Construction starts soon on new commercial shopping plaza

Guelph, On, October 25, 2013 – Construction is set to begin on a new 37,700-square-foot commercial shopping plaza, located at 40 Wellington Street West.

Belmont Equity Partners, developer and co-owner of the site, is developing the former Rockwell Automation (Canada) Inc. industrial land to include four retail buildings. In 2012, Council approved a zoning by-law amendment to permit a multi-building retail/office development on the site.

The proposed mix of retailers for the plaza includes a speciality natural food store, coffee shop, liquor store, restaurant, and other retail.

The site will have 150 off-street parking spaces, including 23 spaces and two accessible spaces designated for Royal City Park users. Currently, park users entering Royal City Park from the northeast and west must park on nearby streets or in the parking lot beside the Boathouse Tea Room.

Several accessible pedestrian routes will be created through the site connecting Wellington and Gordon streets to the shops, services, and park.

To soften sightlines between the public streets, plaza site, park and river, shrubs and trees will be planted and garbage and loading areas will be screened.

“The buildings and landscaping will be of quality design and materials and will compliment Royal City Park,” says Michael Witmer, a planner and site plan coordinator with the City’s Planning Services, adding, “The developer is following the City’s urban design policies for riverfront developments.”

As part of the site plan application, the developer hired an arborist to assess park trees that are in close proximity to 40 Wellington Street and over 10 centimetres in diameter at breast height. To accommodate development, the arborist report recommends seven trees be removed, and another six trees are at risk of injury from development impacts.

However, Karen Sabzali, manager of Parks and Open Space, says before any trees are removed or retention decisions are made an arborist will be retained, at the developer’s expense, to investigate the root conditions of the park trees by using non-invasive root sensitive excavation techniques.

“The City is committed to maximizing its urban forest and continually pursues and promotes the implementation of best practices for tree protection, establishment, and maintenance. We will be working with the developer and arborist to conduct a root investigation that will inform removal and/or retention decisions. This investigation will also enable proper root pruning to lessen the impacts of development on the trees that will remain.”

During the final phase of construction, 31 new trees will be planted by the developer on the site and in Royal City Park. Up to 20 trees will also be planted on City lands as part of compensation the City will receive from the developer should park trees be removed.

As an extension of the work happening at 40 Wellington Street, the developer has also agreed to replace the Royal City Park ball diamond backstop and add in fencing to stop fly balls from entering the commercial plaza. New players’ benches and bleachers will also be installed. This work will be done in 2014 during the off season.

The developer will also construct an asphalt trail from the intersection at Dublin and Wellington streets, which will provide an accessible route from the plaza parking area to the ball diamond; and is contributing to trail construction in the park. The City will host a community information session before constructing the remaining section of trail to the bandstand, play area, and park roadway once funds are approved by Council. Trail construction is expected to happen in 2015.

Gordon and Wellington reconstruction

On Monday, October 28, the City will begin construction on Gordon Street, from Wellington Street West to the Gordon Street bridge, to support the commercial development.

The City will be widening the street and adding on-street parking as well as upgrading the storm sewer, watermain, street lighting, curb and gutter, sidewalk, driveway aprons, median, and asphalt paving.

During installation of the underground services, traffic on Gordon Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction. There will be a one-week period when the City must completely close the road in both directions to through traffic, including cyclists, to complete utility crossings. Transit and emergency vehicles will be allowed to use the road throughout the project, and cyclists can find alternative routes using Guelph’s cycling map at guelph.ca/bike.

Once reconstruction is completed on Gordon Street, eastbound lanes as well as one westbound lane on Wellington Street will be closed to through traffic for about five days.

Dates of the road closures will be posted to guelph.ca/construction. The City anticipates the road reconstruction to be completed by December 2013, weather permitting.

For more information on the development of 40 Wellington Street, visit guelph.ca.

For more information

(40 Wellington Street development)

Michael Witmer
Planner/Site Plan Coordinator, Planning Services
519-822-1260 extension 2790
michael.witmer@guelph.ca

(Road construction)

Ike Umar
Project Manager, Engineering Services
519-822-1260 extension 2242
ike.umar@guelph.ca

(Royal City Park)

Karen Sabzali
Manager, Parks and Open Space
519-822-1260 extension 2664
karen.sabzali@guelph.ca