Monday, March 9, 2015

First Gulf's 21 Don Roadway/UniLever lands development Public Consultation Meeting #1

First Gulf's "Project 21" Community Consultation

First Gulf is looking to develop the old Lever Brother's site at the foot of Don Roadway and Lakeshore Boulevard. It's an ambitious plan, and made more so by the fact that the city has asked them to develop a Master Plan for the entire block of land east of the Don River, bounded by Eastern Avenue, Booth Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. The site is 60 acres and includes land owned by the City, Enbridge Gas, Cinespace Film Studios.

First Gulf have stated they're looking to build 12 million square feet of office space (think a 4-tower TD Centre spread in lower-height buildings over the 60 acres) but their plan is dependent on 3 pre-conditions:

1. The completion of the naturalization of the Don River in order to permit construction on what is now a flood plain.

2. Transportation access, including A Go-Train or Smart Track stop, TTC transit (via a Downtown Relief Line station or a Broadview streetcar extension).

3. A diversion of the Gardiner (they have gone from supporting the elimination of the eastern Gardiner to a proposal to move the Gardiner - Don Valley connection).

The good news is that First Gulf is taking a proactive approach in reaching out to the community. First, Ward 30 Bikes was invited to a site walk on January 17 with Derek Goring, the Vice President of Development and the person in charge of this project. He gave us an overview of First Gulf's vision for the lands along with a candid explanation of the challenges they face. Our impressions were that it is a massive site whose development would indeed transform the area. Here are a couple of pictures we took along the way:

Looking North-west from Lakeshore near the Don Roadway (Image Gerry Brown)

Picture this space filled with low-rise office space (Image Gerry Brown)

Looking south-west from along Eastern Avenue - Enbridge lands are in the foreground (Image Gerry Brown)

More pictures can be found in our earlier pos:

And this week, First Gulf held a meeting to engage the community and to develop a stakeholder committee. It's early days and this is a plan that will span decades, but it's good to see a developer seeking input at an early stage. There are many questions to be answered over the coming months but First Gulf are looking to finish the Master Plan before the end of the year. If you're interested in what Ward 30 will look like in 20 - 30 years, this is a project that deserves your attention. If you'd like a more in-depth look at the project, here's a link from Urban Toronto

One final point - First Gulf don't have an official name for the project yet (Project 21 is a placeholder) so if you've got a suggestion, let them know.

Gerry Brown
Ward 30 Bikes


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