Downtown medical centre? Why didn't we think of that? Oh, wait...
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Downtown Burlington looks up for growth
The Hamilton Spectator
BURLINGTON (Jun 16, 2010)
As downtown development goes, it's probably Burlington's biggest project in four decades.
It involves construction of a 17-storey, 154-unit apartment building, the majority of which would feature affordable housing, an eight-storey parking garage and an eight-storey office and medical building, the first of its kind to be built in the core in 20 years. And it involves ground floor retail for all three structures, as well as three levels of underground parking.
And when the $50-million-plus complex is completed, probably within two years, it will mean some 250 to 400 full-time jobs in the downtown.
The Carriage Gate Group Inc. proposal follows a new trend for the Burlington core: residential highrises with retail components. It will be one of 10 residential highrises in the core, with more expected as the city's supply of zoned residential green space continues to dwindle. These days the buzzwords at Burlington City Hall are downtown density and intensification.
The complex covers an entire city block just southeast of Brant and Caroline streets, bordered by Caroline Street to the north, Elizabeth Street to the east, Maria Street to the south and John Street to the west.
The sheer size of the Carriage Gate development makes the project unique, says Burlington senior planner Mike Greenlee, who is recommending city politicians approve it when it comes before the community development committee on Monday.
"We haven't had an entire block development like this before," he said. "It's really unique. We're getting three different components in one block.
"It's contributing to the goal of the downtown to create some vibrancy and create some opportunities to live and work in the downtown."
Greenlee said 75 per cent of the housing units will be priced at or below $259,000.
"The subject lands are also attractive for intensification given the proximity to the waterfront and Spencer Smith Park, downtown retail, services and culture and transit," Greenlee said in his report.
A portion of the block is currently occupied by the city-owned John Street parking lot. The remainder of the property contains Tudor Square retail stores on Caroline Street, a financial office in a converted house, a law office and retail stores and a medical office on Elizabeth Street.
Nick Carnicelli, president of Carriage Gate Group Inc., said the project, three years in the planning stage, is the first of at least three such residential/retail complexes his firm has planned for the area in the next decade.
"Downtown rejuvenation requires people and it requires jobs. That's how you rejuvenate a downtown core.
"This is bringing both components directly to the downtown. It's bringing high paying, high quality office and medical type jobs, it's bringing good quality retail," he said.
Carnicelli, who also operates Hamilton-based Carriage Gate Homes, said the company hopes to begin construction in 2011 with residential occupancy expected in late 2012 or early 2013.
"We're definitely here for the long term. We have at least two more (projects) coming forward. We've taken a lot of time to make this first project the right mix. It is obviously a large project.
"We're pretty confident that this will be a spectacular feature in the downtown."