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ssiguy
May 22, 2007, 4:32 AM
I don't think Rennaisance will have much effect on the market when it comes to the condo market.
With London just setting a record for an all time high for real estate prices, more will be knocked out of the house market and start with condos.

MolsonExport
May 22, 2007, 1:23 PM
Wish that we had triple A baseball in London. And goddammit, is it true that you cannot get a beer at Labatt Park?

ldoto
May 24, 2007, 12:28 AM
UPDATE!


LONDON - The Grand Opening for London's newest major furniture store... happened today on Warncliffe road south...

The Bad Boy himself, Mel Lastman was on hand to open the store, the 6th in the chain...

Bad Boy certainly knows how to entertain with the Mocha Shriners oriental band opening the show...and Micheal Burgess acting as the Master of Ceremonies..

MolsonExport
May 24, 2007, 1:17 PM
Mel Lastman in London....a dump for Toronto's garbage coming soon to London...


...guess it isn't all that manure after all that is causing the bad smell around town.

ldoto
May 27, 2007, 3:16 AM
UPDATE!:D

Talbot & Kent Residential Units/52 Floor Count 11

106 Kent Street
London ON Canada
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/IMGP4484.jpg

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/IMGP4481.jpg:banana:

QuantumLeap
May 27, 2007, 11:02 PM
Great. At this rate, we can expect a 2015 opening date- like maybe once the current boom has busted and a new boom is in its infancy. Note: the working address for this property is 544 Talbot, not 106 Kent.

ldoto
May 31, 2007, 12:55 AM
UPDATE!Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sifton backs down on planned office complex

A victory for Oakridge residents fighting a proposed office tower at Wonderland and Riverside. Just before a public meeting on the issue last night, Sifton agreed to look elsewhere - avoiding what likely would have been a showdown at the Ontario Municipal Board.

I thing it would be great downtown!!!:cheers:

ldoto
May 31, 2007, 12:56 AM
UPDATE!
Shriners hospital issue revived

Wed, May 30, 2007

By AMANDA ROBINSON, SUN MEDIA



The on-again, off-again fight to bring a coveted children's hospital to London from Montreal is back, with local Shriners pushing to close the Montreal site and build here.

A resolution to build a new hospital in London and then close the fraternity's aging Quebec hospital has been drafted for Shriners to vote on at their international convention in July in Anaheim, Calif.

The move has outraged some members of the fraternity in Montreal.

"The question of whether to stay in Montreal or not was decided two years ago and I think it's very unfortunate that this is being resurrected at this stage," Gary Morrison, chairperson of the Shriners Hospital for Children, said from Montreal.

The head of the Shriners' London temple, Norman Camp, couldn't be reached for comment. But a top U.S. Shriner confirmed the London resolution is on the July conference agenda for a vote.

The resolution is almost identical to one the London Shriners presented two years ago at the group's meeting in Baltimore. Montreal -- its bid to keep the hospital backed by a strong show of support by the province -- narrowly triumphed, the resolution failing to win needed two-thirds support by just a few votes.

Yesterday, the chief executive of the McGill University Health Centre, affiliated with the Montreal hospital, said the fight is a dead issue.

"It was voted on, it was fully discussed, a decision was made. I always tend to say once you've made a decision, then let's just get it on and get it done," Dr. Arthur Porter said.

London's defeat in 2005 came despite it being unanimously recommended, twice, as the site for a new Shriners hospital by the fraternity's executive.

Last year, London Shriners prepared to try again, proposing a second Canadian hospital be built in London and the Montreal site be left open.

That bid fizzled when the Shriners said a new facility wasn't on their agenda.

The 2005 fight was high profile, involving direct lobbying of Shriners by Premier Dalton McGuinty and Health Minister George Smitherman, but this time little has been said.

London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, who took part in the last campaign, said she wasn't aware of the latest attempt.

"Although you hear lots of things through the grapevine, I wasn't aware something was coming forward," she said.

The Shriners operate 22 hospitals for children, including the 85-year-old Montreal facility. The fraternity started looking to replace the hospital more than six years ago, asking for bids from London, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

"The (Montreal) facilities are good and they meet the safety code, but we are totally out of space," Gene Bracewell, a senior U.S. Shriner, said yesterday.

Montreal Shriners have proposed a new hospital be built next to a "super hospital" planned for a former rail yard. That project has been plagued by controversy over decontamination of the former industrial site. :yuck:

Waterlooson
May 31, 2007, 1:09 AM
What the Shriners are doing is highly unethical. They want to build in Montreal, but there are some unresolved issues there, so they use London to threaten Montreal with closure of a hospital if they don't get their way. They have no intention of building in London... London is just being used.

MolsonExport
May 31, 2007, 4:12 PM
Not the Shriners thing again. Fer fvcksakes, when will it ever end?

ldoto
Jun 1, 2007, 12:40 AM
:previous: Yes Its back!!


Thu, May 31, 2007

Montreal is launching a campaign to keep the hospital there but London is making its pitch.

By AMANDA ROBINSON, SUN MEDIA



Temperatures are rising in a just-renewed battle between London and Montreal over a coveted Shriners' hospital.

Yesterday, a day after the news got out that Shriners from London have moved to reopen a fight decided in 2005, when the international fraternity decided to keep its hospital in Montreal rather than move it to London, a support group for Montreal fired back.

In a statement, the Friends of the Shriners said it will "once again be heading a campaign to convince Shriners from across North America that it is in the best interest of children to keep their Canadian hospital in Montreal."

Group co-chair Natalie Cinman said the Friends of the Shriners will roll out a campaign to show "the depth of our community support" to keep the hospital in Montreal.

"As a starting point, we will be launching an e-mail petition next week and starting to phone Shriners across North America," Cinman said.

In contrast, Shriners in London were tight-lipped yesterday about a resolution they've put forward to be voted on at the group's July convention in California.

That resolution calls for a new Shriner hospital to be built in London and then the aging Montreal site -- the only in Canada -- to be closed.

Norman Camp, the head of the fraternity in London, declined comment yesterday.

At the Mocha Shrine Centre on Colborne Street, some members also wouldn't comment. Others said they hadn't heard about the resolution.

The battle between London and Montreal came to a head in a tight vote at the fraternity's Baltimore convention two years ago, when a bid to move the hospital to London failed to get the needed two-thirds support.

Of the 1,400 delegates, 508 voted against building in London and 505 in favour.

The new London resolution -- to build here, then close in Montreal -- is on the agenda for a similar Shriners meeting July 1 to 5 in Anaheim, Calif.

Children's hospitals operated by Shriners are valued not only for their medical services, but also their research.

Some Canadian Shriners have expressed frustration about the London move, saying they doubt the resolution will pass.

"Although I won't say who, I know they've lost the support of one of their better supporters. It was stated at the seminar when I was in Montreal last week," said Craig Houston of the Khartoum Shriners in Winnipeg.

Houston attended the seminar at the Montreal hospital along with Shriners from central Canada, most of Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.

"It's out of place," Norm Morrison, Potentate of the Tunis Shriners in Ottawa, said of the London move.

"We continue to support the hospital in Montreal."

Gary Morrison, chairperson of the Montreal Shriners Hospital, spoke about the issue at the hospital seminar and also agrees with Houston.

"There's totally insufficient basis to close the hospital in Montreal," he said.

"We as Shriners made the decision and that's it, now we live with that and move forward."

Morrison and Houston say the Montreal hospital provides exceptional care, but that the 82-year-old site is running out of space.

ldoto
Jun 2, 2007, 5:09 AM
Shriner hospital campaign low key

Fri, June 1, 2007

By AMANDA ROBINSON, SUN MEDIA



Trying again to land a children's hospital for London, which would mean closing one in Montreal, area Shriners will head to a July convention where their bid goes to a vote.

But unlike a similar battle in 2005, when London failed to dislodge the only Canadian Shriners' children's hospital from Montreal, this time the local campaign is low profile, without politicians or hype.

In stark contrast, London -- and especially Montreal -- pulled out all the stops in the lead-up to the Shriners' Baltimore convention two years ago, when the international fraternity voted to stick with Montreal as the hospital site.

"In 2005, we went down there with politicians and city officials. We're not doing anything like that this time," Norm Camp, who heads the London Shriners, said yesterday.

"We're just going down there on our own with our voting delegates -- presenting the resolution, and the questions and answers that come from the floor, and hopefully that will persuade the voting delegates."

At the convention, July 2 to 5 in Anaheim, delegates will vote on the new resolution -- identical to the old one -- proposing a new hospital be built in London and then the aging Shriners Children's Hospital in Montreal be closed.

A two-thirds majority vote is needed to carry the resolution.

TURN DO NOT EDIT

The local Shriners don't plan to try to swing votes their way by sending swag or persuasive emails to delegates.

Nor do they plans to go head-to-head with the Friends of the Shriners, a Montreal support group that's launched a campaign to convince Shriners across North America "that it is in the best interest of the children" to keep the hospital in Montreal.

"They have their right to do it. We can't stop them," said Camp.

What he can do is try to convince delegates London is the best fit for the hospital.

London is well known for its medical breakthroughs and facilities.

"Our children's hospital is renowned, and this would bring just a lot more qualified people to the area," said Camp.

The city has nothing to do with the local Shriners' campaign, but it stands behind the fraternity and hopes this time the outcome will be different.

"I think the same arguments would apply today that the right decision, in a perfect world, would be London," said Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell.

"But we recognize that any efforts to revisit this issue will be controversial and London has never shied away from controversy, nor will we this time," he said.

The local Shriners, the Mocha Temple, have come under harsh criticism from some Shriners across Canada for reopening the old debate.

But Camp is adamant the local groups wants to do what's best for the "Shrine organization and the Shrine hospitals."

"We just feel that London is the best place for the hospital," he said. "If the resolution fails, then we will re-evaluate ourselves and take another look at our situation, but our goal is to one day have a Canadian Shrine Hospital in London."

ldoto
Jun 3, 2007, 4:44 AM
City looking for urban design volunteers with eye for class, beauty:cool:

Sat, June 2, 2007

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



London is looking for the “best and brightest” urban designers to help develop a vision to make the city a place of class and beauty. :D
The city’s planning department is looking for volunteers to sit on a steering committee to oversee how best to implement the concept of urban design.

“It’s really about creating a city that has a beautiful, functional and economical public realm,” said Coun. Joni Baechler, who heads the city’s planning committee.

“It’s the basics of building a community that isn’t just concrete and mortar, but liveable and walkable with a strong aesthetic quality.” In recent years, city council — pushed by Baechler, Coun. Judy Bryant and Controller Gord Hume in the Creative City Task Force he chaired —has taken steps to try to incorporate urban design principles into new developments.

That means, for example, ensuring developments in older areas of the city respect the existing streetscape or architecture.

One recent example would be the Victorian design elements of the John Labatt Centre at the southwest corner of Dundas and Talbot streets. The rink’s exterior was designed to reflect the former Talbot block streetscape it replaced.

But it’s also about designing new neighbourhoods and applying design principles to the architecture, street layout and other elements.

“It’s really exciting,” said Baechler, chair of city council’s planning committee.

“Part of good urban design is respecting the natural heritage, the built heritage and cultural heritage. All world-class cities routinely engage and employ urban designers.”

During its budget deliberations, council approved the hiring of an urban designer.

The city is currently working with a development company, Z-Group, in a pilot project to design a neighbourhood with the help of urban designer Michael Hanay of Zelinka Priamo.

Several other projects either completed or under construction were also developed taking urban design principles into consideration.

City planner John Fleming is urging professionals with extensive design experience to join the steering committee, which will include representatives from city council, the Urban League of London, the London Development Institute and three members of the community at large.

“We need strong representation from the design community in order for this initiative to be successful,” Fleming said.

“You will likely all be impacted by the results stemming from this committee and we would love for the community’s best and brightest to be sitting at the table charting the way for the future.”

Anyone interested is asked to apply before June 15 by contacting the city clerk’s office or visiting the city’s website at www.london.ca/Council/appointments.htm.

Snashcan
Jun 3, 2007, 3:06 PM
The city is also hiring an urban designer in the near future. BTW I sit right beside John Fleming office, such a nice guy

ldoto
Jun 5, 2007, 1:15 AM
Mon, June 4, 2007
By NORMAN DE BONO, SUN MEDIA


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/LDN20070531ML01FAHRI.jpg
From the Royal Bank building at King and Richmond streets, Shmuel Farhi can see some of the $250 million worth of property he owns downtown.
:worship:


London's most colourful developer has gone on a shopping spree, buying up more than 20 downtown properties in the last six months alone.

Shmuel Farhi puts the total value of his downtown property at more than $250 million. :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

He says it's all part of a master plan that's just begun.

"It is part of my strategy. The more I own, the more I control. The better for me," the outspoken Farhi says.

"I am not an investor who is looking at tomorrow or the next month, but 10 years from now. I am building a nest here, a massive plan over the next 10 to 20 years."


Most notable among his recent acquisitions are two parking lots north of the Dundas Street courthouse -- the largest pieces of vacant land available downtown at 100 Queens Ave. and on Fullarton Street immediately to the north.

"I envision, down the road, a government use there," says Farhi. "It's across from the river and the courthouse. It is prime real estate in the heart of the city."

Farhi paid $7.6 million for the 0.95 hectares of property he will continue to use as parking lots. Long term, he'd like to see municipal government development on the site.

That acquisition is the tip of the iceberg for what has been a busy 2007 for Farhi, who often is at odds with city hall over downtown parking.

He has snapped up the stately Wright Lithographing building at 424 Wellington St. and a parking lot at 75 King St., adjacent to the twin apartment towers being built on the site of the former Ridout Tavern.

Add to that a parking lot at 195 York St., just west of the Via Rail station, as well as buildings and property at 192 Central Ave., 551 Richmond St. and 179 Albert St.

"In the last six months, I have 23 new acquisitions just downtown and soon I will make it 25," he says.

"We have more than 1.5 million square feet and if you had to rebuild it, it would cost $250 million."

The recent deals make him the largest landlord in the downtown with more than 80 properties, including land and buildings, in the core, Farhi says.

He won't say how much he's spent on downtown land, dismissing totals as not important. He has a buy-and-hold philosophy, acquiring what he sees as quality real estate and holding it for the long term.

There's no doubt, says Peter Whatmore, vice-president for commercial real estate firm C.B. Richard Ellis, "he (Farhi) has been the most active buyer in the city's core for a long time."

City manager Jeff Fielding isn't bothered Farhi has bought so much downtown, but he says the city needs to work with him.

"In a city this size, it is typical to have one or two individuals with a strong interest in the downtown, with multiple holdings. But it means we have to maintain a working relationship," he says.

The father of three -- Ben, 17, Shehnee, 15, and Natan, 19 months -- Fahri jokes he'll hand down much of the property to his children to manage.

"His investment strategy is different. It is very long-term thinking, more of a European strategy and not North American," says London real estate broker George Kerhoulas. "If he is investing for his family, one thing is for sure, he sure loves his family.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/LDN20070531ML02FAHRI.jpg
"He is a very savvy guy. Never underestimate him.":cheers: :cheers:

ldoto
Jun 5, 2007, 1:23 AM
LONDON - May was yet another huge month for home sales in the London area...

Figures from the London and St. Thomas Real Estate board show over 11 hundred homes changing hands.

That is a new record for any month since the board started keeping such records over 40 years ago.

Detached homes are up 9 percent in price while condo's rose 3.3% in value..

A two storey home in the London area is going on average for 284 thousand dollars. Ranches average 263 thousand dollars and condos about 143 thousand dollars. :tup:

ldoto
Jun 6, 2007, 7:26 PM
When it comes to apartment vacancies, London is below average

Wed, June 6, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA



Despite a flurry of apartment construction last year, London’s apartment vacancy rate remains below the provincial average. :D :D

A survey released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) shows London had a vacancy rate of 3.7 per cent in April.

The Ontario rate was 3.9 per cent.

Peter Whatmore, senior vice-president of CB Richard Ellis, said the low vacancy rate shows the strength of the city’s housing market.

“It confirms the level of development activity in the community. The demand for multi-residential is strong,” he said.

In 2006, construction starts on 1,100 apartment units helped London smash the annual record for building permits.

Some of those apartment units are still being built, Whatmore said, but he’s confident the market will not be flooded.

“There are pretty savvy developers in this community who understand the market dynamics well.”

The CMHC survey found the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in London was $795, well below the Ontario average of $921.

CMHC analysts noted the Ontario vacancy rate of 3.9 per cent is historically high, with the most vacancies in bachelor units.

Windsor, battered by layoffs in the auto industry, had the highest vacancy rate in Canada of 11.6 per cent.

Vacancy rates in Sudbury, Barrie and Ottawa were below the provincial average, while Toronto and Kitchener were near average.

Across Canada, the rental vacancy rate was 2.8 per cent in April.

Booming Alberta led the way with a vacancy rate of 0.9 per cent, while British Columbia’s vacancy rate was just 1.1 per cent.

The steepest monthly rent was in the northern Alberta community of Wood Buffalo, where the average monthly two-bedroom rent was $1,681.

CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said rental rates in Alberta are being driven up by an influx of workers from eastern Canada. :notacrook:

ldoto
Jun 8, 2007, 12:30 AM
YMCA unveils plans for mega projects

Thu, June 7, 2007

By APRIL KEMICK, SUN MEDIA



It's been a quarter century since the last YMCA in London was built, but that's about to change.

Plans for a much-needed, state-of-the-art north London community centre will be unveiled tomorrow, as London's YMCA kicks off its fundraising campaign for three ambitious area projects.

Upgrades to the aging, east London Bob Hayward YMCA and major renovations to Camp Queen Elizabeth -- a camp on Georgian Bay for London-area kids -- are also in the books.

But only if the YMCA can raise $9.2 million by their December, 2008 goal.

"London is an incredibly generous community," said CEO Shaun Elliott.

"We're pretty confident that the support is going to be there."

The proposed $25-million community centre in north London has already generated a lot of excitement, Elliott said.

The area where it's to be built -- on Sunningdale Road east of Adelaide street -- has previously been identified by the city as "drastically underserviced," Elliott said.

More than 7,500 Londoners would benefit from the centre, which would house swimming pools, fitness facilities, a gym and a track, he said.

A library branch, child care facility and City of London kiosk are also included in plans for the new YMCA, he said.

"It will be a real community centre," Elliott said. "People of all different ages and abilities can come and interact on a bunch of different levels."

The YMCA has to raise $5 million of the centre's price tag, and they're taking out a $3.5 million mortgage as well, he said. The city will kick in the remainder.

Organizers are also hoping to raise $2.6 million for a total overhaul of Camp Queen Elizabeth over five years.

More than 1,000 area kids go to the camp each year, and all the camping facilities -- from cabins to bathrooms -- need to be replaced, Elliott said.

The Bob Hayward YMCA is also due for a serious revamp, more than 40 years after it was built, he said.

Elevators to the second floor, change room renovations and an expansion will make the centre more accessible for more Londoners, he said.

The anticipated cost is $1.6 million, he said.

Every small and large donation will count, Elliott said, adding there's a variety of ways people can help the campaign.

"Go on the website, call, send up a smoke signal -- we'll get there," he said.

THE PLANS

North London Community Centre

- construction to begin in 2009 and finish in 2010.

- expected to serve more than 7,500 regular participants

- health, fitness and recreation facilities, including pools, a gymnasium and track

- will house a library branch and childcare facility

Bob Hayward YMCA

- construction to begin in 2008 and finish in 2009

- new elevators to increase accessibility

- expansion and renovations to the gym

- mechanical and changeroom upgrades

YMCA Camp Queen Elizabeth

- construction to begin in 2008 and end in 2012

- total overhaul of 29 buildings on the campground

- addition of a wellness centre and doctor's quarters

ldoto
Jun 8, 2007, 12:32 AM
Dagnone backs Shriners in new hospital fight

Thu, June 7, 2007

The former London Health Sciences Centre chief played a key role in a drive two years ago.

By AMANDA ROBINSON, SUN MEDIA




Tony Dagnone is considered a formidable rival by Montreal officials. (Sun Media file photo)
Look out Montreal -- Tony's back, teamed up again with London Shriners in a battle over a hospital.

Tony Dagnone, the former London Health Sciences Centre president and chief executive, played a key role as a member of the failed drive two years ago to wrest the Canadian Shriners Hospital from Montreal for London.

Dagnone, retired from LHSC, and considered a formidable rival by Montreal officials, confirmed yesterday he's made himself available to help in a renewed London campaign to land the Shriners' renowned Canadian children's hospital.

London lost the battle over the facility in 2005, when international Shriners meeting in Baltimore voted to keep the hospital in Montreal, which mounted a high-profile campaign to fend off the London bid.

Dagnone was deeply involved in that fight, but -- like the local Shriners' renewed bid for the hospital -- has been low-profile this time.


Yesterday, he said he's only providing strategic advice to the local fraternity. "I'm not looking to be front and centre. I'm only there as a volunteer . . . offering my time and my thoughts. I believe in the Shriners movement . . . and as a member of this community, if I can help them I'm more than willing to do that."

Scheduled for a vote when the Shriners meet July 2 to 5 at their international convention in California will be a motion by London Shriners, calling for a new children's hospital to be built in London, after which Montreal's would be closed.

The Friends of the Shriners, a support group in Montreal, has vowed to resist the London move with a lobbying campaign for Shriners delegates.

Dagnone wouldn't reveal details of the new London strategy, but maintains it "will be professionally done."

"There'll be a lot of noise from Montreal, they've proven that already, so I think this time around the strategy is, 'let's keep the strategy to ourselves,' " he said.

In Baltimore, the London campaign failed to win the required two-thirds majority vote needed to bring a new $100-million children's hospital to London.

Hopes to renew the debate last year fizzled for London Shriners, the Mocha Temple, after it was announced building a hospital in Canada was no longer in the North American fraternity's plans.

Highly valued for their care, Shriners hospitals are also prized for their medical research.

For 10 years, Dagnone has been involved in trying to relocate the Canadian hospital to London.

He said he will continue to support the local fraternity.

"I'm a firm believer that London is the best community to hold the Canadian facility," he said.

"It's a national resource and Shriners has a great reputation for their research and care for children, and London would be seen as a national resource for kids that require orthopedic services."

ldoto
Jun 12, 2007, 6:23 AM
Charles Parker, a senior planner with the City of London, holds up the re-designed development at 500 Ridout St. N. Aesthetic improvements were made to the project using a new urban design review process.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/mainpic1_23.jpg


After 15 years of trying, London will start looking a little different, more unified and aesthetically pleasing as the city moves forward with new urban design guidelines.:tup:

City council approved the concept last month, creating a steering committee which will develop final details for a process which will allow the city to get much more involved in determining how new commercial buildings appear to the outside world.

Believe it or not, however, the process has been in the works since the early 1990s.

Why has it taken so long?

"It's the mindset in London and in the development industry," explains Charles Parker, a senior planner with the city. "We've always been very development friendly and (what a project looks like) been left up to the building designers. It was just a matter of resistance from developers and the shortfall in the Planning Act that didn't allow us to deal with specifics. The new Planning Act from the start of this year has helped."

City planners got very interested in development aesthetics in 1991 when a downtown plan was written. Several informal pilot projects were initiated to test guideline concepts. In 2000 the pilot projects were extended to big box retail developments over 6,000 square metres.

"We started applying it to the Fanshawe and Richmond area (Masonville), the Canadian Tire on Wonderland Rd. S and the Home Depot at Wonderland and Southdale," Mr. Parker says.

But now, urban design is ready for Prime Time. The decision by council establishes an urban design steering committee with the task of creating guidelines by Dec. 31, 2008.

This interim committee will evaluate and if appropriate, establish a framework for urban design review policies, an urban design review in the land use planning process, an urban design review panel and citywide urban design guidelines. The panel will provide advice on private and public development proposals and other design matters until such time as a more permanent framework for design review is set.

John Fleming, manager of land use planning and implementation with the city, is one of the driving forces behind the implementation of the review process.

"I am a big believer that urban design plays a very important role in shaping our city," he says. "London's future as a top ranked Canadian city depends on the development of well designed buildings and neighbourhoods. Urban design really is where the rubber hits the road for planners. What does the project look like, how does it function, and how does it add value to the surrounding landscape?

"We have been emphasizing this perspective of late and we wish to inject greater discussion and consideration of design issues in our future planning processes. Recent changes to planning legislation supports this perspective and we are certainly hearing this point of view from the community as well.

"Yes, people do want to live in a city that is functional and efficient. But even more so, people are expressing a desire to live in a city that is walkable, varied, vibrant and beautiful. These are laudable goals to strive towards and a stronger emphasis on urban design through our planning processes can help us get there. This is really what the concept of an urban design steering committee is all about."

A steering committee of seven members will include a representative of the Urban League, one form the London Development Institute, two representatives from city council, and three representatives from the community at large with a high level of design expertise.

John Nicholson, a principle architect with Malhotra Nicholson Architects Inc., has been involved with the review process as a design expert.

"The review process is currently looking to be a process where written guidelines on a project are reviewed for compatibility against the guidelines and the neighbourhood and secondly, whether design upgrades can be undertaken. There are ways to create incentives," Mr. Nicholson says.

"The peer review process set by the city is one where a member of the design community, usually an architect, reviews the background information against design guidelines or the Official Plan. The review process acts as a critique of the paper form. In an ideal world, what you'll get is an informed decision on an informed project that emphasises design excellence."

Another expert is Michael Hannay who has "been involved working for the city as an urban development reviewer or for the applicant," according to Mr. Fleming.

Hannay is a senior urban designer and planner with Zelinka Priamo Ltd. He was contracted by the city to review the development of 500 Ridout St. N currently under construction by Auburn Developments Inc.

"In the case of Auburn, I think it was really beneficial. It not only helped the building, it also helped them think through what they need," Mr. Hannay says. "What's typical - this came about through bonusing - a better design would result in increased density, it's in the city's bylaws. That's what triggers this and allows the city to have greater impact and effectively review the design.

"I think that the process is a good idea. I saw it as a fairly standard developer high-rise building that wasn't necessarily conceived for such a high profile location. The building wasn't deficient but the site had opportunities to make it more proficient."

Jaime Crich, president of Auburn Developments, saw this process as a positive experience.

"It worked well because it was a combined effort on all sides," he says. "For this process to be successful there have to be open minds involved and it cannot be one-sided. Michael (Hannay) did a great job as facilitator of compromise and benefit for everyone involved. Because of this participation, it was a positive process for all, including the project itself."

It's an assessment that Mr. Parker agrees with.

"What they originally came in with was basically a standard apartment building right down to the street. Staff had concerns because of the presence of Eldon House and the neighbouring buildings so we gave them ideas on how to improve the streetscape to fit in and we also took our lead form the buildings that were already there," Mr. Parker says. "What they did was recreate the façade of 484 Ridout St. N to give it more of that neighbourhood feel. The best alternative would have been to incorporate the original structure but as a fall back they've incorporated a similar façade. We thought this was an appropriate alternative."

It became an opportunity for a win-win situation where everyone was happy and come away with a positive experience and an aesthetically improved structure.

"To Auburn's credit they were very receptive to our plan. They came back and pointed out some specific needs they had to make the space work. We're primarily talking about aesthetics that function. It has to have both and they've seemed to make it work. We also had concerns about balconies and tried to get them to change things up a bit so it wasn't the same all the way up," Mr. Parker says.

"We created interest at the streetscape and tiered it at the top. They've also put colour changes on the exterior and varied some of the windows. It went through re-zoning, site plan approval - there was no public design review on this. The public would have gotten both, the original design would have been circulated and the final design would have come forward at the site plan approval stage."

It's a process that has an economic benefit that creates a positive marketing edge that has improved the quality and value of properties in other communities:banana:

ldoto
Jun 12, 2007, 6:25 AM
Tue, June 12, 2007

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA




In a prelude to a fight over how London grows and who pays for it, council members yesterday accused one another of hitting below the belt.

"Despite all that we hear about the code of conduct and bullying, it seems it's alive and well," Coun. Joni Baechler said in council chambers.

Baechler has pushed council to more closely manage how the city grows, as have three others on the planning committee, all of whom have last names beginning with the letter B -- Controller Gina Barber and Councillors Judy Bryant and Nancy Branscombe.

Detractors sometimes refer to them as the Killer Bs, a label that appeared in a Free Press article on Saturday.

Wearing a bee pin on her blouse, Baechler buzzed back at yesterday's planning committee meeting.

"I don't say there are members of council who are so far in developers' pockets they're spitting lint," she said.

Coun. Susan Eagle, also a proponent of more managed growth, took aim at Controller Gord Hume and Coun. Roger Caranci.

Both Hume and Caranci say they want growth to keep housing prices affordable, but both also opposed extra city money to support affordable housing during budget deliberations, Eagle said.

"I find that a little difficult to swallow," Eagle said.

The same could be said of the reaction of those on the other side of the debate, council members who are less concerned about managing growth and more concerned about it being stifling.

"I stick by my comments in the paper," Caranci said.

As for the term "Killer Bs", Caranci said, "I have heard it in the community, but I have never said it."

A number of councillors accused Eagle of playing word games by muddying the difference between what they want -- keeping housing affordable for workers -- and what she wants: Creating subsidized housing for those with little or no income.

"Not everyone wants to go and have the government hand them a home," Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen said. "(Some) want to work for it."

Though Branscombe is clearly on one side of the debate, she implored others to be civil.

"I beseech councillors to be careful with the name-calling. I don't thinks it furthers the debate," she said.

There's no doubt council will change the way it has allowed the city to grow after a blue ribbon panel, chosen with the agreement of developers, suggested changes.

But the question is how much -- and the answer could affect everything from property taxes to jobs.

Those pushing for the most change want council to take firm control over the reins of growth, targeting sections of the city a few at a time and being mindful that the public purse is limited -- the city has imposed an annual $30-million debt cap after past councils spent well beyond the city's means.

On the other side are those who believe council should, to a large extent, let developers and the private sector call the shots. To do otherwise, they say, risks an economic slowdown and job losses.

The debate on growth resumes tonight.

Tue, June 12, 2007

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA




In a prelude to a fight over how London grows and who pays for it, council members yesterday accused one another of hitting below the belt.

"Despite all that we hear about the code of conduct and bullying, it seems it's alive and well," Coun. Joni Baechler said in council chambers.

Baechler has pushed council to more closely manage how the city grows, as have three others on the planning committee, all of whom have last names beginning with the letter B -- Controller Gina Barber and Councillors Judy Bryant and Nancy Branscombe.

Detractors sometimes refer to them as the Killer Bs, a label that appeared in a Free Press article on Saturday.

Wearing a bee pin on her blouse, Baechler buzzed back at yesterday's planning committee meeting.

"I don't say there are members of council who are so far in developers' pockets they're spitting lint," she said.

Coun. Susan Eagle, also a proponent of more managed growth, took aim at Controller Gord Hume and Coun. Roger Caranci.

Both Hume and Caranci say they want growth to keep housing prices affordable, but both also opposed extra city money to support affordable housing during budget deliberations, Eagle said.

"I find that a little difficult to swallow," Eagle said.

The same could be said of the reaction of those on the other side of the debate, council members who are less concerned about managing growth and more concerned about it being stifling.

"I stick by my comments in the paper," Caranci said.

As for the term "Killer Bs", Caranci said, "I have heard it in the community, but I have never said it."

A number of councillors accused Eagle of playing word games by muddying the difference between what they want -- keeping housing affordable for workers -- and what she wants: Creating subsidized housing for those with little or no income.

"Not everyone wants to go and have the government hand them a home," Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen said. "(Some) want to work for it."

Though Branscombe is clearly on one side of the debate, she implored others to be civil.

"I beseech councillors to be careful with the name-calling. I don't thinks it furthers the debate," she said.

There's no doubt council will change the way it has allowed the city to grow after a blue ribbon panel, chosen with the agreement of developers, suggested changes.

But the question is how much -- and the answer could affect everything from property taxes to jobs.

Those pushing for the most change want council to take firm control over the reins of growth, targeting sections of the city a few at a time and being mindful that the public purse is limited -- the city has imposed an annual $30-million debt cap after past councils spent well beyond the city's means.

On the other side are those who believe council should, to a large extent, let developers and the private sector call the shots. To do otherwise, they say, risks an economic slowdown and job losses.

The debate on growth resumes tonight.

FazDeH
Jun 12, 2007, 10:36 AM
^^^ Looking at the picture of the hariston above,... thats the only design for the buidling Ive seen. Its nice and Im not complaining, but I think its funny that the city needed to get involved to avoid another big slab of concrete.
Also I was driving down Wharncliffe the other day and it looks like its around 14-16 floors now, does anyone have any recent pictures? Id love to see them :)

ldoto
Jun 16, 2007, 5:27 AM
Second Toyota Plant Set to Open in 2013

A second Toyota plant for Woodstock is moving past the rumour stage.

A background report for the City and Oxford County says Toyota expects to open a second assembly plant in Woodstock in six years.

Toyota's President, Yoichi Tomihara, was coy when he was asked by A-Channel News about the expansion while in London two nights ago.

But the consulting company Paradigm Transportation Solutions says it got its information from a study that Toyota itself commissioned.

The first plant, which will build the Rav-4 opens next year and will employ about 2000 workers.

It's on a 400-hectare site, which is unusually large for an auto operation.

That's what has prompted speculation of a future second plant.

ldoto
Jun 16, 2007, 3:55 PM
Hundreds of new lots could be unleashed

Sat, June 16, 2007

London city hall staff recommend the building lots be approved, calming fears of a shortage.

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



Hundreds of new building lots could soon become available in London, ending the development industry's fears that the city's red-hot growth could grind to a halt.

On Monday, city hall staff will report to two city council committees, recommending measures to clear a logjam of development approvals.

The move comes amid growing concern among developers that city hall is turning anti-growth.

Just this week, the industry formed a new lobby group -- Keep London Growing Coalition -- to drive home the message that thousands of area jobs hang in the balance.

"It will allow development to proceed and keep up with demand," Steve Janes, president of the London Development Institute, said of the staff recommendations.

Janes limited his comments, saying the institute is reviewing the recommendations.

But Janes said there may be as few as 500 unsold building lots left in the city, well below the 2,000-plus inventory officials say is required to meet demand and keep prices affordable.

Staff will make presentations to city council's planning and environment and transportation committees.

The number of lots that will come on the market isn't known.

Staff say there's potential for hundreds.

Staff recommend:

- Allowing a few small developments in the Stoney Creek area, where there's concern about erosion in the creek.

- An environmental assessment and approval of a trunk sewer in the Sunningdale area that should clear the way for high-end building lots developers say are needed.

- The removal of a hold on new subdivisions served by the Oxford sewage plant, including Hyde Park and Riverbend, because an expansion will be completed early next year.

Controller Gord Hume, who raised the alarm about approval delays, is pleased about the recommendations and hopeful city council gives a green light.

"It starts to break the logjam we've had," he said.

"We're starting to address the immediate problem, so this is a good step forward. But we've still got to solve the medium and long-term problems."

The debate comes as construction continues to boom in the London area.

Housing starts totalled 3,674 in 2006, the best year since 1989.

To date in 2007, there have been 1,380 housing starts, just two per cent behind the starts in the same period last year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said this month.

The city's Official Plan is under review and some developers, construction workers and unions worry that council may take steps to dampen growth, such as in growth management guidelines now being developed.

Some in the industry suggested city staff, sympathetic to an anti-growth faction on city council, were needlessly delaying approvals.

But staff say major technical issues, such as the need for more sewage capacity, were causing delays.

Two recent decisions of council -- one blocking a developer's plans for a plaza in the northeast and a community plan in the Riverbend area -- also fuelled fears in the industry.

A majority on council say they want to know the pricetag taxpayers face before opening up new areas to developments.

In recent years, city staff, some members of council and others have warned the city is growing in too many directions at a cost taxpayers can't absorb.

That's because some developments cost taxpayers millions of dollars up front for new infrastructure but take decades to refill city coffers.

Sunningdale is considered an expensive area to open up. Staff estimate it will cost taxpayers upwards of $7 million over the next five years, but take decades before that cost is recovered.

Hume said he expects a heated debate and at least some opposition from some members of council.

Coun. Joni Baechler, chair of planning committee, said she's leaning toward supporting staff's recommendations but first wants to hear from the public.

"Staff make a solid argument for us to go ahead with (Sunningdale)," she said.

"It is an expensive development (for taxpayers), but it's also been in the works for a long time. If it was new, we might put more weight on the expense."

QuantumLeap
Jun 16, 2007, 8:35 PM
Development News:
According to the City's Building Division, two new permits were approved for apartment buildings.
The first is the long-awaited Tricar 12 floor 137 unit at 1985 Richmond (eg Richmond Hill)
The second is the still longer-awaited Prespa 6 floor 43 unit at 435 Colborne (Woodfield Walk).
Expect both to start groundbreaking soon (if they haven't already- I am in Montreal right now!). The second is good evidence that there isn't a slowdown downtown, but it does mean that in about a year, there will be about 600 units hitting the market there. (Harriston, Renaissance I, 544 Talbot, Woodfield Walk)

As an aside, what do you think will be the next big project downtown- this is a poll.

1) Farhi's Library Tower
2) Drewlo's Locust Mount
3) Farhi's Richmond block tower
4) Southside/ Ridout group Clarence/King site
other...

QuantumLeap
Jun 17, 2007, 7:24 PM
Suburban sprawl is the most acute environmental problem faced by London today. Sprawl destroys valuable farmland; low densities and bad design ensure near total reliance on cars, contributing to smog and climate change. There are financial pains too: sprawl relies on a model promising that tomorrow’s growth will pay for the debts incurred by today’s.
Luckily, we are beginning to administer sprawl’s antidote : tighter planning controls, better accounting for costs and infill.
Infill is the intensification of development in built-up areas- denser neighbourhoods with easier access to shopping and jobs.
Infill is generally more cost-efficient and less car-dependent. Unfortunately, it often faces concerted opposition, even from those acknowledge the problems of sprawl.
To curb sprawl, infill cannot mean just a few houses on empty lots or new towers downtown- it involves substantial change to the look of our avenues, major nodes and many neighbourhoods.
Infill does not mean anything goes. Its success depends on sensitive design and planning, but it is also dependent on the acceptance of significant change in our city. Lip service will no longer do- it is high time that London get serious about infill. :tup:

FazDeH
Jun 17, 2007, 11:13 PM
"As an aside, what do you think will be the next big project downtown- this is a poll.

1) Farhi's Library Tower
2) Drewlo's Locust Mount
3) Farhi's Richmond block tower
4) Southside/ Ridout group Clarence/King site
other..."

The only developement Ive heard of was the library project, I couldnt really even find anything on the other projects. damn uselss google.
If theres any good sites/ information Id like to see it, please post links if possible :D

QuantumLeap
Jun 18, 2007, 5:02 PM
all of them are just rumoured developments. The Drewlo one is on Talbot near Mill. The Farhi one is Richmond and Central (behind Symposium, along the park).

ldoto
Jun 19, 2007, 4:22 PM
Tue, June 19, 2007

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



Measures to clear a logjam of development approvals and open up hundreds of new building lots now head to city council for approval.

With little opposition, council's planning and environment and transportation committees approved several reports to open up new lots.

The move comes amid growing concern among developers that city hall is turning anti-growth and that the number of lots for sale has dropped to a few hundred instead of the recommended 2,000.

Last week, the industry formed a lobby group -- Keep London Growing Coalition -- to drive home the message that thousands of area jobs hang in the balance.

If approved by city council, staff's recommendations would see at least 800 new lots come on stream this year, mostly in the area serviced by the expanding Oxford sewage treatment plant, Stoney Creek and the Medway Creek valley.

Not all committee members were supportive.

Controller Gina Barber opposed some of the Medway Creek Valley proposals after staff said it would cost more than $4 million to put in a trunk sewer with only a few hundred thousand in fees expected in the first five years.

ldoto
Jun 19, 2007, 4:27 PM
Update!
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/LDN20070618dr_biotron.jpg
ADVANCES IN RESEARCH: The Biotron at the University of Western Ontario should be opening in a couple of months. Science writers meeting in London this week toured the building yesterday.:banana:

ldoto
Jun 19, 2007, 4:30 PM
Double post!!!

ldoto
Jun 19, 2007, 4:31 PM
Update!
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/Ldn20070618SB_enterprise3.jpg
A construction worker stands out from the blue sky as he works on the new recreation centre at the University of Western Ontario. The centre will feature basketball courts squash courts and an Olympic-size pool.:tup:

FazDeH
Jun 19, 2007, 8:36 PM
SO thats what theyre building there! I've been trying to figure that out lol. Nice love squash

ldoto
Jun 20, 2007, 5:15 AM
Update!
A prized piece of London green space won't be home to an office tower, at least for now.

The City's Planning Committee has voted to turn down an office tower planned for Riverside and Wonderland.

Area residents say the land along the Thames has been zoned parkland and connects with the existing parks in the area.

City staff had recommended permitting a three story building geared to medical or dental practices.

Sifton Developments was looking for a five storey building which would include other uses on the ground floor including a restaurant.

The City and Sifton had been talking about a land swap or buyout of the land, but no deal has been worked out at this time.

If the committee's recommendation holds up at council next Monday, the issue will likely head to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Snashcan
Jun 20, 2007, 12:05 PM
Just a little bit of info from City Hall. My section right now is working on a small section of greenroof for the south east section of the parking garage roof.

QuantumLeap
Jun 20, 2007, 2:38 PM
Sounds like a neat project. I would really like to see most of the "Civic Centre" complex redeveloped, including the hideous and seldom-used Reg Cooper Sq. Most of the Wellington frontage should be sold for condos, retail etc.

Snashcan
Jun 20, 2007, 9:00 PM
Sounds like a neat project. I would really like to see most of the "Civic Centre" complex redeveloped, including the hideous and seldom-used Reg Cooper Sq. Most of the Wellington frontage should be sold for condos, retail etc.

Well there isn't much budget for it, but I know most want something done with it. Until there is a serious problem nothing will be done. There are some that want to build a New City Hall in the near future.

FazDeH
Jun 21, 2007, 1:29 AM
^^ Yeah good luck with that. The city needs 3x the ammount of sq. footage it pressently has at city hall and there is NO money to build a new structure of that size.

Snashcan
Jun 21, 2007, 3:20 AM
^^ Yeah good luck with that. The city needs 3x the ammount of sq. footage it pressently has at city hall and there is NO money to build a new structure of that size.


Oh I know that...I'm crammed in there...Our floor has budget to bring in 3-4 people and one possible desk

FazDeH
Jun 21, 2007, 4:32 AM
u work at city hall? very cool, so I guess your our inside guy at the city planning dept.

Snashcan
Jun 21, 2007, 9:38 PM
u work at city hall? very cool, so I guess your our inside guy at the city planning dept.

Just for now, (Summer Student) until end of August

ldoto
Jun 23, 2007, 1:57 PM
Sat, June 23, 2007

The city is trying to speed approval time for developers' proposals.

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



Major changes to how city hall handles development approvals are underway.

The aim is to shorten the approval time for development proposals to six months from the current 18-month average the industry says threatens thousands of jobs.

Changes under way or being considered:

- A file manager system in which a developer's application is stickhandled by one planner from beginning to end, with strict deadlines for approvals.

- Forming a new development department with existing planners, engineers and finance staff working together.

The file management system -- adopted from Calgary after a visit there last year by staff, council members and industry representatives -- should be up and running this fall.

"I think it will help the process, make it more efficient and more accountable and provide some certainty for us, in terms of time frames," said Steve Stapleton, vice-president of Auburn Developments.

"In our business, the worst thing is uncertainty."

Stapleton is the London Development Institute's representative on an implementation committee.

The group is fine-tuning the process, which will include strict deadlines for city hall but also a demand for a much higher quality of submission from developers.

David Ailles, the city's director of development services, is overseeing the process.

He said the current process "is not clear," and can lead to difficulties between staff. He cited the quality of applications and uncertain time frames, as well as blurred lines of authority, as problematic.

"This new system will assign accountability to everybody," Ailles said.

"We're telling the industry, 'You serve us quality (information and applications) up front and we'll get that back to you in X amount of time.' "

The industry has long complained of delays in approvals. The issue came to a head this month when the industry said thousands of building industry jobs are at risk this fall due to a shortage of building lots.

Developers blame a combination of foot-dragging at city hall and an anti-growth sentiment on city council.

They formed the Keep London Growing Coalition of union workers, trades people, builders, suppliers and developers to keep the pressure and focus on the issue.

In response, council approved measures this week that will open up at least 800 new lots.

Planning committee chair Coun. Joni Baechler said she welcomes the change, which will also include urban design.

"For the development industry, time is money and if they can save time and some money, that could also result in better-designed end products," she said.

Controller Gord Hume has led the push on council for change, including the possibility of a new department.

He said it's expected a new department won't require the hiring of new staff, but will give the development process a priority.

ldoto
Jun 24, 2007, 4:40 AM
An electronic sign keeps London Transit users up to date on the schedule as passengers board the Southcrest bus near the corner of Richmond Street and Dundas Street yesterday. The LTC is introducing the same technology citywide, and GPS units will track the location of each bus on its route. While the technology allows dispatchers to know when a bus is running ahead, behind, or on time, the new system also will allow transit users to go online and check bus schedules in real time.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/LDN20070620CGbustransit2.jpg:tup:

Waterlooson
Jun 24, 2007, 4:44 AM
Someone should go to Woodstock and post photos of all the industrial expansion (with Toyota etc.) going on. It's close enough to London.

flar
Jun 24, 2007, 5:07 AM
^^I drove by that construction today, it would be difficult to capture it in pictures. Massive amount of construction. Everything east of Woodstock is dug up and pretty much all the roads are under construction.

ldoto
Jun 25, 2007, 11:53 PM
Mon, June 25, 2007

One of the hottest council issues of the year may be settled at city hall tonight.

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA




One of the hottest city council issues of the year heads for a final resolution tonight.

Council is expected to turn down plans by Sifton Properties to build a five-storey office tower along the Thames River at Riverside Drive and Wonderland Road.

Meanwhile, The Free Press has learned the city is still negotiating with Sifton to buy the land or swap city-owned land.

"I don't want to pre-judge anything, but the expectation is that (this office tower proposal) will be refused by council," said planning committee chairperson Coun. Joni Baechler.

"This was one of the most well-attended (by the public) and most contentious issues I've seen since I came on council. So many people across the city are aware of it."

Baechler said the public expects council will endorse a planning committee recommendation rejecting Sifton's proposal for a five-storey tower.

Even pro-development Coun. Roger Caranci couldn't support the proposal.

"I won't support it, because I think the city should purchase it," he said. "We made a mist-ake years ago in not acquiring that land. It's a natural fit for the park system."

Residents opposed the development, arguing the land should remain zoned open space because the development would increase traffic, damage the river and harm the beauty of the area and the park.

Council members say the city should freeze all development along the river until a study on how to protect it is finished.

Those council members also point to work by a University of Western Ontario scientist who projects much more severe flooding caused by global warming.

As opposition grew, Sifton agreed to talk to the city about a land swap or purchase.

Sifton vice-president Phil Masschelein said he's hopeful a deal still can be reached with the city, though it will take time.

The city has put an offer of land on the table and the company is reviewing it. No other details were available and Masschelein said it "could take some time."

"We're still talking, so that's good," Masschelein said. "We haven't given the city any deadlines and they haven't given us any, so we'll just have to see where it goes from here. But I am hopeful we can come to some sort of agreement."

Monica Jarabek, who spearheaded opposition as chairperson of the Oakridge Riverside Community Association, said she's encouraging the community to keep up the pressure and attend tonight's meeting.

"We want to remind council of the unprecedented response from the community," she said.

"It's going to end up having a huge impact on city policy as a precedent."

ldoto
Jun 26, 2007, 12:29 AM
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/Ldn20070618SB_city8.jpg

smog days of summer: Smog hangs like a blue haze over the city of London. A smog alert is in effect today and Londons air quality has been ranked some of the poorest in the country.:yuck:

FazDeH
Jun 26, 2007, 10:15 PM
^^^ Nice view though lol, well if you could see the buildings through the smog

ldoto
Jun 27, 2007, 9:43 AM
Wed, June 27, 2007

By NORMAN DE BONO, SUN MEDIA



London-based Auburn Developments is building a $250 million development in downtown Waterloo called the BarrelYards, Jamie Crich, Auburn president, said yesterday.

"It is very rare to find a large chunk of land like this where you are able to do a development of this nature," said Crich.

"Waterloo has done a great job revitalizing their town and this is a great canvas, all the ingredients are there for a great development."

The five-hectare development at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive includes:

- Two 25-storey condominium towers.

- Four apartment towers, two 21-storeys high, one 18-storeys high, one 12-storeys high.

- 12 townhouses.

- 10 lowrise mixed-use residential and retail units.

- Two hotels with 280 rooms.

- 230,000 square feet of office and retail space.

- 2,250 parking spaces, most of which would be in a two-level underground garage.

"We always try to go to communities we feel are growing and vibrant and keep our eye open for a nice piece of land," said Crich.

The City of Waterloo has restricted highrise and high-density development in the core, wanting to keep a small city feel to its downtown -- but recently waived that, paving the way for the high-density development.

"We are really excited, really looking forward to getting going on this," he added.

Construction could start this fall and take four to seven years, said Crich. Auburn bought the site in 2005.

In London, Auburn is building a $30-million 23-storey highrise at 500 Ridout St.

ldoto
Jun 28, 2007, 12:03 AM
Mon, June 25, 2007

The Salvation Army is demolishing the two buildings beside its Centre of Hope.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/LDN20070624MLSALARMY.jpg:tup:

A pair of downtown eyesores are biting the dust. :cheers:

Vacant properties at 257 and 267 Wellington St., near Horton Street, are being demolished by their new owner, the Salvation Army.

The Army, which bought the properties beside its Centre of Hope about six months ago, says it might eventually construct a new building to expand existing programs or put in low-income housing units on the site.

But, in the short-term, the land will be turned into a parking lot with a fence and trees along the Wellington Street side.

"The buildings were not structurally good so we're taking them down to reclaim the land and make better use of it," said Perron Goodyear, community liaison co-ordinator for the Salvation Army.

Demolition should be finished by Wednesday.

Maj. Neil Lewis, executive director of the Centre of Hope, said that, as a property owner, the Army believes it has a responsibility to improve the surrounding area.

"One of the terrible things about this area is that it's looked at as an eyesore," Lewis said. "We wanted to ensure that when we purchased land we would be able do something to help the look of the community and the area.

We've got different ideas . . . (but) we're cramped in the building so we're looking to free up space and expand programs by putting a new building up.":banana:

ldoto
Jun 28, 2007, 9:43 AM
London core in demand:tup:

Thu, June 28, 2007

Out-of-area investors like it because it has plenty of properties at good prices.:banana:

Workers last year put a fresh coat of paint on Club Phoenix. New owners, Eats Enterprises, who are opening a Moxie’s restaurant in the former bar, plan to restore the exterior.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/2007/lfpbusiness.jpg

Downtown London is in demand as more out-of-town investors are lining up to buy core properties, real estate observers say. :banana:

The city has seen a jump in investors from outside the area buying property downtown, looking to park their money in the city because it offers good value, and property in the Greater Toronto Area is scarce they agreed.

"This year I have seen a lot of interest from out of town, especially in the downtown," said Chris Kirwin, broker with Colliers International office in London. "They see London as a growing city, with a good economy. This is exciting for London."

A downtown parking lot was recently bought by London developer Shmuel Farhi for $7.6 million, but a New York investor was also bidding on the same lot, he added.

Of the approximately 20 transactions in the city he has completed this year, about 80 per cent were out-of-town buyers, said Kirwin.


Among the recent buys from outside London:

- 352 Richmond St. will see commercial development on the main floor and 14 apartments upstairs.

- 150 Dundas St., a 20,000 sq. ft. commercial space, is undergoing an"enormous amount" of renovations, said Kirwin.

- 291 King St. will see two commercial developments on site.

- 441 Richmond St., Club Phoenix, will become Moxie's after businesspeople from Winnipeg invested in the business.

"It is great news. Downtown London is a good deal right now for investors, but they will still face problems finding tenants," said George Kerhoulas, vice-president with Cushman Wakefield LePage.

"The biggest news in the city right now is that major employers downtown are all getting bigger -- London Life, TD Canada Trust, Citibank (parent to Citi Cards) are all employing more people downtown," said Kerhoulas.

The residential market remains strong downtown with two 28-storey apartment towers planned by Tricar Developments at the corner of King and Ridout streets, a 23-storey, 200-unit apartment building at Ridout Street and Dufferin Avenue by Auburn Developments, a 40-unit condominium under construction on Colborne Street by the Prespa Group, a 15-storey, $25-million condominium building constructed by Old Oak Properties at Talbot and Kent streets and on Dundas Street by Market Lane, 25 units of affordable housing have been built.

Drewlo's two-tower, 400-unit apartment project at Colborne and Dundas streets, have been completed. :cheers:

MolsonExport
Jun 28, 2007, 1:20 PM
thanks for some good news. Moxie's is ersatz, but it will bring many people into the core (and less of the kind that the Phoenix brought in).

Downtown London is on the cusp of future greatness or banality.

ldoto
Jun 29, 2007, 5:51 AM
Club Phoenix rises as mega-Moxie's

Thu, June 28, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA



A new Moxie's is rising from the ashes of Club Phoenix.

Make that a mega-Moxie's.

Winnipeg-based Eats Enterprises has bought the recently-closed nightclub on Richmond Row and will renovate it as their second Moxie's Classic Grill franchise in London.

"We think we can be a big part of downtown revitalization. We're excited about being a couple of blocks from the John Labatt Centre," said Paul Randle, the company's director of operations.

Moxie's Classic Grill is a Calgary-based chain with about 50 corporate and franchised locations in Western Canada and Ontario.

Eats Enterprise now operates 12 Moxie's franchises including the first London location on Wellington Road South which opened in February last year.

"It's No. 1 in our franchise group. We've been ecstatic with the reception we've had in London," said Randle.

By next spring Eats Enterprises will open five more Moxie's franchises but the new downtown London restaurant will be the biggest. Company president Brad Houghton said the standard Moxie's is about 7,300 square feet but the Richmond Row location will total almost 11,000 square feet on two levels, not counting a multi-level outdoor patio.

Renovations will begin in about three months and the restaurant should open next spring.

Houghton said the exterior will be restored to its original look. That should please heritage activists and city councillors who protested loudly when the building was painted cherry red in 2002 as part of the renovations to create Club Phoenix. The building was later repainted black.

The new restaurant will employ about 130 people. Although Moxie's launched an aggressive hiring campaign for its first restaurant, Houghton believes it will be easier on the second location.

"Last time we had zero brand awareness. This time most people who want to work for us would know who we are."

Although there have been a number of violent incidents in the Richmond Row in recent years, especially at bar closing time, Houghton said it is not a concern for his company.

"With our standard Moxie's clientele, we have never needed . . . security measures. It's an older crowd."

Club Phoenix, with capacity for more than 1,500 people, was one of the largest establishments of its kind in southwestern Ontario.

Majority owner Sal Pacifico Pacifico said some media coverage unfairly linked the club to violent incidents in the area and scared away patrons, hurting business.

The club's owners have filed a lawsuit against A-Channel in London and the Gazette student newspaper at the University of Western Ontario.

Mainstreet London manager Janette MacDonald said the new Moxie's will be a big boost for a downtown that has seen many chain operations leave for the suburbs over the years.

"These guys know what they doing and the fact they have faith in their business plan downtown is really gratifying for us," said MacDonald.
:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

WaterlooInvestor
Jun 29, 2007, 12:57 PM
London-based Auburn Developments is building a $250 million development in downtown Waterloo called the BarrelYards, Jamie Crich, Auburn president, said yesterday.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa262/AndrewEH/TheRecord-2007Jun26-A04.jpg

It will be an awesome development for Uptown Waterloo. That very same day, it was announced the Balsillie School of International Affairs will be located across from that site (thanks to $50 million of donations from Jim Balsillie). To give you an idea how busy June 25, 2007 was for Waterloo Region, the Centre Block Proposal was unveiled for Downtown Kitchener on that very same day. Waterloo Region is booming, so tell more developers to come check us out :)

karol
Jul 2, 2007, 7:20 AM
Hey guys, this is my first post on the forum.
I'm about to move to London/Ontario, however I don't know much about the city. Could you recomend me a good area of the city to rent an appartment? The
things I'm most concern about is acces to public transport (my future job-place is at Fullarton street), crime level (the lower the better in case someone
thinks otherwise ;D) shops in walkable distance... well, usual stuff :). I prefer live in quiet, clean area rather than downtown with drung angry people
around everynight :)
So far I've heard I should avoid area called EOA, is it really that bad?

thanks in advance,
Karol

SlickFranky
Jul 3, 2007, 12:42 AM
Hey...my first post is a reply to another first post:)

I've been renting in London for 7 years or so now, and I've found that the price of a place will almost exactly dictate how good of a neighborhood your looking at.

EOA (East of Adelaide) is full of bargains, but along with that you do get crack-heads, prostitutes, and the like. I live there currently and truthfully the residential area is not bad, but the commercial area is derelict, and my neighbor is a drug dealer. Dundas St. is great from a transit perspective though.

Next month I'm moving to Wortley Village. A little pricier, but much nicer. There are no crackies or hookers, a nice little retail strip (including the city's best coffee shop, and a full grocery store), though transit is not nearly as good, but still better that most neighborhoods.

Good luck in your search Karol

MolsonExport
Jul 3, 2007, 1:32 AM
Hey guys, this is my first post on the forum.
I'm about to move to London/Ontario, however I don't know much about the city. Could you recomend me a good area of the city to rent an appartment? The
things I'm most concern about is acces to public transport (my future job-place is at Fullarton street), crime level (the lower the better in case someone
thinks otherwise ;D) shops in walkable distance... well, usual stuff :). I prefer live in quiet, clean area rather than downtown with drung angry people
around everynight :)
So far I've heard I should avoid area called EOA, is it really that bad?

thanks in advance,
Karol

Welcome to London. I am relatively new here (2 years). I might recommend anything along Wonderland Road (I used to live at Wonderland near Viscount, across from Westmount Mall). Proudfoot Lane has plenty of decent apartment stock as well. Stay away from East-Of-Adelaide (EOA), as well as Pond Mills, and White Oaks. Near the University, there is lots of stock, but it is either overwhelmingly student residents, or old folks. Wortley village and Old South are awesome areas, as is Old North.

flar
Jul 3, 2007, 2:22 AM
karol, for non-suburban, non-downtown, Old South is your best bet. Otherwise there are many nice suburban areas, mainly on the west side of London.

QuantumLeap
Jul 3, 2007, 6:58 AM
Agreed. Old South is the best neighbourhood outside of Downtown. Also you might check out the Stanley/ Wharncliffe area, or Woodfield (Colborne and Dufferin).

QuantumLeap
Jul 4, 2007, 9:29 AM
this is from the TRM website:
http://www.atrm.on.ca/residential_06.html

Snashcan
Jul 4, 2007, 9:10 PM
this is from the TRM website:
http://www.atrm.on.ca/residential_06.html

Not nearly as good as it looks in those few pics...trust me

ldoto
Jul 5, 2007, 1:32 AM
Update!

Excavation has begun on a 43-unit luxury condominium at 435 Colborne St. near Queen Street in downtown London. The building, to be known as Woodfield Walk, is being built by Prespa Construction of St. Thomas. The building will feature two floors of underground parking. The project is scheduled for completion next June. A former bingo hall was demolished in 2005 to make room for the project.:tup:

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/News%20Paper%20Photos/LDN20070703dr_hole.jpg

QuantumLeap
Jul 6, 2007, 7:55 PM
thanks for that pic. Any progress at 180 Mill (just W of Richmond)?

ldoto
Jul 8, 2007, 4:03 AM
Jul, 06 2007 - 12:50 PM


The Canadian economy churned out 35-thousand new full-time jobs in June, after taking a break the previous two months.
But Statistics Canada says that was offset by a loss of 28-thousand part-time jobs -- keeping the employment rate steady for the fifth straight month at 6.1 per cent.
While the rate in Ontario was up slightly, In the London area the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.9 percent....:tup:

On London Mornings with Joe Duchesne... John Kime of the London Economci Development corporation called the figure good, and somewhat surprising news..., based on what is happening in the car industry

adam-machiavelli
Jul 8, 2007, 5:58 AM
Seems to me the loss of Phoenix will be a catastrophic loss for present and future UWO students. I know at least 2 people who aren't going to UWO anymore because Phoenix closed. Do you think this is a typical response or are they just dumb and shallow?

Snashcan
Jul 8, 2007, 4:21 PM
Seems to me the loss of Phoenix will be a catastrophic loss for present and future UWO students. I know at least 2 people who aren't going to UWO anymore because Phoenix closed. Do you think this is a typical response or are they just dumb and shallow?

Dumb and Shallow

The Phoenix was popular with a certain crowd, but it was falling out of favour with most

Snark
Jul 8, 2007, 5:09 PM
..

MolsonExport
Jul 9, 2007, 3:31 AM
I am glad, then. So that I will not have to waste my time instructing such retarded deadbeats.

upinottawa
Jul 9, 2007, 2:16 PM
The loss of the Ridout Tavern was 1000 times more significant.

Let's face it, clubs and bars open, close, reopen, burn down, etc. all the time. In two years Phoenix will only be some city in the desert to most UWO students.

flar
Jul 9, 2007, 5:05 PM
The Ridout?

ldoto
Jul 11, 2007, 1:15 AM
Tue, July 10, 2007

Thirteen years later, Londoners embrace this international musical extravaganza.

By JENNIFER O'BRIEN, SUN MEDIA



It won't work in London.

We aren't "ethnic" enough.

Nobody will come. :tup:

Alfredo Caxaj smiled yesterday, recalling the wall of doom he faced 13 years ago before his first international Sunfest.

"It gets bigger every year, but this year was absolutely the biggest -- we think there were about 250,000 people," Caxaj, the event's co-founder, said yesterday of the turnout for the four-day event that ended this past weekend. :cheers:

The crowds that flocked to Victoria Park were just what Caxaj imagined in 1994, when he and a partner tried but failed to get enough funding or sponsors for the first Sunfest.

In 1995, they did it, despite criticism London was "too white" for an international music event, Caxaj, now the event's artistic director, said.

About 10,000 people, not close to the latest turnout, showed up for the debut Sunfest, also in the park," he said.

The transformation has been remarkable, he said.

"You . . . look out and see waves of people coming toward the park. Not a family, not 10 people, but hundreds."

"And they are bringing lawnchairs. It's incredible."

While there's no official headcount for Sunfest, and no admission, Caxaj counts on donations and anecdotes from vendors to determine crowds.

"This was definitely the best," said Bill Geris of the London Beefeaters football team, who has volunteered at the beer tent for several years.

"We sold 425 cases of beer." :cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

Caxaj believes the crowds keep coming and keep growing because almost all the acts at Sunfest are new.

But he also credits London's changing demographics.

"Thirteen years back, the city was a different place," said Caxaj, who came to Canada from Guatemala more than 20 years ago.

"The city is changing, and this festival is about inclusiveness and reflecting society.

"You can see it. You come here and see Africans enjoying Latin American music and Latin Americans enjoying African music.

"I've seen Jews and Palestinians dancing together and Latin Americans from different political persuasions dancing."

Caxaj said it's become easier to get sponsors, who realize an international festival might be a good place to advertise.

"I think the people at Bell (Canada) know that people with family outside Canada are going to make lots of long-distance phone calls," he said, as an example.

With about 80,000 immigrants believed to be living in London, one in five city residents was foreign-born. :notacrook:

The city also reportedly has Canada's highest per-capita ratio of immigrant refugees.

But despite major promises from city hall about embracing cultural diversity, Caxaj said Sunfest has had a "pathetic" lack of support from the municipality.

"We received more funding from the province of Quebec (than the city)," he said, referring to a grant of about $10,000 from Quebec for promoting French Canadian talent.

ldoto
Jul 11, 2007, 1:27 AM
Work on the former Monsignor Feeney Centre may begin by late summer.:notacrook:

The province will pay to restore the outside of the former Monsignor Feeney Centre, the "jewel" of London's heritage buildings, ending years of uncertainty about its future.

But who will own the Old South landmark, now owned by the province, and how it'll be used, remain unknown.

Res toration of the crumbling exterior of the former London Normal School -- one of Ontario's first teachers' colleges built in 1898 -- will begin in late summer or early fall and take up to two years to complete, London West MPP Chris Bentley said yesterday.

"The essential thing is the heritage and the grounds will be preserved," Bentley, Ontario's colleges and universities minister, said on the steps of the towered building fenced off to keep the public away from falling masonry.

"Taking care of the exterior will help us find a tenant and it will protect the inside of the building from the elements." :banana: :banana:

ldoto
Jul 11, 2007, 11:53 PM
London's apartment- construction boom last year was thought be a one-time wonder.

Apparently not.

Multiple-unit housing starts will again top 1,000 in the London-St. Thomas market this year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. predicts.

Bucking the Ontario trend, in which multiple housing construction is down nearly 24 per cent this year, new apartments keep rising in London.

Among the reasons cited: a buoyant city economy and a low apartment vacancy rate.

Last month's numbers were especially good, with 424 multiple housing starts, the best total for a June since 1991.


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a138/ldoto/News%20Paper%20Photos/LDN20070710SRapartment2.jpg
^^
Last month's activity was driven by apartments and condominiums, including a 137-unit condo building at 1985 Richmond St. N. developed by the Tricar Group.


Single, detached home starts fell compared to last June.

Several other large apartment projects could get started by year's end, prompting the prediction of 1,000 starts for 2007, said Penny Wu, a CMHC analyst.

Developers, she said, appear confident the market for new units is there.

"There are close to 2,000 units that are now under construction, so builders are not afraid of an oversupply," said Wu.

Construction starts on 1,128 apartments last year helped London set a yearly record for building permits.

Despite all the building, an April CMHC survey showed London had an apartment vacancy rate of 3.7 per cent, slightly below the Ontario rate of 3.9 per cent.

The low vacancy rate shows the strength of the city's housing market, said Peter Whatmore, senior vice-president of CB Richard Ellis, adding he's confident the rental market won't become flooded.

"Jobs are being created in London, retirees are moving in and the economy supports more residential growth, so it's a combination of things," he said.

He said London is doing better than other Ontario markets such as Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto, because land for development here is more available and affordable. :banana: :banana:

Rocky Cerminara, the city's director of building controls, said the city has issued permits for 477 multiple housing units so far this year.

He's also received an application for another 120-unit building.

Other projects on the horizon include a 300-unit building at Wharncliffe Road near Commissioners Road and a development of 136 seniors' units at the site of the former McCormick Home at Victoria and Richmond streets.

He said permits for single and semi-detached units are keeping pace with last year.

While commercial building permits are down, industrial and institutional permits are up sharply. The total value of building permits for the first half of the year was $385 million, up 3.2 per cent from the same period last year.

Still, Cerminara doubts the city will top last year's $772- million record in permits.

"You can bet the bank we will not hit that again. Interest rates are climbing and the number of applications coming in are slowing down," he said.

ldoto
Jul 20, 2007, 4:25 AM
Fanshawe hospitality program moves downtown

Thu, July 19, 2007

By NORMAN DE BONO, SUN MEDIA



Fanshawe College is looking for a new home for its hospitality program in downtown London.

The college’s school of tourism and hospitality boasts 600 students and with little room left on campus it needs a larger building, said Fanshawe president Howard Rundle. :banana: :banana:

Moving the school downtown offers the college an opportunity to locate it near hotels and restaurants, adding to the educational experience, he said.

“Our program has been growing rapidly over the past decade and, with an aging population, we think it will continue to expand, but to do that we need to move components of it downtown.”

Moving it to the core will make it easier for students to work in hotels and restaurants as part of the co-operative education component of the course, Rundle said.

“It should be where the people are, not at the edge of the city. It would make for a higher quality of training, it will take it up a notch.”

The college’s restaurant, Saffron, operated by the hospitality division, will remain on campus.

Lindsey Elwood, past president of the London Downtown Business Association, praised the move, saying 600 more people downtown will aid revitalization efforts.

“This is wonderful news. There are no drawbacks to putting 600 more people downtown. The more activity, the better.”

Luc Van Den Heuvel, president of the London Hotel and Motel Association, also praised the move, saying it will mean better co-operation between the business community and the school.

“It’s a great idea, putting it by hotels and restaurants is fabulous. It will make the schools much more accessible and it’s a good expansion for the downtown,” said the manager of the TraveLodge on Exeter Road.

The school’s enrolment is growing at a rate of four per cent a year, and shows no sign of slowing, said David Belford, dean of the faculty of business at the college, under which the hospitality school is administered.

“We have to have a relationship with various hospitality businesses in London and this move would make that possible,” said Belford.

The college will need funding from the provincial government to make the move, as it will need to build a culinary school into whatever space it moves to, Rundle said.

Fanshawe is looking at several sites, including the former library building on Queens Avenue.

“This is an idea we had over the last few years and we have quietly looked at many locations. It will happen when we find something that works and when we have a funding plan to pay for it,” Rundle said.

It may take about two years before a new downtown school opens, he said.

The school trains in all aspects of food service, including hotel and restaurant management, cooking, and travel agents. :notacrook:

ldoto
Jul 22, 2007, 2:47 PM
It's been featured in calendars and television commercials. But there are major changes tonight surrounding one of London's most prized historical sites.

Labatt Park Supporters Disapprove of New Look (SEE VIDEO)
Construction Project a Problem
http://www.achannel.ca/london/news_45927.aspx

The next time next time you drive across the Queens Avenue bridge you'll be able to see inside Labatt Park more easily thanks to a major new construction project.



But what's on the field may not be what you're expecting.

ldoto
Jul 24, 2007, 12:47 AM
http://keeplondongrowing.ca/index.html

I think you guys should check this site out too.

This is what I got from the city Council, Board of Control when I sent them an e-mail!!!!!:haha:


Dear Mike,

Thank you for contacting me about the importance of growth in London.
I appreciate your concern about job security which is important for individuals, their families and the community at large.

I do wish to point out that we have seen in the past year an unprecedented number of housing starts in the London area, about 3600 according to a report a week or so ago.

In fact, construction is so hot right now that it is difficult for homeowners to find help in undertaking renovation projects. The city is getting fewer bids on its construction tenders because contractors have so much on their plate already.

While this activity has been a boon to the city, we realize that it cannot be supported in the long run. We are not seeing the population increases to warrant sustained building at this level, and the city does not have the financial resources to build and maintain the infrastructure associated with greenfield development all around the city.

If there are sufficient numbers who want to live in new developments, we are going to have to ensure that we build out one area before embarking on a new one.

We cannot continue to grow in all directions at once.
Additionally, there is the problem of the Urban Works Reserve Fund which is running a significant notional deficit.

Already the wait time for reimbursement to the developer is more than five years.
This is hard on smaller players and lenders don’t want to wait forever.
The Blue Ribbon panel of experts has informed the city that we need to get this under control.

There is much that can be done without digging up what was formerly agricultural land.
Infill development, when properly designed to fit into the existing community, is environmentally-friendly and makes good use of existing infrastructure.

And the good news is that it requires more and better-trained labour than greenfield development.

Similarly additions, retrofitting and renovations are labour-intensive.
It is possible to have more and better housing and jobs without constantly adding new lots and the associated infrastructure.
Lastly, we need to renew our existing infrastructure- roads, curbs, sewers- all of which require construction workers.

These kinds of projects are kind to taxpayers and the environment while making our city a better place for all to live.
And it keeps jobs in London!

Sincerely,*********

QuantumLeap
Jul 24, 2007, 7:09 AM
I don't quite understand- you are part of the growth coalition, or you are happy with the response you got?

ldoto
Jul 25, 2007, 1:41 AM
Tue, July 24, 2007

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



Locust Mount -- one of London's prized heritage buildings -- will be restored, not demolished.

Years of uncertainty ended yesterday when Drewlo Holdings Ltd. announced plans to restore the 147-year-old Talbot Street building once home to Elijah Leonard, a former London mayor and senator.

"The (city's incentives) benefits the community by saving heritage structures without imposing the total financial burden on the individual property owner," a company press release stated.

Company spokesperson Alan Drewlo could not be reached for comment.

But heritage enthusiasts across the city were elated.

"We're thrilled," said John Manness, chair of the Heritage London Foundation. "It tells us heritage properties can co-exist with modern developments. It's . . . a beautiful example of the Georgian style."

Controller Gord Hume, who chaired the Creative City task force that recommended preservation of heritage buildings to entice young, creative people to stay or come to London, was also pleased.

"This is great news," said Hume. "It took a while to find a solution, but we got it done. This is a win for everybody."

Hume praised Drewlo for trying to find a solution. He said developers are buying into city council's push for high urban design standards and creativity.

"What makes London so unique is we have so many century-plus heritage properties and more people are realizing that it's a great asset."

Steve Janes, president of the London Development Institute, said the city's new incentives to preserve heritage buildings are paying off.

"It makes it possible because old heritage buildings require a tremendous amount of work and this is a way for the city to encourage developers to preserve them," said Janes.

The city is offering two key incentives across the city, instead of just the core area, under the new Heritage Community Improvement Plan:

- Tax incentive grant, where owners are refunded a portion of the tax increase resulting from an improvement to a heritage property.

- The development charges equivalent grant, where the owner is refunded development charges equivalent to the value of the property preserved and the costs associated with incorporating it into a development.

The total grants can't exceed the cost of restoration or incorporation into a project.

Locust Mount was damaged by fire in 2000, with repairs estimated at several hundred thousand dollars.

Leonard served as London's mayor in 1857 and as a senator from 1867 to 1891.

Drewlo has indicated it wants to build condominiums on the site. The company applied for a demolition permit in 2003, but agreed to defer the application to allow the city and heritage enthusiasts to find a solution.

City council then agreed to defer designating the property.

Last year, the Ontario government gave cities power to protect heritage buildings without the consent of landlords. The old rules allowed only a delay.

ldoto
Jul 30, 2007, 11:30 PM
LONDON - A huge investment is coming to St. Thomas...:tup:
Takumi Stamping Canada.... will build an 88 thousand square foot facility in the Highbury industrial park on 19 acres of land the company recently purchased...

The initial investment is 14 million dollars, with plans for phase two involving a nearly doubling of the plant size to 170 thousand square feet...

Takumi stamping will supply the new Toyota plant in Woodstock ...

100 workers will be hired in the first phase... and that number will double after phase two is completed..

Construction begins August 17th. Production should be underway in 2008.

MolsonExport
Jul 31, 2007, 1:43 PM
Tue, July 24, 2007

By JOE BELANGER, SUN MEDIA



Locust Mount -- one of London's prized heritage buildings -- will be restored, not demolished.

Years of uncertainty ended yesterday when Drewlo Holdings Ltd. announced plans to restore the 147-year-old Talbot Street building once home to Elijah Leonard, a former London mayor and senator.

"The (city's incentives) benefits the community by saving heritage structures without imposing the total financial burden on the individual property owner," a company press release stated.

Company spokesperson Alan Drewlo could not be reached for comment.

But heritage enthusiasts across the city were elated.

"We're thrilled," said John Manness, chair of the Heritage London Foundation. "It tells us heritage properties can co-exist with modern developments. It's . . . a beautiful example of the Georgian style."

Controller Gord Hume, who chaired the Creative City task force that recommended preservation of heritage buildings to entice young, creative people to stay or come to London, was also pleased.

"This is great news," said Hume. "It took a while to find a solution, but we got it done. This is a win for everybody."

Hume praised Drewlo for trying to find a solution. He said developers are buying into city council's push for high urban design standards and creativity.

"What makes London so unique is we have so many century-plus heritage properties and more people are realizing that it's a great asset."

Steve Janes, president of the London Development Institute, said the city's new incentives to preserve heritage buildings are paying off.

"It makes it possible because old heritage buildings require a tremendous amount of work and this is a way for the city to encourage developers to preserve them," said Janes.

The city is offering two key incentives across the city, instead of just the core area, under the new Heritage Community Improvement Plan:

- Tax incentive grant, where owners are refunded a portion of the tax increase resulting from an improvement to a heritage property.

- The development charges equivalent grant, where the owner is refunded development charges equivalent to the value of the property preserved and the costs associated with incorporating it into a development.

The total grants can't exceed the cost of restoration or incorporation into a project.

Locust Mount was damaged by fire in 2000, with repairs estimated at several hundred thousand dollars.

Leonard served as London's mayor in 1857 and as a senator from 1867 to 1891.

Drewlo has indicated it wants to build condominiums on the site. The company applied for a demolition permit in 2003, but agreed to defer the application to allow the city and heritage enthusiasts to find a solution.

City council then agreed to defer designating the property.

Last year, the Ontario government gave cities power to protect heritage buildings without the consent of landlords. The old rules allowed only a delay.


A mountain of locusts? Change the name. Likewise, would you want to live on Cheapside (major street in London).

Snashcan
Aug 1, 2007, 12:50 AM
I waqs at the planning committee meeting about the UGB, it's good to see most of council agree. All the staff know we don't need to expand.

ldoto
Aug 1, 2007, 11:10 PM
Tower fight goes to OMB

Wed, August 1, 2007

Sifton disputes the city's rejection of its plan for Riverside Drive and Wonderland Road.

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA



Sifton Properties is challenging the city's rejection of its plans for a riverside office tower that drew nearly universal opposition from neighbours.

Sifton filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on the eve of a deadline this week to challenge city council's unanimous rejection June 25 of a five-storey building that would overlook the Thames River at Riverside Drive and Wonderland Road.

Company officials say they will continue to seek a negotiated settlement with the city but want to preserve the option of a legal challenge.

The challenge by Sifton upset Monica Jarabek, who spearheaded opposition as the chairperson of the Oakridge Riverside Community Association.

"We're disappointed (Sifton has) taken this tactic," she said yesterday.

But Jarabek remained hopeful Sifton will accept a city offer to buy the land for as much as $500,000 -- which includes $400,000, the price Sifton paid for the land, and expenses up to $100,000.

"We're still hopeful they'll accept the (offer) and show their good corporate citizenship," she said.

Sifton officials have said $100,000 fails to cover their costs and they expect a profit from their investment.

Sifton bought the prime 0.8-hectare parcel and planned to build an office tower that would serve as its "signature" building in London.

While residents of Oakridge Acres and beyond decried the effect the office might have on the area and the adjacent Thames River, Sifton officials say their proposal meets the objectives of city and Ontario policies and warrants changing the zoning of the land from open space to commercial.

London city staff proposed a compromise no one wanted, a three-storey office with 60 per cent less floor space.

The proposed development led council to reconsider freezing development along the river, its concerns heightened by research that projects more severe flooding along the Thames caused by global warming. The OMB has not set a date for a hearing.

ldoto
Aug 1, 2007, 11:17 PM
Update!

New tower!!
Here's some more good news for the downtown!!!!

Take a look cool....


http://council.london.ca/Planning%20Committee%20Agendas/2006-02-27%20Agenda/Item%2011.pdf

MolsonExport
Aug 2, 2007, 12:41 AM
I was unable to access the file^ :(

Snark
Aug 2, 2007, 1:26 AM
..

ldoto
Aug 2, 2007, 1:53 AM
:previous:
Try it again MolsonExport:tup:

FazDeH
Aug 2, 2007, 4:38 AM
^^^ thats not bad looking, I was afraid we were going for another commie block building. though its funny that this design style has become a common choice in the city. Its nice but I WANT MORE GLASS!!!!

GreatTallNorth2
Aug 2, 2007, 12:45 PM
We all want more glass towers or towers with some design element. I think Farhi is the only developer in town that wants to build a classy tower. Remember his proposal? It was about 28-30 stories and was going to cost $100 million to build. It looked much better than the current crop of towers. I hope Farhi eventually builds something. Maybe some Toronto developers will start looking outside the GTA to build. With all the "talk" of London being a creative city, you would think that the council would push for buildings to look a little more creative.

Anyways, the more buildings, the better. One question...this proposal says August 2006. Is this building still in the works?

MolsonExport
Aug 2, 2007, 1:52 PM
Okay, it works. Wish it were in the heart of downtown.

I propose a moratorium on any new commie blocks. They are still being erected near the Costco on Wonderland.

FazDeH
Aug 2, 2007, 4:45 PM
^^^"It was about 28-30 stories and was going to cost $100 million to build" yeah it was the library project and it was beautiful. He pulled out after Rennaisance went into development. As far as I recall he felt there was to much competition. which is sad, that and the whole parking thing. Now Windsor is getting the investment that should have been made here. Good for them bad for us. Im sure he'll build something eventually. but yeah more glass would be great. And who knows maybe the council will push for more "creative buildings" but mostly they are content with the status quoe.

Snark
Aug 2, 2007, 11:21 PM
..

WhipperSnapper
Aug 3, 2007, 3:39 AM
^I don't buy that as London's architecture is more the exception than the rule (not to mention land costs are by far the largest determining factor for the higher prices in Toronto)

WaterlooInvestor
Aug 3, 2007, 5:12 AM
I don't buy that either. You don't even need to look further than your own city to find a developer, London-based Auburn Developments, who proposed and has now been approved to build two 25 storey glass condos in Waterloo (part of a similar sized metro as London). The other glass towers being proposed in my metro have a projected sale price of $300/sq. foot. Victoria, a smaller metro, has some amazing glass towers being proposed.

London has some great things to attract young people downtown (JLC, etc..) and has a good university to pump out young professionals (Western), but in order to keep these young professionals modern condos need to be built. It's too bad the Time Condo project also fell through since it looked interesting for young people.

SlickFranky
Aug 3, 2007, 1:11 PM
I think some of those Time condos (the one on King near Richmond???) are still listed on MLS...I remember seeing them there a few weeks ago anyway.

QuantumLeap
Aug 4, 2007, 11:47 PM
It's funny how this benign tower has raised so much discussion! I feel like I must weigh in...

It is really too bad that there have not been better projects built in London lately, ahd the Mill Street tower is no exception to the trend.

I have to agree with some of the above posts- there are economic reasons for the kind of architecture that we are seeing especially downtown- but there are difficult questions of cause and effect that we have to raise. I would raise the following points:
i) Condos vs Rentals: most of the "beautiful projects" in other cities have been condos. The vast majority of London's projects are rentals, which are generally of lesser design value.
ii) Housing and land prices: Land and housing prices are lower than in other cities. This is a major advantage of London, and hopefully the city can leverage this in the future to drive growth. It should mean that developers have MORE money for good design, but we have seen that it infact doesn't translate into better design.
iii) Lower buying power: Related to the two above points, Londoners have less buying power, translating into less design.
iv) Lack of taste/ impetus for design: It seems like there is little demand for good design from consumers or from the city. The city cannot really mandate "beautiful architecture", but what it can mandate is good elements of urban design- not necessarily resulting in great buildings, but setting standards that every building needs to meet. These standards should include better standards for height and massing, better streetfront design (including less blank walls, less indoor malls, more streetfront commercial), and a big change from current zoning rules that demand big setbacks, big parking and restrict mixing of uses. The city also sets a VERY POOR example of urban design in its own buildings. Furthermore, the heritage community has become the de facto architecture police in the city, meaning that good modern design is ignored, and new buildings are encouraged to be conservative.
v) Small Development Community: lack of competition means Drewlo and Tricar can keep building ugly brown and grey buildings.
vi) Priorities: Downtown, do our priorities lie in simply encouraging as much development as possible or in encouraging Parisian-style design? Probably the middle of the road?
vii) Other Small Cities' Experience: We should look at why and how other cities are getting nice buildings- consider the Marilyn Monroe in Mississauga.
viii) Actual Design: I cannot believe that everyone wants "glass towers". How blah! Yes, it would be nice to have some change with a few towers of this design, but only for diversity sake. Have you seen waterfront Toronto? It has become boring with these buildings. We need nice architecture, but the case of Montreal (where I am staying) shows nice does not have to mean glass. I hope we can get a truly diverse skyline within a few years. I would personally like to see more retro-style buildings in neo-Art Deco and neo-Art Moderne.

Thanks. Keep up the great discussion (eg feel free to mercilessly attack this post)!

GreatTallNorth2
Aug 5, 2007, 12:07 AM
Hi folks. I decided that I would personally call someone at Auburn Developments and pose the question: why do you not build more attractive buildings? I was able to speak to someone that is involved in this and I asked her the question. She told me that this is really up to the city. Developers build with the purpose of maximizing profits, just like any business does. She did tell me that the city insisted that Auburn make the first 3-4 floors out of red brick to match the area streetscape (or what was there before, I forget). She told me that the city has total control to tell developers what to build. The city can add density and approve projects at will and sometimes will ask developers to change things to conform to what the city wants, but the city must not tell developers to make good looking buildings.

She told me to call the planning department at the city to voice my opinion and city councillors. I think we should all do this and pressure London, the so called creative city, to make the buildings look more creative.

QuantumLeap
Aug 5, 2007, 12:10 AM
UPDATE:
Planning Ctee agenda shows a new permit for a tower at 56 Capulet (between Oxford and Beaverbrook)- yet another commie block for Wonderland/ Oxford. I am planning to write a letter to Council - not only is this area disgusting, but there has been little obvious urban design or site design in evidence.
PS According to City Map, there are 5 more unbuilt addresses at this site. That will bring the grand total of commie blocks NW of Wonderland and Oxford to 14 (approximately 2000 units!).

GreatTallNorth2
Aug 5, 2007, 2:27 AM
I am planning to write a letter to Council - not only is this area disgusting, but there has been little obvious urban design or site design in evidence.


Do it! Write an email and address to every councilor and also include the Free Press editor. You will get some response. Everyone should do it.

Snark
Aug 5, 2007, 6:02 AM
..

flar
Aug 5, 2007, 6:12 AM
UPDATE:
yet another commie block for Wonderland/ Oxford. I am planning to write a letter to Council - not only is this area disgusting, but there has been little obvious urban design or site design in evidence.


That area is so poorly designed, it would be a five minute walk to the road from some of these buildings if someone actually had to get to a bus stop.