Park Place in Barrie could become location for new apartment buildings

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Some of Barrie’s newest apartments could be right in the heart of one of the city’s top shopping destinations.

City councilors gathered for a planning committee meeting on Tuesday highlighting three different developments in different parts of the city.

One is for two new apartment complexes, which could bring nearly 500 new units to empty land in Park Place, a southern shopping destination.

“It’s about putting apartment buildings in the middle of Park Place so the people who would live in those apartments would obviously have all the stores and restaurants around them,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said. “But that would be something new. We don’t have a residence in the middle of a regional mall; not yet in Barrie, but that’s the proposition.”

The request comes from North American Development Corp. Tonight, councilors heard the details of the proposal and heard residents’ concerns. Many of these concerns were shared by the mayor, adding more congestion to an already busy part of town.

“The good thing, though, when you mix residential and commercial traffic is usually at different times of the day,” says Lehman. “You have kind of a morning rush out of apartments to get to school and get to work; it’s really before the shopping day starts, although that may put more pressure on the evening rush. But in general, as a live venue, people will be able to walk to the grocery store, walk to the restaurant, maybe even get groceries.”

Lehman thinks it would be good for the city. Although the units are not classified as affordable housing, they will provide additional housing options to the city as it struggles with sufficient supply.

“Both residential developments, in part because of their location in the city and in commercial areas, will likely be at the more affordable end of the spectrum,” Lehman says. “The bigger picture, of course, is that the more rental apartments that are built in Barrie, the more you alleviate the supply crisis that is driving up prices.”

Two other development proposals were presented on Tuesday evening. One would be for a residential development on Cundles Road close to shops and a small townhouse project on Blake Street.

City staff will conduct a technical analysis of the Park Place site and present a report to council for approval. Lehman suggests that could be by the end of this year or early 2023.

On Tuesday, councilors also approved a new industrial subdivision at the south end of town on Lockhart Road. A new recycling facility will be on the west side of a road that will be created from Rossen to Lockhart.

“What’s happened in this part of town over the last ten years, a lot of new buildings, a lot of new industries, and I think that’s welcome in a city that has spent decades losing manufacturing we are now seeing strong manufacturing growth in our city.”

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