Comment 31735

By Daddy Fewbucks (anonymous) | Posted June 12, 2009 at 15:37:52

I seem to recall a comment from Councillor Bratman, in regard to redeveloping the Gore Park/MacNab Street bus terminus, to the effect that the city owned the land under the former Robinsons Department Store building. Maybe I'm wrong, and/or maybe he was wrong, but that does strike me as a pretty high-profile chunk of vacant downtown property adjascent to underground parking (Hamilton Place, AGH, Jackson Square) even more central to public transit, if that's possible, than the long-negotiated Bd. of Ed. site.

If the city is sitting on this land waiting and hoping for a high-tax paying development to appear, then that makes them (us) roughly equivilent to other downtown property speculators, each waiting for the other to make the first move. If the city is sitting on this land because it's too "complex" to think about building a medical centre on in conjunction with planning for a street transit terminus, well that just makes them (us) kinda, sadly, disappointing in a "the easy we can do given enough decades (think the Lister Block), the complex we can't do at all" kind of way.

But then "too complex" was given as the main reason why we've plans for a new stadium in the middle of a residential community (when being in the middle of a residential community was a significant reason why Ivor Wynne never became a multi-function facility) instead of over top the city-owned sewage overflow tank at Cathedral Park, next to major transit routes and an area suited to a major commercial boost, without necessarily disturbing residents a block or two beyond.

If you're uncertain, Cathedral Park is that seldom used chunk of greenspace between King and Main and skirted by the Main East exit ramp from Hwy.403. Behind the Dundurn St. Fortinos. Don't think I've ever seen any ball players there, but do I think I've seen a ball diamond.

Not that I know anything about property development, (and not that I'm going to let that stop me from commenting) but as a transportation/commercial hub, that's a plot that just screams to me with entertainment-centre-development potential. So much potential that the potential realization of that potential must potentially be pretty complex. Too bad the city owns the biggest chunk of relevant properties, then.

BTW, since we're jawing property development, just got the following bit of news from a Downtown BIA newsletter:

"After more than 40 years of protection from the elements the cladding has been removed from the 1855 Thomas Building next to the Lister Block at 46-52 James Street North. Unfortunately what remains is only the stone walls of the façade which have no redeeming architectural or historical value whatsoever. Gone are the building's original stone projections, including the window surrounds, and roof cornices that made this 19th century downtown building unique. Severe water damage to the existing stone blocks on the front façade have eroded the backface of the building to such a degree that it will be unlikely that LIUNA (Labourers' International Union of North America) the owners of the building, will be able to save it."

Oh lordy, here we go again.

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