Kanata’s downtown is starting to take shape.
Urbandale Corp. detailed plans to develop nearly 10 hectares of the Kanata Town Centre lands during a public meeting held at the Mlacak Centre on Dec. 13.
More than 100 people attended the meeting hosted by Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson and Marc Magierowicz, the city planner working on the project.
The developer is looking for a mixture of residential, mixed-use and open space on currently undeveloped land. The construction company submitted its proposal in August.
The submission is scheduled to go to the planning committee on Jan. 14.
A group of residents who have been meeting with the developer over the past two months have given a tentative thumbs up to the proposal after the developer agreed to include sizeable setbacks and the terracing of buildings located near townhouses on Campeau Drive and Gray Crescent.
“We’re pretty pleased with it,” said Jim Taggart, a member of the Kanata Town Centre Action Group. “But the big day is going to be Jan. 14, with the planning committee, where they will make the decisions.”
Urbandale plans to develop seven blocks of land located on Canadian Shield Avenue and Maritime Way, an area bounded by Highway 417, Campeau Drive, Gray Crescent and lands owned by the city.
The company is asking the city to zone the land as a mixed-use centre, which would allow medium-density residential, office and commercial use.
The developer is looking to build:
* Two 120-unit apartment buildings between four and six storeys high.
* 111,500 square-metres of office and commercial space, which is expected to create 850 new jobs.
* A hotel on a block of land located on the corner of Cordillera Street and Canadian Shield Avenue with a six-metre setback from Campeau.
* Several six storey buildings on a block of land on the corner of Great Lakes Avenue and Canadian Shield Avenue. Within 25 metres of Campeau Drive the buildings would be a maximum of three storeys, with a six-metre setback.
* Office-type buildings between three and 10 storeys high on a block of land near Highway 417 and a block located on the corner of Great Lakes Avenue and Canadian Shield Avenue.
Tim Chadder, a senior planner with J.L. Richards, a consultant hired by Urbandale, said the idea is to avoid constructing a six-storey building right up against single-storey townhouses in existing neighbourhoods.
“We try to stagger the setback so it gives … more of a separation and more of an open feeling.”
Urbandale is looking to put the taller buildings on Canadian Shield Avenue and Maritime Way, the blocks of land closest to the highway, he said.
“It also allows us to implement the true intention of the Official Plan where the Canadian Shield is really seen as the heart of the community,” he said. “So we want to try and get that more urban feeling to the buildings that are right on that street front.”
He said varying heights can provide an “old school downtown main street feel.”
Wilkinson said she was pleased the developer agreed to residents’ request for a terraced approach to building sizes located near existing townhomes.
“The developer actually has been very positive in how its dealt with this with the community,” he said. “If anything, the city was more stringent than the developer.”
Several people at the meeting said they were worried the surrounding roads wouldn’t be able to handle additional traffic.
Magierowicz said the city will start work on expanding Campeau Drive to four lanes from Kanata Avenue to Didsbury Road starting in 2014.
“That will alleviate some of the traffic concerns,” he said.
Wilkinson said expanding the rest of Campeau to four lanes between Kanata Avenue and March Road probably won’t start until after 2017.
The Kanata Town Centre lands are fully serviced, including trees, sidewalks and utilities.