McCormick's and area update
As I live essentially right beside McCormick's, I wanted to start the thread as I have been following this VERY closely. Thought this was interesting.
From derelict former industrial cradle . . . to off-core London housing gem?
Empty factories once home to iconic London employers could one day be razed in favour of medium-density housing
Empire Brass contributed to two war efforts. Ruggles Motor Trucks supplied vehicles for industry, Kelvinator refrigerators kept food fresh and McCormick's candies contributed to tooth decay in the days before water fluoridation.
The four industrial manufacturers were just across the road from the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. Ltd.
The corn flake firm became Kellogg's.
The other four became extinct.
Heavy industry and manufacturing are long gone from the area around the old McCormick plant in London, with many buildings now vacant and derelict.
But city hall hopes to transform the McCormick area that was an early cradle of manufacturing in the city.
Townhouses could sprout from the brownfield site that once helped to drive the city's economy.
"It needs a push economically to make this area financially viable for development," concedes city planner John Fleming.
That may mean financial incentives to help deal with site contamination and other issues.
"Heavy industrial uses that used to locate there are no longer viable," he said.
The public will be asked for its input in June, he said. "This is just one input."
An economic analysis for what's called the McCormick Area will be filed with city council's planning committee Monday.
It says the days of heavy industry will never return to the area, and a combination of medium-density housing and light industry should be encouraged there.
The market and economic analysis by Watson and Associates will be considered as part of a continuing process to change the area's designation from general industrial.
The 35-hectare (86-acre) land parcel, 3 km east of downtown, is an ideal spot for so-called infill development, or filling in the gaps from things built before.
While the downtown is the focus of some big-idea visions, including a Western University satellite campus, the gritty industrial zone could be ripe for changes, too.
"The market potential for the subject area is strongest for medium-density residential development comprised of townhouse development," the Watson report concludes.
"The redevelopment of the subject area to accommodate residential development would be supportive of the city's planning objectives, including intensification targets and would be highly compatible with surrounding land uses," the report says.
City hall could consider inducements, such as development charge exemptions, redevelopment grants or loans and waiving or refunding building permit fees, it suggested.
FORMER INDUSTRIAL TITANS
Among those who’ve called the area home:
McCormick Manufacturing Co.
Address: 1156 Dundas St.
Built: 1913, to make candies and biscuits.
Notes: Once known as the Sunshine Palace for its unusually large number of windows and white-glaze terra cotta tile, the now-vacant factory is a top priority for a heritage designation.
Empire Manufacturing Co.
Address: 1100 and 1108 Dundas St.
Built: About 1910, as a manufacturer of brass, mainly plumbing products.
Notes: Closed in 2011. Built nose cones for First World War artillery casings and brass parts for Canadian Navy in the Second World War. No historic interest. Vacant.
Ruggles Truck Manufacturing plant
Address: 1152 Dundas St.
Built: About 1922.
Notes: A subsidiary of Ruggles Motor Truck Co., of Saginaw, Mich., it became a Kelvinator refrigerator manufacturing plant in 1926 and today is a used-car showroom. A top priority for heritage designation.
Hunt Brothers Flour Mill
Address: 471 Nightingale Ave.
Built: About 1922.
Notes: Considered of cultural interest. Until 1936, it was London’s tallest structure at six storeys. A 1934 fire there killed two London firefighters when flour dust exploded. A canoe manufacturing firm occupies it today.
"The city of London has a strong tradition of utilizing financial incentives/tools to foster development in areas with marginal development potential and the city could expand its current programs to include the McCormick area lands."
Fleming said development of a plan for the area was suspended for a time after land-use issues were addressed.
"These are brownfield issues and we are going to address those in the context of municipal budgets," he said. "We need to seek out what kinds of partnerships might be available provincially or federally and come up with some creative solutions."
After public input, the city hopes to have a final plan adopted by the end of the year.