Recent Posts

13 May

COUNCIL PRESENTATION: DOWNTOWN SOUTH REDEVELOPMENT PLAN, MAY 12, 2014

Posted by

1) Purpose of Presentation

a) To clarify certain matters about which there appears to be some confusion.

b) To be very clear to Council and the public as to what we require in order to proceed with the development.

c) To answer questions that members of Council may have.

2) Future of Farmer’s Market

• There was a story circulating that it was our intent to significantly change or even dislodge the farmer’s market from George Zegouras Market Square.

• Our intent and hope is that the farmer’s market not only stay at Market Square but indeed expand and grow due to an increase in marketing opportunities.

• In addition, we do not have any concerns if the farmer’s market were to expand into the former Memorial Arena.

• Our only suggestion was to remove the buses from Market Square so that it is safer for pedestrians.

3) Future of the former Memorial Arena

• Our greatest concern with this building is that it is not currently being used, and the siting of this building does not lend itself to easy conversion to alternative uses.

• While we feel there is potential for it to be used as a marketplace, it is more important to us that the building simply be used even if that were for an ice arena.

• Further, by having the Police Headquarters across the road from the Memorial, the potential of attracting a private investor would be enhanced.

• We believe that by taking decisive and specific action the future of this building can be secured.

4) Transit Operations

• We believed the idea of operating transit out of and adjacent to the former Memorial Arena had merit, but we have come to appreciate that for the long term viability and heath of transit operations, the transit transfer facility should ideally be located further north.

• While we would have no specific issue with any site determined by the City as meeting the needs of transit services, we believe that in the short to medium term, locating transit transfer operations along both sides of Pinnacle Street between Campbell and Victoria Streets would be a viable option, for the following reasons:

o This site is further north and would help in achieving improved efficiency for transit operations to the north.

o This area could be developed to provide transit transfer operations relatively easily at minimal expense to the City.

o There are minimal on-street parking that would be displaced; these are not among the more desirable parking spaces in the downtown.

o The location for transit would be very close to the heart of the downtown.

o The library building could be used to provide support services for transit.

o There is a signalized cross-walk on Pinnacle Street to allow transit users to safely cross the street.

o On-street transit transfer operations are successful in many Cities.

5) What the Developer Needs from the City

• Doing the Century Place development is a risky venture given that we are planning to put badly needed residential condominiums in the heart of the downtown, in an area that is generally not considered a premium location for quality residential construction.

• To reduce that risk, we need to create the impression that the downtown is much safer than it is now, and its environs are appropriate for residential uses.

• That is why we are proposing the Police Headquarters be located on the City-owned lands on the east side of Pinnacle opposite the former Memorial Arena.

• In its own right, we believe this site is an excellent location for the Police Headquarters, superior to other sites being considered.

• Further, developing this site for the Police Headquarters is likely to be less expensive overall than other sites due to land acquisition and development costs; in our estimation perhaps as much as $3 million – money that can be allocated to helping further secure the future of downtown Belleville.

• We know that putting the police building on this property displaces the transit operation, but we believe that other, and frankly more suitable locations for transit over the long term, can be found, and we have proposed a plausible solution that we believe can work in the short to medium term.

• We understand that there may be concerns among the Councilors regarding the cost of building a parking garage in the short term. We appreciate why this may be a concern for Council. We are willing to take a different approach to addressing the issue of parking. We have ideas that we would be prepared to discuss with the City that would replace the parking lost by the police building, over the short term, without the necessity of a parking garage. This would give us and the City, along with the downtown, time to develop solutions to parking that would address the needs of the downtown over the long run, which may or may not necessarily involve constructing a parking garage.

• In short, what we require from the City is the location of the Police Headquarters in the downtown on the east side of Pinnacle, and a commitment to work with the developer to find a short term solution to parking needs, and the willingness in the future to work with the developer to devise long term solutions to downtown parking issues.

6) Visioning

• Council has taken bold steps to deal with the City’s infrastructure deficit and to develop a vision for renewal of the downtown.

• While we have not stated here today that some of those ideas contained in your plan for downtown need to be done immediately to facilitate this development, we want to strongly emphasize to Council that it must not abandon the vision for downtown it has developed.

• Components such as upgrades to George Zegouras Market Square and the removal of the HR building, and others – these were not OUR ideas – but we would hope that in time the City will proceed to implement them because doing so will ensure downtown renewal and revitalization is fostered and allowed to build momentum.

06 May

NEWS RELEASE: DOWNTOWN SOUTH REDEVELOPMENT PLAN, MAY 5, 2014

Posted by

Developer behind the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

• Adrian Bax, well known in the Quinte region for undertaking high quality and successful residential development projects since 1998, is the developer behind the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan.

• Adrian Bax’s development projects in Belleville are the Harbour Landing and Bayfront Walk townhouses on South Front Street, Settler’s Ridge subdivision on Maitland Drive, as well as the Potter’s Creek and Cascade Glen subdivisions. In Quinte West he developed the Settlers Landing, Brookshire Meadows and Oak Ridge Estates subdivisions.

• RFA Planning Consultant Inc. has provided the professional land use planning services for all of these projects undertaken by Adrian Bax over the past 16 years.

Formulation of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

• It was because of the Build Belleville initiative for the Downtown and the Bay of Quinte Region Living Council that Adrian Bax began to focus his attention on identifying a Downtown development opportunity; he shares the viewpoint of many that a healthy downtown core is essential to the growth of the region.

• Adrian Bax studied other sites in Downtown that could address the housing needs for up to 100 dwelling units. These other sites ultimately proved not to be economically viable; however Century Place showed potential.

• The Downtown South Redevelopment Plan was originally formulated in the 2012 Intensification Plan prepared for the City of Belleville by RFA Planning Consultant. The Plan is bounded by Bridge Street, Moira River, Dundas Street and Pinnacle Street.

• This area forms a major gateway to the Downtown with potential for redevelopment for residential, commercial and office uses. The City owns a significant portion of property in this area.

• Working with RFA Planning Consultant, the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan was updated, focusing on Century Place and the former Intelligencer property.

• The Redevelopment Plan is directed on the many improvements required to the south portion of the Downtown that are necessary in order to build an attractive anchor and gateway into the Downtown from the Bayfront and Dundas Street.

• On April 14th, Adrian Bax with support from RFA Planning Consultant Inc. provided City Council with a presentation of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan.

• On April 29th, the main components of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan were released publicly for the purpose of providing the public an opportunity to discuss and debate the ideas behind the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan.

• The developer elected not to reveal his identity at this stage, in hopes of having public discussion and debate focus specifically on the merits of the Redevelopment Plan.

• While widespread discussion has occurred, debate appears to have stalled on the question of who the developer is rather than the merits of the ideas contained in the Redevelopment Plan.

• Adrian Bax decided it would be wise to identify himself as the developer at this time, to enable public discussion and debate to again focus on the merits of the Redevelopment Plan, and in hopes of encouraging more private sector investors to step forward.

Response to Key Questions Raised in Public Debate:

• The necessity of locating the new Police Headquarters in the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

o The Police Headquarters would be a significant investment in the Downtown, bringing more employees into the immediate area on a daily basis. These employees will bring more business to local restaurants and shops, and may even wish to live within the Downtown.

o The proposed site for the Police Headquarters, which is already owned by the City, would serve the needs of the entire community and the needs of the Police Service very well.

o Locating the Police Headquarters on the proposed site will be more cost effective than other locations currently under consideration; the City will realize more critical community assets by locating the Police Headquarters on the site identified in the Redevelopment Plan.

o Locating the Police Headquarters Downtown would significantly reduce the public perception that Downtown is not conducive to the development of residential condominiums; along with improvements to public amenities in the Downtown, a positive quality of life environment would be created which is essential for the future prosperity of the Downtown.

o Adding another new important building to the Downtown, such as the Police Headquarters would enhance the visual appeal of the area. The existing transit terminal could be repurposed as a public atrium within the new Headquarters.

• Memorial Marketplace:

o Any building that is not occupied or used will deteriorate quickly. Since the former Memorial Arena building is critically important to the identity of Belleville, the developer believes it is essential that a new use be identified and the building be repurposed as quickly as possible.

o Locating the Police Headquarters across the street from the Memorial and the development of new residential condominiums nearby creates an opportunity for the Memorial to be converted to a marketplace that would include grocery and other food related uses. These types of uses are important if the City wishes to see more residential development in the Downtown. Nevertheless, the developer believes it is more important that the building be used rather than how it is used; if the City were to decide to re-invest in the building as an ice arena, the developer would fully support that decision.

• Relocating the City bus terminal:

o With Memorial Arena being developed as a market place, the integration of transit with commercial uses can be achieved, and doing so would make the redevelopment of Memorial more successful.

o The proposed design includes a separate bus lane, lay-bys and terminal on the west side of Pinnacle Street next to the Memorial.

o Locating transit services at the Memorial is not essential to the success of the Redevelopment Plan. If the City identifies another location that would be more conducive to the successful operation of transit, the developer would fully support locating transit services in that other location.

o Removing the buses from Market Street will be safer for pedestrians and allow the Market Square to be programmed for more events.

Response to Key Questions Raised in Public Debate:

• The necessity of locating the new Police Headquarters in the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

o The Police Headquarters would be a significant investment in the Downtown, bringing more employees into the immediate area on a daily basis. These employees will bring more business to local restaurants and shops, and may even wish to live within the Downtown.

o The proposed site for the Police Headquarters, which is already owned by the City, would serve the needs of the entire community and the needs of the Police Service very well.

o Locating the Police Headquarters on the proposed site will be more cost effective than other locations currently under consideration; the City will realize more critical community assets by locating the Police Headquarters on the site identified in the Redevelopment Plan.

o Locating the Police Headquarters Downtown would significantly reduce the public perception that Downtown is not conducive to the development of residential condominiums; along with improvements to public amenities in the Downtown, a positive quality of life environment would be created which is essential for the future prosperity of the Downtown.

o Adding another new important building to the Downtown, such as the Police Headquarters would enhance the visual appeal of the area. The existing transit terminal could be repurposed as a public atrium within the new Headquarters.

• Memorial Marketplace:

o Any building that is not occupied or used will deteriorate quickly. Since the former Memorial Arena building is critically important to the identity of Belleville, the developer believes it is essential that a new use be identified and the building be repurposed as quickly as possible.

o Locating the Police Headquarters across the street from the Memorial and the development of new residential condominiums nearby creates an opportunity for the Memorial to be converted to a marketplace that would include grocery and other food related uses. These types of uses are important if the City wishes to see more residential development in the Downtown. Nevertheless, the developer believes it is more important that the building be used rather than how it is used; if the City were to decide to re-invest in the building as an ice arena, the developer would fully support that decision.

• Relocating the City bus terminal:

o With Memorial Arena being developed as a market place, the integration of transit with commercial uses can be achieved, and doing so would make the redevelopment of Memorial more successful.

o The proposed design includes a separate bus lane, lay-bys and terminal on the west side of Pinnacle Street next to the Memorial.

o Locating transit services at the Memorial is not essential to the success of the Redevelopment Plan. If the City identifies another location that would be more conducive to the successful operation of transit, the developer would fully support locating transit services in that other location.

o Removing the buses from Market Street will be safer for pedestrians and allow the Market Square to be programmed for more events.

• The Need for Urgency:

o There is a short window of opportunity available to the City and to the developer; real estate offers and agreements of purchase and sale are valid for 90 days.

o Details of the Redevelopment Plan were first presented to City Council on April 14th; the developer believes that while time lines are tight, there is sufficient time to fully assess the Redevelopment Plan’s merits, undertake due diligence by both the City and the developer, and finalize an agreement.

o The developer is not prepared to waive conditions to purchase the two key properties (Century Place and the former Intelligencer property) without a commitment from the City to participate in the joint initiative set out in the Redevelopment Plan.

Evaluation of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

• The Downtown South Redevelopment Plan represents a series of ideas that are linked together to achieve a specific outcome, using both public and private investment – this is an opportunity to collectively realize greater success than the parties could achieve independently.

• No single component is sufficient to fix all of the problems facing Downtown Belleville; the collection of initiatives contained in the Redevelopment Plan, if occurring simultaneously, would have a greater chance of creating the momentum needed to rectify the issues facing Downtown.

• Additional investigative work will be required to address key outstanding questions (i.e. costs, logistics, timing); the developer is not prepared to commit to the project until these questions are addressed, and does not expect the City to do so; the developer views this process of due diligence as a joint investigative process.

• The developer wishes to ascertain whether the City is interested in the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan before investing significant effort in addressing these questions.

Information and Questions:

RFA Planning Consultant Inc. 613-966-9070

Search