Rygar proposes 200-unit highrise in London’s core to serve new Fanshawe campus

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A chunk of Dundas Street streetscape downtown may be torn down to build a new 27-storey highrise.

Rygar Corp. wants to demolish 150 Dundas St. to make way for a $60-million, 200-unit highrise just steps from Fanshawe College’s new downtown campus, which the tower will be built to serve.

“This could be a game changer,” said Janette MacDonald, director of Downtown London, which represents core businesses.

Rygar Corp. plans to build the tower as a student rental. City council’s planning and environment committee is expected to discuss the company’s request to rezone the property and demolish the existing building at a meeting July 31.

“This is all about Fanshawe College going into the old Kingsmill’s (building),” Rygar president John Rodgers said. “It’s three doors down.”

and there will be more than 2,000 students. They will need a place to live, they’re not all from London,” Rodgers said

If all goes smoothly at city hall, Rodgers said he wants to break ground this fall and students could move in as soon as 2019.

Michael Tomazincic, a city planner, said the proposed tower would be a good fit downtown.

“There is merit in this application. We still have to work around some details but this is a positive show of confidence in the downtown.”

The building at 150 Dundas is considered a heritage property, as all downtown buildings are, Tomazincic said, but it has a more 1950s design instead of the traditional yellow-brick Victorian facade.

“We have to think about how students will be accommodated downtown since Fanshawe College is expanding.”

The building will not offer parking. Most new towers offer parking to help with marketing, but it is not required for downtown highrises, Tomazincic said.

A planner with Zelinka Priamo, the private planning firm that submitted a report on the proposal to the city, said the firm is working with city staff.

“It is positive and there are just a few loose ends to tie up,” Casey Kulchycki said.

Tenants may be able to park in nearby surface and garage parking lots but it is anticipated most students will not have a car, he said.

“In this situation our target market is Fanshawe students downtown.”

With the Fanshawe downtown campus serving more than 2,000 students, “there will be no trouble filling the building,” MacDonald said.

If the highrise can keep that many students downtown, that will be good for all business and a boost to retailers in the core, she said

“Everything follows residential, it is the start of everything. Residential is the critical piece that is missing.”

The existing building sits between Dundas and Carling Street on 0.14 hectares or 0.35 acres.

Fanshawe College now has a Centre for Digital and Performing Arts at 137 Dundas Street and is expanding into 130 Dundas St., the former Kingsmill’s store.

The Zelinka Priamo report states the Rygar tower would have second floor commercial space and two-bedroom units on the third floor and above.

“The proposed development will contribute directly to the revitalization of Dundas Street as being a public space intended to function as the economic, cultural and institutional centre of the city, and in support of a major institutional use currently anchoring the revitalization effort,” the report said.

“The design of the mixed-use building is proposed to achieve a high design standard expected of tall buildings in the downtown and will enhance the pedestrian experience.”

Rodgers and Rygar are also behind a massive residential tower complex proposed for the former Camden Terrace site on Talbot Street. Rygar will tear down buildings at 100 Fullarton St. and 501 Talbot St. next month and start to clean the site, Rodgers said.

He estimates the job may take about five months, and after it’s done construction can start, he said.

Rygar has submitted a site plan application for the development.

“It will be going up. There are a lot of good things happening downtown and this is a great site,” Rodgers said.

The $300-million, 700-unit complex will contain a nine-storey building flanked by towers of 38 and 29 stories on a block of Talbot Street between Fullarton Street and Dufferin Avenue.



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