Demand driving Masonville highrise, London developer says

The public wants it.

A highrise tower proposed for Masonville is being driven by demand as Tricar Group’s three other residential towers in the neighbourhood are largely sold out, with a waiting list, company president Joe Carapella said Monday - writes

A 22-storey, 230-unit tower proposed for 230 North Centre Rd., just north of Masonville Place mall, has angered some area residents who say it is too big for the largely low- and medium-density area, populated by one- and two-storey condominiums, a seniors home and single-family homes.

Neighbours are taking issue with the scale of the development. They believe it is too high and want it scaled back. But the city’s official plan, which guides building in the city, allows it, said Carapella.

“Even if it is 18 storeys, that won’t make a difference,” said Carapella. “A tower is a tower.”

A neighbourhood group has vowed a fight over the building, near the intersection of Richmond Street and Fanshawe Park Road. Along with the height, they fear the additional units will see a lot more traffic at the intersection already dubbed “calamity corners.”

“Our condo corporation is angry,” said Victoria Digby, a neighbour who is leading the charge. “Provincial legislation says building should fit the area in a compatible and sensible way. There is not a building this large in the area.”

Coun. Maureen Cassidy, who represents the area, has also stated concern the tower will throw a courtyard at a neighboring seniors home into shadow, and wants to see the tower scaled back.

Carapella said he bought the land from the retirement home.

“The city wants the density. I just want to say to the neighbours, ‘Don’t be concerned. There is not much difference between 18 and 22 storeys,’ ” said Carapella.

“It is a commercial hub, where people want density.”

The beauty of a residential tower is the 230 units will house as many people in one building on 1.1 hectares of land, as would be spread over 60 acres in a subdivision, he added.

Even if it is 18 storeys, that won't make a difference. A tower is a tower.

said Joe Carapella

As for his other towers in the area, “there is a waiting list . . . they have been full for years. Masonville is very dersirable. There is incredible demand,” given the concentration of shopping and services in the area.

The highrise is consistent with how the city’s planning department also sees the neighbourhood growing, as the 22-storeys are allowed under the official plan, said Mike Corby, city planner.

The matter will likely go to a city planning committee in May.

The city’s bus rapid transit model designates Masonville as a transit village, meaning there will be a station at the mall site, and that allows for increased density up to 22 storeys. Tricar is the first out of the gate to apply for a tower under the new plan.

“It is one of the reasons we bought it,” said Carapella. “We like to lead, we don’t like to follow.”

There will also be transit villages downtown, west at Oxford Street and Wonderland Road, east at Oxford and Highbury Avenue on the former psychiatric hospital lands, and south at Wellington Road and Bradley Avenue.

Tricar’s proposed 24-storey residential tower at York and Thames streets. The city’s planning and environment committee will consider a zoning amendment application after a public meeting on Aug. 28.

Tricar is best known recently for building the Azure condominium downtown on Talbot Street, which is 85 per cent sold. It has also begun construction on a 24-storey tower on York Street, dubbed Riverwalk.

  • Tricar Group in Masonville– The Chantry: At 300 North Centre Rd, 119 units on 12 floors, a rental building, fully occupied.
  • Village North: On Sunningdale Road west of Richmond Street, a two-tower development, 14 storeys each, more than 150 units each. The first phase is sold out; the second tower, just being completed, is 90 per cent sold.
  • Richmond Hill: 1985 Richmond, at Northcrest Drive. Built by Tricar, sold to Killam Properties.
  • Proposed: 22-storey, 230-unit tower at 230 North Centre Rd.

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