'Massive' residential and commercial development proposed in east Riverside
Published Friday, December 15, 2017 5:32PM EST Last Updated Friday, December 15, 2017 6:01PM EST
The still 'hot' housing market in Windsor-Essex has been one of the big stories of the year and realtors suggest the price and demand for new homes will continue to rise in 2018.
Now, developers are looking at vacant land in our area including a proposed development off Banwell Road north of Tecumseh Road.
"It's been vacant for gosh, decades," said ward 7 councillor Irek Kusmierczyk.
But the 8.8 acre lot off Banwell between McNorton and Leathorne could be buzzing with activity by the spring of 2018.
"This is perhaps one of the biggest, if not the biggest in east riverside in years if not decades," Kusmierczyk remarked after a planning committee earlier this week.
Groundswell Urban Planners and ELM Developments were before Windsor's planning committee this week to show off concept plans for a mixed use development – a combination of 117 residential units and commercial storefronts.
"There are two, four storey buildings, a total of 76 units with 38 units in each building. And there's some townhouse units surrounding the development, and some neighbourhood commercial uses at the corner," said Brad Rogers of Groundswell Urban Planners Inc.
Kusmierczyk says the development will create a walkable community in that area.
“You have trails, parks, recreational amenities as well,” Kusmierczyk told CTV News. “So that type of residential and commercial mix will be a nice blend, will fit nicely with what's existing already."
The committee didn’t approve every part of the plan. It send planners back to the drawing board on a proposal for mid-block access and a gas bar and car wash on a portion of the land.
"We absolutely reject the proposal for a gas bar and car wash," said Kusmierczyk. But developers say it doesn’t change their level of interest in the proposal.
“We don't think it's a deal breaker. We don't have a tenant lined up for the use... We're hoping that we can find some tenants that really love this area and want to be a part of it," said Rogers.
Nearby residents have voiced other concerns with the potential development, including an increase in traffic volumes and the potential impact it could have on the sewer system and retention ponds in east Windsor.
"We know it's a sensitive issue, and it continues to be one of the driving issues of all the developments in Windsor right now," said Patrick Winters of the city’s engineering department.
ELM developments indicated it is willing to meet with residents before the matter goes before city council in late January.
"We'll look to host a community meeting, an open house, that's going to provide existing, current residents an opportunity to meet potential neighbours get some of those concerns on the table, and see if we can come to an accommodation," said Kusmierczyk.
If council approves the project in January, developers hope to start turning earth by the spring, with phase one construction starting soon after.