Gentrification coming to Bradford Street?

A project pitched as being both a first for Barrie and meeting the City’s intensification goals was reviewed Monday night, but the details were not to everyone’s liking.
At a public meeting, Darren Vella of Innovative Planning Solutions, on behalf of G.D. Coates Holdings, presented a proposal to build a development consisting of 254 apartments, nine live/work units and nearly 17,500 square feet of commercial space at 145 Bradford Street, formerly the site of Classic Dodge.
The proposal calls for the development to be on about 2.9 acres, bordered by Bradford, Ellen and Victoria streets. The sewage treatment plant sits to the south, and the property is close to a number of high-rise condos on Lakeshore Drive. Small businesses and detached homes are also nearby.
The project, said Vella, conforms to the City’s growth vision for Bradford Street, as well as provincial plans like Place to Grow, which identifies Barrie as a growth centre and directs targeted municipalities to intensify development.
Its work/live component is a first for Barrie, said Vella. Basically, they are urban-style, mixed commercial/residential units, consisting of shops on the lower floor and residences above. Permitted usages could include bakeries, florists, office space, restaurants, veterinary clinics, day nurseries, and other retail/commercial businesses.
After the presentation a number of area residents raised concerns about the project, which they said was too big and would cause traffic problems, most particularly on Ellen Street. Gary Caulfield, owner of Owen SignCraft on Ellen Street, and president of Caulfield Development Corp., said the project would put “extreme added pressure” on Ellen “which can barely support the current traffic levels.”
Caulfield, in a letter to city clerk Dawn McAlpine outlining his concerns, said he’d “prefer to see a comprehensive development plan that incorporates the whole block if gentrification is the goal. The current layout will only highlight the ‘mish-mash’ approach where older properties are dwarfed in the shadows by high-rise developments.”
Of particular concern to residents was the plan to have the entrance to the complex from Ellen Street.
“Bradford Street, which is currently designed for high-volume traffic, for access to the condo unit should be demanded,” wrote Caulfield.
As constituted, the development would have one 19-story building, and two five-story structures. It would require a zoning amendment. Currently designated City Centre and zoned general Commercial C4, an application has been made to amend the zoning to City Centre Commercial C2-2 SP, looking for a number of special provisions, including increasing the maximum building height to 65 metres from 45 metres and decreasing a number of setbacks.
A staff report on the project is expected to be ready by late summer or early fall. The project is not the tallest condo development envisioned. Blue Simcoe Developments has plans for two condo towers on Lakeshore, one 25 storeys and the other 24.

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