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Old Posted May 7, 2019, 2:43 PM
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[Ancaster] 412 Wilson Street East | ?m | 5.5 fl | Proposed

[Ancaster] 412 Wilson Street East| ?m | 5.5 fl | Proposed

Upscale condominiums, commercial boutiques proposed for Ancaster village core

Plan would add 122 condos, 14,000 square feet of commercial space at Wilson and Academy

Apr 09, 2019 by Mike Pearson Ancaster News

Two local investors are hoping to breathe new life into a neglected part of the Ancaster village core, with a proposal for 122 condominium units and 14,000 square feet of commercial space.

At 5.5 storeys, the plan from Sergio Manchia of UrbanCore Developments and Frank Spallacci of Spallacci Homes would create the tallest building in the village core area of Wilson Street East, where a bylaw normally prescribes a maximum of 2.5 storeys.

The proposed development would occupy six properties on about one hectare running from Wilson and Academy streets to the former Big Bee variety store across the street from Glendale Motors. The proposal includes the historic Marr-Philippo house, built for cabinetmaker Adam Marr around 1840. The home was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1981. According to a plaque on the building, it's a prime example of contemporary Georgian architecture. More recently, the building housed Hanley's Eyewear.

The developers have proposed moving the home back toward Lorne Avenue and incorporating the structure into the new residential building as an amenity space for residents.

The concept plan, centred around Academy and Wilson streets, includes stone facades, pedestrian accesses from Wilson with vehicular access from Academy, colonnades, garden areas, boutiques fronting onto Wilson and recessed balconies on the residential units, with exclusive penthouse suites. The development would include a single level of underground parking with surface parking to support the commercial component.

Manchia acknowledged the developers would need an official plan and zoning bylaw amendment, site remediation, as well as heritage permits to relocate the Marr-Philippo house. But he suggested the site needs some out-of-the-box thinking to realize its full potential.

“We want to bring some life to the core, to make it vibrant,” said Manchia. “We’re trying to create a legacy project.”

Manchia and Spallacci, along with Rob Nicolucci of SRN Architects, brought their proposal to Monday’s meeting of Ancaster community council, hosted by Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, for some informal feedback from the community.

Nicolucci said relocation of the Marr-Philippo house is a must if the development is to proceed.

Initial reviews around the community council table were mixed, with some praising the look and feel of the concept plan and others questioning the impact on surrounding properties.

The developers have engaged in consultation with city planning staff, but an application has not yet been submitted.

City of Hamilton project manager Yvette Rybensky, who attended the meeting, said an official plan amendment typically takes at least one year.

Ferguson plans to have the developers return to the community council once a formal application is filed.

He acknowledged the land parcel is a brownfield site that includes a former gas station.

“It’s been unattractive for decades. You’ve seen things start to get boarded up,” said Ferguson.

“It’s like a city block. It’s not too often that you see a complete city block up for construction.”

Manchia suggested the development could attract young professionals and empty-nesters looking to downsize in the heart of Ancaster.

“It will not only attract people from the Ancaster community but keep people in the Ancaster community,” said Manchia. “Maybe this is going to be an anomaly of a development that’s going to be a catalyst for other things to happen, in the right way.”

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