Dundas' University Plaza not yet on residential redevelopment radar

News Apr 27, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas' University Plaza is not officially on anyone's radar for residential redevelopment, despite a new focus from both plaza owner RioCan and the City of Hamilton on mixed-use density growth on commercial sites.

RioCan has already identified 43 mixed-use redevelopment opportunities on properties it owns across Canada. Eight are already, or about to be, under construction.

Hamilton city council passed a resolution last month directing economic development staff to consult operators and owners of commercial properties — like RioCan — about "new, expanded potential for residential and mixed use intensification within many existing commercial areas, such as shopping malls, to explore their interest in mixed-use development and to identify if any further barriers remain to supporting this type of development."

But University Plaza is not in RioCan's plans for mixed-use development quite yet.

"At this time, University Plaza is not actively under development. We are unable to comment on future plans for the property at this time," said Christian Green, assistant vice-president of investor relations at RioCan.

Over the last couple of years, RioCan executives have repeatedly said there is no plan to redevelop University Plaza.

Glen Norton, the city's director of economic development, said there is no schedule to carry out council's direction and speak to specific property owners, and no list of properties to consider.

"Our first step is with our colleagues in planning, to identify for us which plazas have the potential, and what size, height, density restrictions might be for each site," Norton said. "The last thing we would want to do is get a developer (or) owner excited and then find out that their options are very limited. Once we know which developments and where, we will prioritize the list, and get contact information, and then reach out to see if they would be interested in a meeting with us."

In March, RioCan launched a new "residential brand" called RioCan Living, to capitalize on the "intrinsic value of the company's vast portfolio of major market properties” by turning selected existing retail shopping centres into "vibrant, mixed-use communities."

Jonathon Gitlin, RioCan's senior vice-president of investment and residential, stated in a March press release that the company is uniquely positioned to address a "void" of rental properties in major urban centres by pursuing the "best use" of its assets.

"It's incumbent upon RioCan to figure out ways to make our properties better, more effective, and more valuable," Gitlin said in the press release. "At the same time, we are delivering best-in-class, professionally managed residential units at a significant scale to the cities and communities that need it most."

In 2008, a McMaster University masters of engineering design student completed a report on possible mixed-use redevelopment of Dundas' University Plaza for his course.

Nick Derkach's “The feasibility of the sustainable redevelopment of University Plaza” not only considered retrofitting and reinforcing existing east and west plaza structures to include second levels with residential condominiums, but also suggested building six new mixed-use buildings and five new apartment buildings. His plan included pedestrian spaces on the redesigned site, an underground parking garage and a rapid transit terminal.

Derkach estimated, 10 years ago, redevelopment would cost approximately $67.9 million (plus or minus 20 per cent).

"As a result, the redevelopment project was deemed economically feasible to a reasonable degree," Derkach stated in his report.

University Plaza already faces significant changes. Canadian Tire is expected to take over the lease of the existing Metro grocery store and renovate the structure into a Canadian Tire retail store and auto service centre. Meanwhile, Beverly Tire & Auto plans to relocate its University Plaza shop to a new, larger eight-bay service centre at a property next door to the RioCan site.


Dundas' University Plaza not yet on residential redevelopment radar

RioCan has already identified 43 mixed-use redevelopment opportunities on properties it owns across Canada

News Apr 27, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas' University Plaza is not officially on anyone's radar for residential redevelopment, despite a new focus from both plaza owner RioCan and the City of Hamilton on mixed-use density growth on commercial sites.

RioCan has already identified 43 mixed-use redevelopment opportunities on properties it owns across Canada. Eight are already, or about to be, under construction.

Hamilton city council passed a resolution last month directing economic development staff to consult operators and owners of commercial properties — like RioCan — about "new, expanded potential for residential and mixed use intensification within many existing commercial areas, such as shopping malls, to explore their interest in mixed-use development and to identify if any further barriers remain to supporting this type of development."

But University Plaza is not in RioCan's plans for mixed-use development quite yet.

"At this time, University Plaza is not actively under development. We are unable to comment on future plans for the property at this time."
Christian Green

"At this time, University Plaza is not actively under development. We are unable to comment on future plans for the property at this time," said Christian Green, assistant vice-president of investor relations at RioCan.

Over the last couple of years, RioCan executives have repeatedly said there is no plan to redevelop University Plaza.

Glen Norton, the city's director of economic development, said there is no schedule to carry out council's direction and speak to specific property owners, and no list of properties to consider.

"Our first step is with our colleagues in planning, to identify for us which plazas have the potential, and what size, height, density restrictions might be for each site," Norton said. "The last thing we would want to do is get a developer (or) owner excited and then find out that their options are very limited. Once we know which developments and where, we will prioritize the list, and get contact information, and then reach out to see if they would be interested in a meeting with us."

In March, RioCan launched a new "residential brand" called RioCan Living, to capitalize on the "intrinsic value of the company's vast portfolio of major market properties” by turning selected existing retail shopping centres into "vibrant, mixed-use communities."

Jonathon Gitlin, RioCan's senior vice-president of investment and residential, stated in a March press release that the company is uniquely positioned to address a "void" of rental properties in major urban centres by pursuing the "best use" of its assets.

"It's incumbent upon RioCan to figure out ways to make our properties better, more effective, and more valuable," Gitlin said in the press release. "At the same time, we are delivering best-in-class, professionally managed residential units at a significant scale to the cities and communities that need it most."

In 2008, a McMaster University masters of engineering design student completed a report on possible mixed-use redevelopment of Dundas' University Plaza for his course.

Nick Derkach's “The feasibility of the sustainable redevelopment of University Plaza” not only considered retrofitting and reinforcing existing east and west plaza structures to include second levels with residential condominiums, but also suggested building six new mixed-use buildings and five new apartment buildings. His plan included pedestrian spaces on the redesigned site, an underground parking garage and a rapid transit terminal.

Derkach estimated, 10 years ago, redevelopment would cost approximately $67.9 million (plus or minus 20 per cent).

"As a result, the redevelopment project was deemed economically feasible to a reasonable degree," Derkach stated in his report.

University Plaza already faces significant changes. Canadian Tire is expected to take over the lease of the existing Metro grocery store and renovate the structure into a Canadian Tire retail store and auto service centre. Meanwhile, Beverly Tire & Auto plans to relocate its University Plaza shop to a new, larger eight-bay service centre at a property next door to the RioCan site.


Dundas' University Plaza not yet on residential redevelopment radar

RioCan has already identified 43 mixed-use redevelopment opportunities on properties it owns across Canada

News Apr 27, 2018 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Dundas' University Plaza is not officially on anyone's radar for residential redevelopment, despite a new focus from both plaza owner RioCan and the City of Hamilton on mixed-use density growth on commercial sites.

RioCan has already identified 43 mixed-use redevelopment opportunities on properties it owns across Canada. Eight are already, or about to be, under construction.

Hamilton city council passed a resolution last month directing economic development staff to consult operators and owners of commercial properties — like RioCan — about "new, expanded potential for residential and mixed use intensification within many existing commercial areas, such as shopping malls, to explore their interest in mixed-use development and to identify if any further barriers remain to supporting this type of development."

But University Plaza is not in RioCan's plans for mixed-use development quite yet.

"At this time, University Plaza is not actively under development. We are unable to comment on future plans for the property at this time."
Christian Green

"At this time, University Plaza is not actively under development. We are unable to comment on future plans for the property at this time," said Christian Green, assistant vice-president of investor relations at RioCan.

Over the last couple of years, RioCan executives have repeatedly said there is no plan to redevelop University Plaza.

Glen Norton, the city's director of economic development, said there is no schedule to carry out council's direction and speak to specific property owners, and no list of properties to consider.

"Our first step is with our colleagues in planning, to identify for us which plazas have the potential, and what size, height, density restrictions might be for each site," Norton said. "The last thing we would want to do is get a developer (or) owner excited and then find out that their options are very limited. Once we know which developments and where, we will prioritize the list, and get contact information, and then reach out to see if they would be interested in a meeting with us."

In March, RioCan launched a new "residential brand" called RioCan Living, to capitalize on the "intrinsic value of the company's vast portfolio of major market properties” by turning selected existing retail shopping centres into "vibrant, mixed-use communities."

Jonathon Gitlin, RioCan's senior vice-president of investment and residential, stated in a March press release that the company is uniquely positioned to address a "void" of rental properties in major urban centres by pursuing the "best use" of its assets.

"It's incumbent upon RioCan to figure out ways to make our properties better, more effective, and more valuable," Gitlin said in the press release. "At the same time, we are delivering best-in-class, professionally managed residential units at a significant scale to the cities and communities that need it most."

In 2008, a McMaster University masters of engineering design student completed a report on possible mixed-use redevelopment of Dundas' University Plaza for his course.

Nick Derkach's “The feasibility of the sustainable redevelopment of University Plaza” not only considered retrofitting and reinforcing existing east and west plaza structures to include second levels with residential condominiums, but also suggested building six new mixed-use buildings and five new apartment buildings. His plan included pedestrian spaces on the redesigned site, an underground parking garage and a rapid transit terminal.

Derkach estimated, 10 years ago, redevelopment would cost approximately $67.9 million (plus or minus 20 per cent).

"As a result, the redevelopment project was deemed economically feasible to a reasonable degree," Derkach stated in his report.

University Plaza already faces significant changes. Canadian Tire is expected to take over the lease of the existing Metro grocery store and renovate the structure into a Canadian Tire retail store and auto service centre. Meanwhile, Beverly Tire & Auto plans to relocate its University Plaza shop to a new, larger eight-bay service centre at a property next door to the RioCan site.