City staff have revised the emerging concept for the potential redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel study site to include a 4-storey podium along Lakeshore Rd with two towers at each end of 14-18 storeys on the West side and 20-25 storeys on the East side. The revision increases parkland on the west side contiguous with Spencer Smith Park and removes the pathway between the buildings. Other changes include reducing the length of the street and turnaround at the bottom of Elizabeth St. The portion of podium located at the foot of John Street is envisioned to be a 3 to 4 storey glass atrium that allows for views through the building to the lake.
The revised concept is in response to public feedback about the previous options that the suggested buildings were too tall and that there was not enough open space. Most Waterfront Hotel Study workshop participants felt that the height of the existing hotel building was appropriate (at 6 storeys) even though it is less than what is permitted under the current as-of-right zoning. Additionally, there was strong preference for leaving the west portion of the property undeveloped, as open space to augment Spencer Smith Park and to create opportunities for wide sweeping views to the lake.
Residents can comment on the city’s revised concept via an online survey by Dec. 5 here: Waterfront Hotel survey
Meanwhile, a group of residents have developed their own alternative, dubbed Plan B, which pushes buildings further to the east of the site to maximize parkland to the West. The heights would range from 14 to 22 storeys, in two towers. Residents can sign a survey in support of Plan B, or suggest further revisions here: Plan B petition
Staff are providing an update report on the status and progress of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study, along with public feedback to date, at the Nov. 28 Planning & Development Committee, at 1pm. No decisions will be made; the report is a receive and file. Planning staff are working towards the delivery of a preferred concept for endorsement by council in Q1 2018. This will be followed by a site-specific Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, and Design Guidelines in Q2 2018.
The city’s Official Plan requires a planning study prior to any redevelopment of the site. The plan states:
“Any further development on these lands shall provide a high quality of urban design reflecting the landmark nature of this site and shall be contingent upon the completion of a master plan to the satisfaction of City Council. This master plan shall address the integration of these lands with the publicly owned lands to the south and west and the private development to the east, and shall address other matters such as preservation of lake views and enhancements to the public realm.”
The Waterfront hotel is in the Wellington Square Precinct which has a current height limit of 8 storeys as of right with the opportunity to consider 14 storeys as a rezoning that provides compatibility with surrounding uses and a sense of pedestrian scale and community amenity contributions. The maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in Wellington Square is 5:1, except where greater height is being considered through a rezoning in which case a higher FAR may also be considered.