Downtown: Tricar’s latest proposed highrise would go beyond London’s density rule

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London city council wants intensified development. Now they have another chance to seize it.

Later this month, politicians will debate a major developer’s plan to build a 24-storey residential tower downtown — a proposal that calls for city hall to allow greater density than usual at the York Street site.

Tricar, the builder of landmark highrises across from Budweiser Gardens, now wants to build more not far away, at 330 Thames St. and 32-36-40 York St., across from Copp’s Buildall near Ridout Street.

But the mega-builder wants council to grant it a zoning amendment that would allow for 464 apartments per hectare, as opposed to the 350 normally allowed.

The site is about a half-hectare in size.

“Council’s priority continues to be to invest in the downtown core with high-density and inward and upward (development),” Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert said Tuesday.

“We have seen probably more interest in our downtown in the last several years than we have for many years previous, and that’s a positive sign for both downtown and for the city as a whole.”

Coun. Tanya Park, whose ward includes downtown, did not respond to requests for comment.

City council is pushing for intensification as a way to curb urban sprawl. Its goal is to keep nearly half of residential development in already-established neighbourhoods. The London Plan outlines a 45 per cent target for residential infill.

Hubert said there are many signs of progress toward that goal in the city’s downtown.

Council’s planning committee will vote on Tricar’s requested zoning amendment after hearing from the public on Aug. 28 at city hall. Citizens will be allowed to weigh in starting at 8:30 p.m.

If the Tricar request gets council approval, it’s full speed ahead.

“As long as we get our permit, we’ll be demolishing (at) the very start of September and preparing the site to start later this year,” Tricar vice-president Adam Carapella said.

Tricar has two separate but similar plans for the site. Both of them call for 245 apartments.

Carapella said the project would only enhance the downtown, and noted other tall structures are nearby. “If you can’t build highrises right downtown, where can you build them?” he said.

Nearby Ivey Park, located along Thames Street, is a bonus as far as Tricar is concerned, offering green space just steps away.

“The park system is already there,” Carapella said. “Downtown is just becoming, more and more, a place where people not only want to work or go for dinner, but want to live.”

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