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30 Apr

NEWS RELEASE: Downtown South Redevelopment Plan

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Who We Are:

• RFA Planning Consultant Inc. of Belleville has been engaged by a private land development team to assist in devising the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan

• The principals of the planning team are:

o Ruth Ferguson-Aulthouse, President of RFA Planning Consultant Inc.

o Stephen Hyndman, Senior Associate of RFA Planning Consultant Inc.

• The private development team is currently active within the Belleville area and has an excellent track record of undertaking and producing high quality and successful land developments in the Quinte region

Major Components of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan:

• The Downtown South Redevelopment Plan would involve two major players:

o The private development team

o The City of Belleville

• The Plan would be implemented through the use of what could be characterized as a 3P – a Public Private Partnership

• The private development team is proposing a 3P approach in order to be successful; the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan would require the participation of both the City and the private sector in a cooperative manner

• The key elements of the Downtown South Redevelopment Plan include the following:

o Private development team has accepted offers to purchase Century Place and the former Intelligencer building

o Century Place would be completely redeveloped and refurbished by the private development team, with the upper 2 or 3 floors redeveloped into 30 to 45 residential condominiums and the lower floors continuing as commercial, with a total investment expected to exceed $7 million

o The new City Police Headquarters building would be located on the east side of Pinnacle Street on the City owned lands currently occupied by a municipal parking lot and by the bus station – this site, including the existing municipal HR office building, is 3 acres in size and is of sufficient size to accommodate a police headquarters building of 40,000 to 50,000 square feet with parking for 150 vehicles

o The former Intelligencer building would be demolished and a new 4 level parking garage providing 200 parking spaces would be constructed on this site, with financial participation of both the City and the private development team – we have suggested the creation of a Parking Authority model to manage and oversee all parking in the downtown

o Under this Plan the transit transfer operation (bus station) would be relocated to the west side of Pinnacle Street adjacent to the former Memorial Arena, with support services for transit operations located in the former Memorial Arena – we recognize that other locations within the downtown would also be appropriate for this use and support its location wherever the City feels the best level of service could be provided

o The City owned office building located on the east side of Pinnacle Street immediately south of the Armories would be demolished and in its place public green space with surface parking would be constructed – office space for City use would be provided in Century Place

o George Zegouras Market Square (including Market and Macannany Streets) would be redeveloped into a flexible pedestrian plaza as proposed by the Build Belleville project

o (while not a formal part of the proposal) the redevelopment of the former Memorial Arena into a Memorial Marketplace which would support an increased number of people living and working within this area of the City (we recognize that as an alternative, the City may wish to retain its role as an ice arena, which does not conflict with the vision of this Plan)

Key Aspects of this Proposal:

• Public money will only be spent on public amenities that would be available to and accessible by all citizens of Belleville

• Private funds will be spent on re-invigorating Century Place, and in assisting with the construction of the parking garage

• It is our desire to attract additional private investment into the Downtown and we believe that this Plan will support that. We are building on the Build Belleville initiative, and creating a positive investment environment.

• The site assigned to the new Police Headquarters is, in our opinion, an excellent location as it is:

o in close proximity to City Hall

o located on lands already owned by the City

o unlikely to present any development challenges (i.e. due to soil contamination)

o located in the downtown which we believe is the preferred location for a police headquarters

o accessible to two major streets

o of sufficient size to meet current and future needs of the Police Service

• It is becoming more common to integrate transit transfer operations with existing commercial operations rather than housing them in stand-alone facilities – a new transit transfer site in the downtown that is fully integrated with the commercial fabric of the downtown will be good for both the transit service and for the downtown

• A revitalized George Zegouras Market Square would greatly enhance its use as a public entertainment venue, made much safer by the removal of buses from using Market Street.

Next Steps:

• We have presented this Plan to City Council, the Mayor’s Task Force and the New Police Building Steering Committee who have asked City staff to prepare a report to Council on the merits of proceeding, which will be presented to Council in the next 2 to 3 weeks for a decision on whether to develop a 3P agreement

• If Council elects to proceed, the City and the private development team would finalize a formal 3P agreement, following which development would commence. Development is expected to occur on a phased basis over a number of years, the details of which would be set out in the 3P agreement.

Information and Questions:

RFA Planning Consultant Inc. 613-966-9070


12 Feb

Intensifying our City Centres

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It is a matter of interest of the Province of Ontario to intensify our urban areas and create more compact cities.  The Provincial Policy Statement defines Intensification as development of a property, site or area at a higher density than currently exists through redevelopment, development of vacant and/or underutilized lots, infill development and expansion or conversion of existing buildings.

 

In tangible terms, it has been proven that intensifying our city centres with a critical mass of residential uses promotes a more vibrant and successful downtown core.  Compact cities also contribute to a more sustainable future with respect to energy, land and materials use.

 

We have successfully undertaken numerous intensification projects – including brownfield redevelopment, residential infill and building conversion projects.  We understand the challenges involved with developing vacant or underutilized properties, such as addressing concerns of surrounding residents and meeting the objectives of the client.


Image Source: Downtown Belleville Master Plan, 2006

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