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Former Loblaws East-End Property Could See 1,000+ Units Instead

City hall has already received preliminary submissions for constructing residential units on a site previously earmarked for a much-anticipated grocery store in Guelph’s east end. These plans are notably more extensive than those presented earlier this year.

The City of Guelph’s website, on December 4, showed a presubmission application by Guelph Watson Holdings, a Tercot Communities subsidiary, for over 1,000 new homes at 115 Watson Pkwy. N. in Guelph’s east end.

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This proposal includes three development blocks. The first block features 456 apartment units in a 10-storey building and a 12-storey mixed-use structure, with almost 960 square meters (10,326 square feet) of retail space on the ground floor. The second block proposes 417 apartments in 12-storey and 14-storey mixed-use buildings, with nearly 1,860 square meters (20,000 square feet) of retail space. The third block is planned to have 160 back-to-back townhouse units and 37 on-street townhomes.

No formal submission has been made for this project, so there are no scheduled public meetings or a defined start date for construction, pending city hall’s approval.

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The proposed unit count has increased by nearly 40% since Tercot’s resident meeting in late June, and the apartment buildings’ heights have also increased, with earlier proposals suggesting buildings of six to 10 storeys.

During that meeting, there was a community request for a grocery store. The presubmission application’s community engagement report by LURA Consulting notes that while the developer can’t guarantee specific retailers, they aim to address local concerns by expanding the proposed commercial space from about 16,000 to 30,300 square feet, facilitating larger retailers. The developer is consulting with a commercial broker to explore commercial possibilities in the area.

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A grocery store at this east end location isn’t new, with Loblaws once planning to build there. The city council in 2002 approved a commercial plaza for the site, and by 2014, Loblaws was expected to begin construction, as noted in a blog post by former mayor Karen Farbridge. However, the land has remained undeveloped.

Guelph Watson Holdings acquired the property in September 2022 for $13.5 million.

If realized, this would be Tercot’s inaugural project in Guelph. The developer has multiple projects in the Golden Horseshoe, including a 1,500-home development in Hamilton, up to 2,500 units on a North York golf course, and a mix of 250 single-family and townhomes in Kitchener.

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