Council unanimously approves urban design plan for Baker District redevelopment

Library designs will be unveiled this fall

Guelph, Ont., July 21, 2021 – Earlier tonight Council approved the urban design master plan, parking construction budget and sustainable neighbourhood action plan for the Baker District redevelopment.

“This redevelopment is going to be great for all of Guelph,” says Jayne Holmes, the City’s deputy chief administrative officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “Not only is it going to bring in new local spending and jobs, it also adds to the vibrancy of our amazing downtown.”

The Council-approved construction budget for the City’s portion of two levels of underground parking, with an estimated 156 public spaces, is $15.9 million. Windmill Development Group will pay for the construction of about 260 private spaces for people living in the residential towers and townhomes.

Council also approved a motion put forward by Councillor Cathy Downer to ensure that the upcoming parking master plan update include a review of the required demand for public parking in the downtown, update projected needs and identify solutions to fit those needs.

Baker and Wyndham lots close in October for archaeological excavation

With the urban design master plan approved, the City’s next step is to complete the archaeological excavation this fall. The Baker and Wyndham Street parking lots will close October 1 for this work. The City is notifying permit holders of their new parking location directly, and ample public parking remains available in the East, West and Market parkades, and the Macdonell Street lot. Free two-hour on-street parking also continues to be available throughout the downtown.

Infrastructure planning for the Baker District redevelopment also ties into future downtown infrastructure revitalization work, and the City will coordinate this work carefully to minimize impacts to downtown businesses, residents and visitors.

Windmill Development will begin more detailed planning of the redevelopment based on the approved urban design master plan and expect to submit site plan applications for City staff review in late 2022.

“We’re very pleased that Council has continued to support this transformative project for the City,” says Alex Speigel, partner with Windmill Development Group. “Our team has worked hard over the last several years to overcome many challenges, and we appreciate this vote of confidence from Council as we reach this milestone today. We’ll continue to work closely with staff and the community as we move into the next stage of development to create a new downtown district that we can all be proud of.”

Library board approves architectural design for new central library

On July 13, the Guelph Public Library Board of Directors unanimously endorsed Diamond Schmitt’s architectural design for the new central library as presented in the urban design master plan for the Baker District redevelopment.

“The new central library will be a place for community gatherings, sharing and discovery, celebration, storytelling and for the safe keeping of our history,” says Steve Kraft. “It’s been a long-time coming. Today’s Council decisions are a big turning point for the library and the whole community.”

The final schematic design of the new central library, informed by extensive public engagement conducted over three years, will be presented to the library’s board for approval this fall before being unveiled to the community.

About the Baker District redevelopment

The City and Windmill Developments are transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a vibrant district nestled in Guelph’s historic core that will create a renewed area of activity, commerce and civic space for the local community and city.

This welcoming and publicly accessible integrated civic hub—known as the Baker District—is anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and includes outdoor urban squares, residential units, commercial space and public parking.

As a landmark city-building initiative, the Baker District redevelopment further revitalizes Guelph’s downtown and—by extension—improves the entire city’s economic and social prosperity.

The Baker District redevelopment project supports multiple priorities of the City’s strategic plan, Guelph. Future Ready.:

  • Sustaining Our Future through net-zero carbon targets
  • Powering Our Future through helping to grow downtown business and the local economy
  • Building our Future through the inclusion of affordable housing
  • Working Together for Our Future through innovation and strategic partnerships

The redevelopment also supports the themes of Guelph’s Community Plan to love where we live, protect our environment, create value, and play and explore.

Resources

Media Contact

Stephen Gazzola, Project Manager
Facilities and Energy Management
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3886
[email protected]elph.ca