How does building big affect downtown biz?

How does building big affect downtown biz?

Not sure you know this but most of the downtown has been purchased by developers. That in itself isn’t so sinister.

But this is Sinister

Developers who own the land aren’t leasing the spaces in existing buildings for longer than 2 to 5 year terms. Why? Because they intend to build big buildings.

Ok, so what you say? Well here’s the problem.

Currently Burlington Downtown is an attractive place for new businesses, in particular retail. Retail & food service is a risky, high cost endeavour that only the brave, sophisticated and well funded are jumping into these days. And these folks aren’t dumb. In order for these new businesses to ever make money and recover from their $200K to $500K leasehold renovations and improvements, they need 10 year leases.

Developers are saying no. Businesses are looking elsewhere. Really — we speak to these businesses. The net result is this is a problem that is choking our downtown.

What’s the solution?

It’s 2 fold.

1. The City of Burlington needs to follow and enforce its Official Plan and keep developers to 4 story developments with a max of 8. This will level the land value playing field and dissuade the land value escalators from gambling on tall buildings, perhaps forcing some to sell the land to those more forward thinking developers that have experience at building thoughtful, valuable 4 to 8 story buildings of mixed use. Making it harder to build big — sending a shock wave of NO to BIG — will delay the developers, extending their timelines and forcing them into signing longer leases and setting more attractive rents to cover costs of a longer term.

2. Forcing developers to stay within the planning guidelines of height, mixed use and affordability will produce more business spaces that can support cultural use, startup entrepreneurial businesses, and a broader more diverse residential demographic mix that can support the businesses that are here year round.

It’s easy. The plan is already in place. We need to demand it be followed and police its application.

Say no to the ADI Developments application to build 28 Stories on Martha Street. Tell your mayor, council and city planners that you wish to support them in following the Official Plan but that allowing the current destructive atmosphere of developers chocking our downtown is not acceptable.

Write/email before November 14th:

Rosa Bustamante, Development Planner
phone: 905-335-7600 ext. 7811