Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Surprise No. 1
During the testing of the land for proposed Parcel A, it was discovered that a small are of the site was contaminated. Parcel A just happened to be the playground on the Grace Adam Metawewinihk Park. The contamination came from a former dry cleaning operation which existed on 20th Street and Avenue P in the 1950's. It was buried well underground and did not pose any risk to people. However, the site could not be excavated for a residential development without first removing the soil and installing a liner underground to prevent any further contamination. It would cost an additional $67,000 to remediate the site.
In March 2008, the playground equipment was dismantled, more test holes were dug, the site was excavated and a liner was buried along the boundary of Parcel A and the lane. The playground equipment was re-assembled by June.
Surprise No. 2
In the fall of 2007, City Council had issued an Expression of Interest (EOI) for housing providers to submit proposals for the first two development sites - Parcels B and D. By the end of the EOI period, only four proposals from non-profit providers had been received. Although appreciated, none of the proposals were from housing providers who could develop the housing using their own means. City Council extended the deadline another three months, but by January 2008, no further proposals were received.
The Saskatoon homebuilders were coming off their busiest year in history. There was little capacity left to take on another housing project. However, by May of 2008, the housing market was beginning to slow down, and interest in the project began to grow.
Pleasant Hill Community Review Committee
A Committee of Pleasant Hill Community leaders was assembled to assist in the review and selection of all development proposals. The City provided a scoresheet and each project was ranked.
Keith Hanson of the Affordable New Home Development Foundation (ANHDF) submitted a unique proposal to the City whereby two local builders (River Ridge Homes and Ehrenburg Homes) would construct a unique form of stacked townhouse, or 'big house' design using local labour and offer training to apprentice tradespeople.
The Big House design will yield 24 family-oriented units. This project was presented to the Review Committee in December 2008, and was chosen for Parcel D.
A second developer entered the picture in March 2008. Sam Qin of Cenith Developments Inc. proposed to build a unique form of modular townhouses and would utilize the latest in energy saving techniques and equipment, including wind power. Twelve family-oriented dwellings will be constructed on Parcel B.
Sale agreements have been signed and both of these housing developments will commence construction in summer of 2009. In recognition of the interest shown by the non-profit housing providers in 2007, the City put a condition in the sale agreement allowing the non-profit housing providers to pre-select up to 50% of the units for purchase. Completion of both projects is expected in early 2010.
Demolition and clean-up was only the start. Simultaneously, the Planning and Development Branch were undertaking the subdivision and rezoning process to prepare the first two sites for development.
Parcels B and D would be created first. Each was rezoned to accommodate the type of housing envisaged in the Redevelopment Concept Plan. Jesse Sirota handled the rezoning of these two sites.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
By this time, two more adjacent properties had been put up for sale and the City began the process to acquire these sites. This meant the redevelopment area could be as large as 13 acres.
Each team started with a blank outline of the redevelopment area and a team facilitator. By the end of the day, five redevelopment plans were developed by the teams.
From these five redevelopment plans emerged 8 redevelopment principles:
- Variety of Housing - Provide for a range of housing types which will meet the needs of families and seniors, consistent with the Pleasant Hill Local Area Plan.
- Foster Community - Create a unique sense of place, which is safe and fosters a sense of community.
- Add Park Space - Develop more park space which is safe, attractive and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
- Walkability - Promote walkability while maintaining accessibility.
- Mixed Uses - Include mixed uses to support and strengthen the existing 20th Street West corridor.
- Value Added Density - Ensure appropriate density with quality design at key locations to ensure a critical mass of people, create vitality and support potential new local services including education.
- Attractive - Create an attractive environment, recognizing potential compatibility issues with the adjacent existing residential and industrial development.
- Safety - Foster the safety and comfort of residents and promote liveability by incorporating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into the concept plan and more detailed development plans for park space and development sites.
The resulting redevelopment concept was finalized by Edwards Edwards McEwen Architects, presented and adopted by City Council in June 2007, followed by the Board of Education for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools in December 2008.
Plans were set in motion to begin the process of redevelopment, starting with demolition, environmental screening and remediation of the land.
The pieces fell into place for a major redevelopment which would reshape the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood. However, the Revitalization Project needed a plan. The next post highlights the process to develop a redevelopment concept plan, which has guided the revitalization project.