Posts tagged ‘Redevelopment’

London: “We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers.”

The city is moving ahead as quickly as possible to get a solar panel pilot project started on public buildings.

The city’s investment and economic prosperity committee will on Monday ask an outside company, Ameresco Canada, to put together a plan that will give green energy companies a framework to bid on solar panel projects.

In July, London-based solar energy company German Solar Corp. told the committee they were ready to mount panels on 10 city rooftops as part of a pilot project.

The project would create 337 jobs in eight years, 219 skilled-labour jobs and 108 operations and maintenance positions in 20 years, the company president predicted.

Another 1,200 jobs would be created indirectly, the company said.

“We’ve had two or three companies that are interested in putting panels on public property,” said Joe Swan, chair of the investment and economic prosperity committee.

“We need to come up with a licensing fee to lease the space, figure out the cost of installation and the return on investment.

“The marketplace is ready to implement these and the city hasn’t developed a framework.”

Ameresco Canada will develop the framework so the project gets off the ground, Swan said.

“This got support from council to move as quickly as possible,” Swan said.

“We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers, in this.”

Source: The London Free Press

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September 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Rediscovering Dickson Street

These days there are few if any stores available on Dickson Street, as more businesses flock to the Galt core.

Ben Schmalz and Emily Pederson are the latest entrepreneurs to establish themselves on Dickson, opening One Rebellion just last week. It’s an upscale clothing store catering to people over the age of 30.

“We’ve had so much traffic this week and people are so happy to see the store because there is nothing else quite like it down here,” said manager Pederson.

“We grew up in Galt, and I was looking to expand the business,” said Schmalz, who also operates a store in Dundas. “I took a look around and I was impressed with the revitalization that’s taking place in downtown. I loved the architecture and the ambiance. It was the perfect fit for us.”

Merryn Edgar, Patricia Cooley and Jennifer Gralec all opened their businesses the same day two years ago and became known as the “Dickson chicks”, following a television story on their enterprises.

Edgar runs Gallery M, an art shop that features works of many local artists.

“We’ve been doing really well since we opened and today I just sold two paintings, so it’s a big day for us,” she said.

In each area of the shop, Edgar has worked to bring together pieces of art that complement each other. In a similar way, she said each of the new businesses on Dickson Street does the same thing.

“There is a good mix of businesses down here. We do a lot of cross promoting and a lot of scratching each others’ backs when we can,” she said.

When Jennifer Gralec returned to work after having children, she decided that if she had to be away from her girls it would be to do something she loved. Baking is her passion and Tiny Cakes, her baking boutique, is a labour of love.

Since opening in December 2010, Tiny Cakes has become a regular stop for many people working on Dickson Street.

Gralec, like many of the other new businesses on Dickson Street, has used social media to get the word out on their businesses.

“I religiously post on Facebook, so people know what’s going on.”

Re New owner Patricia Cooley knew she had the right place when she walked into the office.

“This is a great space and with that big front window, it just called to me,” she said.

Re New is a medical laser and skin care aesthetics business, operating on the second floor of 65 Dickson St., across from city hall.

When Edit Kasza decided to move from St. Catharines and open her new business, she looked no further than Cambridge.

“I came for a visit and I absolutely love it here, especially Galt. I love all the architecture. It’s like a tiny, tiny version of Budapest.”

Kasza opened Edit Design Inc. in November and says the outdoor/indoor kitchen studio is slowly getting going.

“It’s taken time, but people are discovering I’m here,” she said. “You really have to see my studio to understand what I do.”

Eighty per cent of her business comes from outside of Cambridge, so her studio is becoming a destination for clients.

Baldeep Duggal can say the same thing of Phildon Pens.

“We’re one of a handful of pen shops in the country. We have local clients, but we are a destination for people who love pens and paper.”

Phildon Pens has been on Dickson Street for four years and Duggal sees a difference with the new businesses arriving.

“They are all small business owners who all  have good business plans. They all try to offer unique products and good services. When you have small businesses there is a certain sense of pride that you don’t see in big box stores.”

Decorators Kim Turner and Michelle Jones, who met at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, opened The Relique Studio on Dickson Street. After teaming up to refinish a dining room suite, the pair went for coffee at Tiny Cakes and their concept of opening a shop evolved.

“As we were talking we were watching people come into the shop and realized these people could all be our customers. That’s when we started looking for a shop,” Jones said.

The shop opened eight months ago and there is no lack of business.

Bill Schwarz has been practicing law and painting in the Galt core since 1969.

“We used to have our law office on Dickson Street and things are really changing. I think the work that David (Gibson) is doing on Main Street has brought a lot of attention to the downtown.

“I think we’ve seen more change in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. It’s really great to see.”

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

Revamping A Galt Downtown Heritage Building

Remember the ‘Right House’? Which was then cladded in metal and became a Big V Drugmart, then a Shoppers Drugmart… and it is now being rejuvenated! The makeover is part of a large-scale revitalization project of the Galt core by developer David Gibson.

I can’t wait to see the end result!

September 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm 1 comment

Fanshawe College to Move to London’s Downtown? YES PLEASE!

A downtown Fanshawe College campus could produce greater economic spinoffs than the John Labatt Centre, arguably the highest-profile piece of the city’s core-revitalization efforts. That’s the reaction of Bob Usher, chairperson of Downtown London, to the proposed Fanshawe campus that could become the heart of a potential education and arts district. “I think it’s as important as the JLC, or more so,” Usher, who runs Covent Garden Market, said Tuesday. “This is every day — students and staff and people coming in to participate.” He also added that, “JLC is hit and miss, some days we have it, some days we don’t. You’re not at the whim of ‘what’s the next big rock band (coming in).’ ”

London is working with Fanshawe College on a downtown campus housed in heritage buildings, a plan that’s potentially the final major piece of city hall’s effort to revitalize the core. The proposed plan, which would be rolled out during the next decade with $10 million in city subsidies, is the backbone of a hoped-for education and arts district city officials want to turn into a tourism hub. Because it would cost Fanshawe more to renovate old downtown buildings than to build new structures elsewhere, the city has proposed a subsidy of up to $10 million to help cover those extra costs.

The proposed district, focused on Dundas and Richmond streets, would be bounded by Talbot, Kent, Clarence streets and just of south Dundas St. to Market Lane. “We’re not looking for one big, contiguous block,” said Bernice Hull, the college’s vice-president of administration. “We’re really focusing on the district concept.” Fanshawe, looking for as much as 100,000 sq. ft. for an eventual 1,000 students in a so-called School for Applied and Performance Arts, is interested in underused or empty “heritage-type” buildings to buy and renovate.

Fanshawe now offers its theatre arts program in the former Galleria mall, now CitiPlaza, where its lease lasts another five years, but needs additional space to offer new theatre-related programs. Fanshawe also is eager to partner with professional arts groups, specifically the Grand Theatre and Orchestra London, to create mentoring and other opportunities for its students. The city proposal, heading to council’s board of control Wednesday, would see those Fanshawe spaces also used on nights and weekends for youth-focused arts events, creating a potential tourism magnet.

Personally, I think the district should be bound by Dundas, Wellington, York and Richmond Streets. There are so many derelict and under utilized buildings in this area than for the area they are proposing… Bring some life back to other parts of the downtown!

Source(s): LFPress.com and LFPress.com

February 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

PCB Dome to Become a Sportsplex?

I like the idea of reuse and recycle, and this fits that train of thinking very well.

Northeast London could become home to an all-weather sports facility capable of housing two football fields or soccer pitches and a running track. That’s the dream of a London labour leader and an MPP as they eye a future use for a huge structure – intended to be temporary – that has enclosed the $63 million cleanup of Ontario’s largest PCB dump. “I’ve spoken to the minister of the environment and he is interested in working with us,” said London-Fanshawe Liberal MPP Khalil Ramal. Ramal and Chris Bentley, the attorney general and Liberal MPP for London West, are working to pull together a meeting of all parties, including the Environment Ministry, the contractor, planning and parks and recreational staff from city hall to see if the idea is worth pursuing.

Ramal said using provincial land for sports in London is not farfetched. He noted soccer groups have an arrangement to use provincial land at the north end of what used to be London Psychiatric Hospital at Highbury Ave. and Oxford St..

Environment Ministry official Mike Moroney, who chairs a citizen group overseeing the cleanup, said the site is zoned industrial and the cleanup is being done to an industrial standard so further work would likely be needed to achieve a recreational standard.

Source: LFPress.com

October 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Dundas-King Pedestrian Mid-block Connection: A Downtown Public Space Concept

Last semester we were asked by our professor to create an independent project that would be one of the key pieces in our portfolios. As I am interested in Urban Design, urban renewal and I am active in the revival of downtown London, naturally I chose to do a concept project for the downtown.

I realized that the downtown lacks in quality urban spaces to entertain those who live in the core and those who are there to shop and visit.

DowntownMapFull

I looked at the available spaces to create an interesting public space and narrowed it down to two, the parking lots between Dundas Street and King Street, and King Street and York Street [Site 1]. This would create an direct pedestrian mid-block connection between Dundas Street and the VIA train station on York Street; and the other site was the parking lots at Richmond Street and Carling Street [Site 2].

DowntownMapcloseup

Listing the pro’s and con’s of each site I chose to do the midblock connection, however because of time constraints I could only do the portion between Dundas and King.

Realizing that this is an existing parking lot, that is usually full on weekdays, it would be important to re allocate the parking somehow. My solution to this is that there would be a public private partnership to build a mix use parkade between the midblock connection and Clarence and King and the existing buildings along clearance. My Concept poster shows the new building having retail at grade with a false second floor or it could be office space or apartments.

Existing Amenities

(Click for larger images)

Proposal

Check out the 3D walkthrough of the space..

let me know what you think? Would you use this space? Is this something that would attract people to the downtown?

*JrUD

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May 14, 2009 at 5:27 am 6 comments

A Changing Hespeler Skyline

1847riverbank

Shawky Fahel, a local developer in Waterloo Region has bought the existing American Standard building in Hespeler and has grand plans for the redesign of the factory’s site. The first draft plan includes approximately 95 housing units and 7,000 square feet of retail space fronting Queen Street. Fahel is also thinking that part of the building might become “transitional housing” for seniors who want to leave their homes, but aren’t ready to move into a nursing home.

With its location on Speed River, the building will be turned into 34 apartment units with studios and storage units on the ground floor. A second large stone building at the east end of the property will be remodeled to incorporate 33 apartment units. Adjacent to it and running along the south side of the property, will be another two-storey stone building with 12 townhouse units. A fourth large building facing Queen Street will be saved and re-used with 16 residential condominium units at the rear of the building and retail/commercial space on Queen Street.

The project is now dubbed 1847 Riverbank, and “keeps the four best-crafted buildings in this industrial campus”, while demolishing the centre of the existing structure to create a two-storey, 141 space parking structure with rooftop terrace.

We want condominiums and mixed use. The building lends itself very well to that,” Fahel said. It’s amazing to finally here those words come out of a developers mouth in the Region.

The site currently is contaminated but has been described as being “manageable” and GSP Group will be working with the ministry over the next six to eight months to complete the required record of site condition.

Construction is slated to start at the beginning of 2010 and Fahel said the apartments will be competitively priced.

Finally Hespeler you have something to be proud of other than your hockey.

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

February 18, 2009 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

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