EMC News – Richcraft Homes showed off its latest plans for a condominium tower proposed for the corner of Rideau and Cobourg Streets at the monthly Action Sandy Hill meeting on March 25.
“This proposal has many community focal points,” said Miguel Tremblay, a planning consultant for Fotenn working on behalf of Richcraft.
The plans show a five-storey podium fronting Rideau and Cobourg streets, stepping back to 18-storeys at the highest point. An additional four-storey building will front onto Besserer Street.
Action Sandy Hill, along with other area community associations, met with Richcraft a few months ago to discuss the design and plans. At that time, the Action Sandy Hill planning committee asked representatives from the developer to meet with the community to discuss the proposal.
This is the second time Richcraft has proposed a building for the site. Back in late 2002, a nine-storey building was proposed and approved by the city. The decision was quickly appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by Action Sandy Hill in 2003, on the grounds the project was taller than the current zoning height for the site. The appeal was rejected by the OMB in June 2004, but the lot remained undeveloped and no new plans were proposed until now.
The new proposal, Tremblay told those at the meeting, offers what Richcraft feels is a better use of the property.
“In the end, Richcraft can build a nine-storey slab, but I think the important thing to think about is that Richcraft is saying we can actually do this better,” he said.
Richcraft is seeking amendments to the Official Plan and a zoning bylaw to build the mix-use development.
The proposal will add 1207.74 square metres of retail space to Rideau Street with opportunities for patio space and a potential courtyard.
The proposed number of units would be 226, with 210 bicycle spaces and 264 parking spaces, all below ground.
Preliminary designs are simple, but Tremblay said the project architect is prepared to rework the facade to make it suitable for the neighbourhood.
The proposal lacks a few elements, including amenity space, but Richcraft said the close proximity to MacDonald Gardens will make the lack of green space around the building less of an issue.
Many residents who attended the meeting expressed displeasure for the height of the building, indicating the development could be just the beginning of a long line of tall buildings in the neighbourhood.
“You are talking about one property, but the community is talking about the whole community,” said planning committee chairwoman Sophie Beecher.
The association indicated a larger conversation on the vision residents have for Rideau Street needs to take place.
President Christopher Collmorgen informed residents in attendance that Action Sandy Hill has no official position on the development yet.
“This is a learning experience for us,” he said.
The re-zoning and Official Plan amendments are subject to the approval of planning committee. Richcraft would then submit its site plan application, at which time Tremblay said another public consultation would take place to discuss more details of the project.