Toronto Leads the Way for Thunder Bay?
TORONTO – REAL ESTATE – A new mixed use neighbourhood in Toronto could be the wave of the future for Canadian residents and businesses. Designs for modern cities continues to evolve. One of the changes is being driven by the growing digital economy, where smaller to medium sized companies can locate in areas with retail and residential property.
In some ways it is a return to older times, it is a return to neighbourhoods, and walking spaces.
RioCan REIT (TSX:REI.UN), Allied Properties REIT and Diamond Corp. have announced they are filing plans with the City of Toronto for a new neighbourhood to be known as The Well.
The project will be one of the few truly integrated mixed use projects under review by the City offering a meaningful mix of residential, retail and office space. Spread over seven and a half acres, The Well will extend the revitalization of Toronto’s Downtown West, south of King Street and west of Spadina Avenue.
Thunder Bay Projects Present Opportunity
The potential could be an opportunity for developers in Thunder Bay looking at the Simpson Street corridor. The concept follows on the same approach being used in the Waterfront District and Prince Arthurs Landing where mixed use neighbourhoods are the goal.
It also fits to the downtown Fort William / Victoria Avenue plan recently put forward by Thunder Bay architect Ahsanul Habib which was presented to Thunder Bay City Council this past Monday.
In the downtown Fort William neighbourhood, there have been many positive changes in recent months. The opening of the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre, Thrive Fitness, and planning for new medical and education facilities are coming.
That change is all coming as the Court House is yet to open.
Newfie’s Pub on Victoria Avenue East is also announcing positive changes and shifting to offering live entertainment, and fighting for its place in Thunder Bay’s entertainment market.
The developers in Toronto share that “The Well unites the common vision of three of Toronto’s most highly regarded urban developers in a one-of-a-kind partnership that brings together the residential, retail and office expertise necessary to deliver a truly integrated mixed use project”.
“It is rare that developers have the opportunity to shape a mixed urban space that links us to all that is essential in our lives,” said Stephen Diamond, President and CEO of Diamond Corp. “The Well will be a world class mixed development that expands and enhances the experience of downtown living while integrating seamlessly with all of our neighbours, adding to Toronto’s attraction as a great city.”
“Our vision for this community is that those who come to The Well, whether to shop, work, live or all three, will discover opportunities to connect and engage in ways that are often missing from urban life,” said Edward Sonshine, RioCan’s CEO. “Each element of The Well — retail, commercial and residential interspersed with pedestrian friendly walkways and open space — will flow together synergistically to create a vital and vibrant community. The Well captures our energy and creativity and provides us with a new landmark.”
Changing Needs for Business and Workers
“For two and a half decades, Allied has been renovating, developing and managing office space to meet the changing needs of businesses and their employees who want to work in Toronto’s vibrant downtown core,” said Michael Emory, President and CEO of Allied. “Our joint venture with RioCan and Diamond allows us to bring complementary expertise to bear in creating an urban environment where everyone will be connected. Knowledge workers, shoppers, residents and neighbours will enrich the urban experience for one another on an ongoing basis. The common spaces in The Well will significantly enhance the sense of community that exists in the area.”
To breathe life into this vision and do the master planning, the developers have chosen three world-renowned architects and urban designers: David Pontarini, founding partner Hariri Pontarini Architects, Jon Pickard, partner Pickard Chilton and Claude Cormier, founder Claude Cormier Landscape Architects.
As the planning process moves through its many stages, the development partners will continue discussion with local residents, municipal politicians and planning authorities. In addition to the ongoing dialogue, The Well has a dynamic website where visitors can find the developers’ vision for this exciting project as well as the latest news about the project.
About The Well
The Well is a new, open and vibrant mixed-use community in downtown Toronto where people can live, work, and shop well. Spread over seven and a half acres, The Well borders Wellington, Spadina and Front Streets. Visitors, employees and residents will be drawn to its robust retail mix, dynamic amenities, premium office space, entertainment and cultural events. The Well will become a gathering place, reflecting the heart and soul of Toronto, inspiring us and improving our quality of life.
Diamond, RioCan and Allied share a vision for The Well. We believe that working well is how important things get done. We believe having places to shop well creates a lively destination. We believe that a vibrant community is well mixed. We believe design can contribute to a well balanced life. We believe a great community is connected to its city. We believe a well built and sustainable neighbourhood is our legacy.
Thunder Bay Neighbourhoods
In Thunder Bay, along with many urban centres, the past trend in development resulted in sprawling cities, with the need for long commutes, and costing far more for police, fire, and city services. Moving to mixed use residential, retail, and business brings the communities closer together.
It can save, in the long run on taxes, and on demands for services.
Thunder Bay’s downtown cores would be great places for such development.