Ontario Construction News staff writer
A project expected to jump start the local economic recovery and change the face of downtown Barrie cleared one of its final hurdles Monday night.
Waterloo-based HIP Development is planning a multi-use development on the former site of Barrie Central Collegiate and neighbouring Prince of Wales elementary school – including 600 rental apartments in two 20-storey towers and a 10-storey structure. City council approved a zoning-bylaw amendment earlier this week.
“We will be focusing in the weeks to come on continuing to move forward with the planning and building processes in the city,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said at the meeting. “This is one of the many steps we can take toward supporting the economic recovery. We want to proceed with the business of council, particularly those items that can help support our economy.”
While the site plan will come up for approval at a later date, Monday’s decision is a major milestone on for the eventual construction of 600 residential units on the property, along with a new three-storey, 77,000-square-foot YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka building.
Councillors are calling the development a “critical-mass” project that has the potential to impact to the neighbourhood around it.
“It will be the catalyst for revitalization in our (downtown’s) west end on Dunlop Street,” Councillor Sergio Morales said. “This could be a building that, decades from now, people will look back at this council and staff and the developer involved and say they got it right.”
A parking structure is also planned with 822 parking spaces.
Close to $14 million in development-charge revenue would be generated from the development.
Reports detail a “variety of residential forms,” including live/work units, “a compact form of development that minimizes its climate-change footprint and is designed with a pedestrian-oriented focus that connects to a municipal sidewalk.”
The city’s planning director says the proposal is technically sound and approval “provides for a compact form of development that maximizes the use of the subject lands, utilizes existing services and infrastructure, supports public transit and would support diverse and safe neighbourhoods.”