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Council approves eight-storey building at Gordon and Arkell

Former Hamilton's Garage site to see 110-unit apartment building constructed

Plans for an eight-storey building at the former Hamilton’s Garage location in the south end have received a green light. City council approved the 110-unit apartment development during its Monday evening meeting.

Construction of the apartment building is planned to begin later this year.

"I'm eager to see something built here," commented Coun. Dominique O'Rourke, noting the project is over the previous limits for density, height and length. 

She was joined in opposition by councillors Leanne Caron, James Gordon and Phil Allt. Coun. Mike Salisbury was absent from the meeting.

In a report to council, city staff encouraged approval of the plan.

"The location of the site ... we feel like it's an appropriate location for the proposed density," explained Michael Witmer, the city's senior development planner, in response to O'Rourke's concerns, noting the project application was deemed complete and new council-approved density targets are not yet in effect.

"They had applied under the previous OP (official plan)," added Krista Walkey, general manager of planning and building services.

Traffic volumes in the area will continue to be monitored, staff said.

Initially proposed by a numbered company in 2019 as an 88-unit apartment complex with a Petro-Canada gas station and convenience store on the ground level, as well as 59 above-ground parking spots and 153 underground parking spots. 

It was revised in 2021, eliminating the gas station and convenience store in favour of more apartments, which would increase the total number of dwellings from 88 to 110. Off-street parking was also increased to 159. 

A third revision was submitted this past May with minor revisions, such as 172.4 units per hectare rather than 110, eliminating the proposed driveway access to Arkell Road, permitting a micro-brewery or brew pub as an additional permitted use, and a reduced minimum interior side yard. 

The lot is situated at the southeast corner of the intersection of Gordon Street and Arkell Road, with a site area of 0.638 hectares, running 118 metres along Gordon and 43 metres along Arkell. The 1.5 acres of developable land formerly housed Hamilton’s Corner Garage – a go-to spot for used Volvo parts – which operated for 87 years before closing in 2016. 

Ahead of council's vote, nearby resident Claudia Espindola expressed concerns about the development's impact on local traffic, especially in view of other developments in the area.

"There are another three projects going on," she said. "The struggle here is again traffic congestion.

"It's very dangerous for the people that live in this area just to drive out of our houses."

O'Rourke noted there will be a centre turning lane added to Gordon Street between Landdown Drive and Lowes Road, for which construction is slated to begin next year.

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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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