At a Jan. 26 community consultation, several dozen Niagara and Wellington residents heard the developer’s pitch for the latest project to be proposed for the heritage district.
The Easton’s Group has purchased the land at 2 Tecumseth, known as the former site of the Quality Meats abbatoir. (The same developer is redeveloping the Hilton Garden Inn across town at 241 Jarvis.)
The meeting was a pre-application consultation as the developer and his team have not made a formal application for the site. It gave residents an early look at what can be done on the small 4.7 acre triangle of industrial land.
The preliminary drawings show three towers, tiered down to street-level on the north side, with landscaped roofs and podiums. The ground floor will contain commercial space—not big box stores because they cannot be confirmed this far out, per architect Mansoor Kazerouni—with below-ground parking accessed from the east side of the block via Tecumseth.
Longtime residents expressed their concern that the scale of the building looks big when compared to the heritage homes along Niagara St.
Kazerouni offered, “We could have created a solid daunting form if we had strictly followed the letter of the law but we chose to break it up. I am hoping you appreciate that this is not adding floors. It is redeploying the space to something that is more appropriate. That was the approach and it does not result in a huge density grab.”
Many residents also voiced their worries that the additional residential density (600 to 650 units) will add congestion to an already tight network of narrow streets and will also endanger cyclits and pedestrians.
Despite the developer’s willingness to work with the community to find the most suitable use for the site, a groundbreaking is not going to happen any time soon.
It will be at least eight months before the application to rezone the site will be approved and it will likely be several years before demolition of the old abbatoir will be completed.
Planner Graig Uens noted, “The site is still zoned for industrial use. The zoning change has to be in line with the official plan. The applicant is required to explain why their proposal is acceptable in their planning rationale.”