Perth/Sterling & Tower Automotive: Jan 2010 Meeting Notes

Castlepoint's PropertiesCastlepoint's Properties

Here are my notes from the January 18 2010 meeting about the ongoing developments at the former Tower Automotive properties. Hosted by Castlepoint Realty Partners (the property owners / developers) and the South Perth and Sterling Rd. Residents Association at the Church of the First Born, the meeting was certainly informative and interesting. It attracted about 40 people from all around this community (guessing, I didn't count).

My notes are just quick points that I jotted down at the meeting. If you have any of your own comments or corrections, please feel free to reply below.

Note: You can view the huge versions of the images by clicking on them. The fine details may still be hard to read.

Tower Automotive DemolitionTower Automotive Demolition

Tower Automotive Site MapTower Automotive Site Map

Tower Automotive Master PlanTower Automotive Master Plan

Current Conditions:

  • 158 Sterling Rd. properties (formerly Tower Automotive) purchased by Castlepoint Realty Partners in early 2008
  • Original plan to bring Pinewood Studios here fell through, as Castlepoint and Pinewood invested in Filmport instead
  • Demolition is ongoing, and is expected to finish no later than this Spring.

Environmental Remediation:

  • 50-60% of environmental remediation is complete
  • 25000 tonnes of soil removed and replaced with clean fill
  • Most soil replacement is complete. Remaining remediation to be done on an ongoing basis with deep filters buried in trenches around property to filter out migrating pollutants.
  • Most remediation is expected to be completed around the end of 2010, although no firm date can be given yet.
  • Castlepoint has partnered with another company ("KVM?") who specialize in brownfield remediation

Development Goals, Ideas, Plans:

  • The office tower building is to remain.
  • Will attempt to retain the chimney stack and boiler room, but this may not be possible because they have to dig out contaminated soil
  • Original plan was to keep industrial facade on North side of property along Sterling Rd. and Perth Ave., but this will probably not be possible for same reasons as above (need to dig out soil, etc.)
  • "Still committed to creating a high-tech media-based business park in this facility".
  • Mixed use: Commercial, various types of residential, ground-level walk-in businesses (retail, coffee, restaurants, etc.)
  • Need to attract businesses that can afford to be in this part of the city
  • Redevelop, but keep costs down
  • Attract 3000 jobs to the area, with offices / loft-style offices
  • When will construction start/finish? The tower is first phase, expected to start in in 2011 with occupancy in 2012
  • Residential: 1500 additional people to live here
  • Northernmost part of property (west side of Perth Ave.) to be residential, 3-4 stories, townhomes or stacked towns.
  • Will there be "affordable housing"? No plans currently for subsidized housing, but will plan to be "affordable to own".
  • Will family units be available? Yes, 2 bedroom plus den, 3 bedroom, townhomes, etc. available.
  • Perth Ave. curve may be moved a bit farther south (see Master Plan image) to expand the public space on the north side of the Perth/Sterling intersection
  • This expanded park would have underground parking available (pay) to local residents. 60 spaces on one level, possibly more levels to be used by businesses etc.
  • Will try to make as many links to Railpath as possible (probably 2-3)
  • Pedestrian bridges over railways: East side is probable and easy to do. West side not likely due to size of rail corridor, cost, and other factors. Bridge design would include ramps (not stairs) with switchbacks.
  • Changes to the roadways would happen over 5-10 years, starting in 2011
  • Will there be more traffic? Yes, as expected with more businesses and residents. A transportation and traffic management plan is to be done. With proximity to public transit (GO Train, subway, streetcars, buses, etc.) will encourage transit-oriented development.

Other Notes:

  • Former Moloney Electric building has been purchased by someone else. Not sure what their plans are, but it would likely require demolition and environmental cleanup.
  • This was a first of a series of meetings. Next one will be more formal, with official representation from the City.
  • The snacks were tasty.

All images provided by Castlepoint Realty Partners, photographed by Vic Gedris.


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about 158 strealing road builder

when is next meeting about new town houses and where?

Fact VS Fiction

Just to be clear on a few points:
At no time was the amount of 15,000 ever mentioned, 3000 jobs and 1500 residents in that order was what was said.
Castlepoint has a good reputation and I believe they want to build what they presented, this was the very 1st of a series of meetings and this was just for the community,(not required by anyone but requested by John O'Keefe and Alfredo Romano) Those most affected by whatever happens here will be the residents of South Perth and Sterling Rd.
As great as it is to have suggestions from other residents in the area bounded in the fuzzy boundary area, the South Perth and Sterling Rd residents are determined to help Castlepoint get their vision through.

Thats what I thought. 3000

Thats what I thought. 3000 jobs and 1500 units plus "retail" is a lot to place in that amount of space with only one service road (because of turn restrictions I consider Sterling North and Perth to be one road). Even adding Perth South and also connecting to Ruttan still is not a lot of access. Consider too there there is a lot more land sitting there for future development and because of Metrolinx there is zero possibility of any east west roads/level crossings. Not only is there resident/job travel but there is existing/future travel and transportation/supply travel as well. Its going to get might crowded if people are not careful.

Also think of the squeezed development at 351 Wallace which in the end is about 150 units. Saying 1500 "residents" doesn't mean anything, its the number and formulation of units that count and even if they think 4 people per unit (which is high) that is still 375 units.

Catstlepoint's plans are still too early to be judged and they have changed completely before ( I hope the people on Sterling and Perth get some real section 37 value added to their area and that the build doesnt leave them overshadowed by traffic and size.

Too Early To know

Naomi was at this meeting and came away feeling that this was all far too preliminary to really have any opinion. Until you actually see drawings and a site proposal (ie when money is being spent) nothing should be assumed.

She had these comments:

--that there no real mention of how the development (whatever it is) will effect resources like schools in the area.

--Most of the plans about retail and jobs were so vague as to be imaginary. The marketplace will dictate what the design is down the road and we are not there yet. Job estimates seem very high.

--comments about traffic at Bloor seemed unrealistic

--knowledge of Railpath seemed vague and out of sync with progressive design. There is an obvious opportunity to tie in additional green space with railpath.

--little clear direction on "Section 37 money" ie what might we get from the developer in return. There was talk of a bridge over rail but that was then pawned off as a City expense and anybody who builds bridges over that kind of distance needs lots of money. This an expense the developer could contribute too.

--seemed very vague about mitigation of soil contamination. Remediation apparently will not cover all the site so what the physical implications of mitigation?

Remember these people used "Pinewood Studios" as a barging chip with Filmport a year ago and got everybody excited about a studio that was never going to be built so like all developers, keep the eyeballs glued and the pressure on.

Couple of things to add...

They also mentioned:
- approx. 15,000 more people in the development - this would include employed workers in the commercial buildings + condo(s) + townhomes. This seemed more like wishful thinking then actual wisdom.
- They mentioned a big software developer was interested now, but the only reason they didn't come to the meeting was because they didn't have actual building to show them.
- Also in 2007 they were approached by a german company who had business plan in place to make the Tower building a classic car museum. The business model plan worked on the basis that people with classic cars can bring them in and restore them and also store them at the building to be displayed to the general public. He said company had ideas such as bring the cars via elevator to the showroom floors. Also, they were going to build a bar/restaurant beside it. Developer at the time were concentrating on attracting Pinewood, so they had no interest in the companies idea.

Im sure there was more as I was late for the meeting, but caught some this info.



The numbers I remember are this:

  • 3000 employment opportunities
  • 1,500 extra residents

15 000 seems too much for our little piece of land around here.

I'm in wait and see mode, though hopeful about their plans. I just hope our area doesn't become overly busy.

Tower/Sterling meeting

I was at the meeting. It was very informative compared to the one we had in the summer. They had maps (aerial views) of what they are proposing to do - ie mixed residential with commercial. I like how they are planning to do bit of both ie condo's + townhomes.

Glad the smoke stack is staying (its great reference point for giving directions - lol). I also welcomed the news of access to the pathway south of Bloor. The green space is desperately needed south of Bloor - closest parks now are Souroren Park and Perth (both require to cross major streets to access).

Im finally glad there is something happening south of Bloor. Main reason I decided move south of Bloor on Perth was in hope that in the future the industrial area would be redeveloped - its been a long time coming im just glad its happened in my life time (fingers crossed).