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Owner looking for progress on proposed 530-unit student residence

Up to 11-storey building with 1,149 bedrooms is planned for the corner of Gordon Street and Stone Road
20210504 716 Gordon Street Guelph 2 RV
The property at 716 Gordon St. used to feature a hotel, but that was torn down in 2020.

City council hasn’t had a chance to weigh in on the latest proposal for a student housing project near the University of Guelph, but the developer is already taking its plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), which hears planning decision appeals.

The numbered company behind the propsal for 716 Gordon St. – former home of a Royal Brock hotel that was torn down in 2020 (it was a Best Western prior to that and a Ramada Inn even earlier) – wants to build a six to 11-storey building there, connected to a three or four-storey podium with a ground floor cafe.

If allowed to go ahead as is, the project would have 532 residential units with 1,149 individual bedrooms collectively, located on the southeast corner of Stone Road East and Gordon Street.

A development application was filed with the city in April but that was deemed incomplete by municipal planning staff last month, show documents provided by a lawyer for the proponent. The OLT appeal stems from that incomplete status, seeking to have it deemed complete.

“My client believes that the applications were indeed complete. The OLT motion will determine that question,” wrote lawyer Ira T. Kagan in an email to GuelphToday.

The proposal fails to consider the impacts of the city’s new comprehensive zoning bylaw, approved by council in April, or the new official plan and changes made by the provincial government, also announced in April, city staff argue in a letter to the proponent. City officials also asked for more information regarding permanent de-watering of the site.

“Generally, as applies to all three of the city’s reasons, the requested additional information is not required by the Planning Act regulation, was not required by the pre-application checklist and are not reasonable requirements for a complete application,” the appeal notice states.

Efforts to reach city planning staff for comment weren't immediately successful. In the past, city officials have declined to comment on matters under appeal.

The pre-application checklist is dated Feb. 6, about two months before implementation of the new official plan and zoning bylaw came into effect.

This isn’t the first development proposal for 716 Gordon St.

An OLT hearing was set for last September, but it was called off by the developer about a month before it was slated to happen. That plan called for a building with four connected towers – 11 storeys, nine storeys, six storeys and four storeys.

In 2013, the former Ontario Municipal Board (now OLT) ruled in favour of rezoning the property to allow residential apartments. 

The same company that’s behind the plan for 716 Gordon St. is behind a student housing proposal for nearby 785 Gordon St. That plan – a 10-storey building with 520 bedrooms, along with ground floor commercial space – is also working its way through the OLT process.

No hearing dates have been set at this time.

However, the city’s committee of adjustment is set to decide this Thursday whether the two-storey Days Inn building, which is proposed to be torn down to make way for the student residence, can be used for student housing for three years, while the appeal is heard.

City staff is recommending approval by the COA.


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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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