Recently I met with the Town’s Head of Planning to discuss the proposed redevelopment of the “old Southwire” building, 5769 Main Street. If you’re wondering what the plans are, you’ll want to read this.
In April, Council passed a by-law (which also required an amendment to the Official Plan) to change the zoning for 5769 Main Street, the former Southwire Building. In July the Region approved the change to the Official Plan and the by-law immediately “came into force and effect”.
As explained in the staff report dated Sept 9, 2014, the new zoning “allows for the up to 7,432 square metres (80,000 square feet) of retail floor space to be included as part of a repurposing of the former Southwire Manufacturing building”. 14,832 square metres (160,000 square feet) would be used for office / trade area space. Currently the total floor area is 24,630 square metres (265,000). The remaining space would be lost in the process of a building re-design.
The staff report goes on to explain that it is “intended by the owner that it will become a new satellite trade and wholesale platform for a large cluster of established and new merchants to provide efficient convenient and more accessible service to a direct network of major international cities including: New York, Chicago, and Toronto.”
It is important to realize that the zoning change already enacted gives the owner the right to establish up to 80,000 square feet of retail space on the property.
A public meeting for the zoning change was held in January 2014. No further public consultations are scheduled. The new council will decide on the site plan, assuming it is re-submitted by the owner. The owner can appeal Council’s decision to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board), however residents cannot.
So what can we do? What should we do?
If elected I’ll push for public consultations so residents are fully informed. Concerns expressed by residents need to be addressed. At the same time I also believe we need to welcome the developer’s pitch as it seems to provide an opportunity for putting an empty building back to use and providing jobs. The pitch is not for a large retail mall, it is for a multi-purpose building with approximately 1/3 retail space and 2/3 office and trade area space.