The figures paint a picture of a London not only hanging onto its young but attracting others, compared to a city that lost or attracted few young before:

- From 1994 to 1999, the figures show the city lost 94 people aged 25 to 44.

- But, from 1999 to 2004, it drew or retained 3,911 people in that range -- a net gain.

The 25-to-44 demographic is a key indicator because it's seen as a measure of city growth. People that age shop, buy homes, raise families and invest in the community.

"We have had strategies to grow the economy and we are seeing gains where we wanted to," said Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best.

"We are seeing success," DeCicco-Best added.

Job creation by the London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC) and city investments, ranging from downtown to industrial land, are paying off, she said.

Statistics show a spike in all younger age ranges staying in London, with net growth of 4,717 people in the 18-to-24 age category from 1999 to 2004, compared to 3,094 for the preceding five years.

The same period shows a net gain of 3,755 people from birth to age 17, compared to 2,741 for the preceding five years.

"So where is the brain drain?" asked Macartney. "We have heard from people in politics that London has been losing ground in this area, but seldom does anyone do any research. This shows there has been a significant turnaround."

Overall, employment figures show job growth steadily climbing in London and area over the last decade.

The net number of jobs grew by 16.9 per cent between 1995 and 2005, as 35,000 people were added to the city's workforce, said Ray Gormley, an analyst with Service Canada in Kitchener.

The greatest growth was in the service sector -- including areas such as trade, transportation, health care, scientific and technical services and education -- where there was a net gain of 14,400 jobs from 2000 to 2005.

Across Ontario, total employment grew by 25.4 per cent from 1995 to 2005 .

"This is excellent for our community," said Jeny Wallace, director of workforce development for the LEDC.

"That age range (25 to 44) is the future. They are coming out of school, entering their first jobs and making a contribution to the economy."

There are several reasons for the turnaround, said Macartney.

"I think London has matured. We have the university, hospitals, investments in the downtown," he said. "This is the glue that is holding us together."

Wallace agreed, saying business and industry attracted to London over the last six years are now paying off.

The first major plant the eight-year-old LEDC landed was the Keiper automotive parts plant in 2000. The LEDC has steadily added businesses since.

So far this year, employment has grown 0.6 per cent and added about 1,500 jobs to the economy. Last year there was a job loss of 0.2 per cent, or about 500 jobs lost.

MolsonExport
Nov 23, 2006, 3:13 PM
It's the new building for West Park Baptist Church (currently near Wonderland & Hyde Park Rd.).

Damn. Not another one.