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Old January 9th, 2007, 01:59 AM   #21
ldoto
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Farhi rejects parking plan for core area

Mon, January 8, 2007

The developer insists a proposed garage on Queens Avenue "is not going to help."

By JONATHAN SHER, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER



You might think a city hall proposal to spend millions to build parking garages in the core would be backed by downtown's biggest property owner.

After all, it was Shmuel Farhi, owner of more than 80 properties downtown, who has demanded more parking before he'll rehabilitate heritage buildings and secure tenants.

But Farhi says he's upset with a city plan to seek a private partner to build a garage at 185 Queens Ave., next to the London Club.

"A parking (garage) is not going to help rejuvenate this area . . . Parking is not needed there," said Farhi, who owns about 250,000 square feet of vacant space downtown.

"I want to work with the city but I'm losing my patience," Farhi said yesterday.

When Farhi speaks, city hall listens, as was the case 10 weeks ago, when he told politicians to step up with plans for parking or he'd raze or let rot some heritage properties.

"Literally, I can knock down 20 buildings tomorrow," he said then.

But while Farhi wants parking, he doesn't want a parking garage on the city-owned lot at Queens Avenue.

With the downtown so much in need of residents and key services such as a supermarket, the city shouldn't commit key real estate to a stand-alone garage, he said.

Instead the city should partner with a developer who could build parking underground, a supermarket on the main floor and residential apartments above, he insisted.


The city also needs to stop renewing temporary permits for parking lots such as the one at the old London Mews, which has been a lot for seven years and is seeking another three years, he said.

Temporary lots do nothing to fill vacant office space because those seeking to develop those spaces need permanent parking.

"I have four heritage buildings within a block (of the London Mews) and that lot does nothing for long-term development," Farhi said.

Farhi also contends the city examined the Queens Avenue location and rejected it for a parking structure.

"Why are they bringing this dead horse out now?" he said.

E-mail and phone messages detailing Farhi's concerns were sent last week to city finance head Vic Cote.

A divided city council voted last month to seek a partner to build a parking garage at the Queens site, the first step in a plan that could cost taxpayers as much as $5 million.

Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell later said if the venture succeeds the city should spend up to $20 million to build more garages.

Council will debate in budget talks this month a strategy that has been approved in principle:

- Give up to $10,000 a parking stall to developers and spend $2.5 million a year on downtown parking.

- Grant a 10-year tax exemption for owners of garages open to the public on weekends and evenings, and a 20-year exemption for garages open to the public at all times.

- Shift development charges from developers of parking garages to taxpayers.

The city is so Dum!
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:47 AM   #22
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No kidding. I vote we email all the councillors the wiktionary entry on "underground".
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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #23
ldoto
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"I want to work with the city but I'm losing my patience," Farhi said yesterday.

When Farhi speaks, city hall listens, as was the case 10 weeks ago, when he told politicians to step up with plans for parking or he'd raze or let rot some heritage properties. :worship:


I Email all the councillors and the Mayor! Please Email also.

City of london web site.http://www.london.ca/Council/ccm_mayor.htm

Anne Marie DeCicco-Best
(Mayor)

City Hall: 519 661-2500 Ext. 4920
City Hall Fax: 519 661-5308
E-mail: [email protected]



Tom Gosnell
(Deputy Mayor)

City Hall: 519 661-2500 Ext. 0332
City Hall Fax: 519 661-5933
E-mail: [email protected]


Gina Barber
City Hall: 519 661-2500 Ext. 7011
City Hall Fax: 519 661-5933
E-mail: [email protected]



Bud Polhill

City Hall: 519 661-2500 Ext. 4882
City Hall Fax: 519 661-5933
E-mail: [email protected]


Gord Hume
City Hall: 519 661-2500 Ext. 4877
City Hall Fax: 519 661-5933
E-mail: [email protected]

Last edited by ldoto; January 9th, 2007 at 03:58 AM.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:25 AM   #24
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Well, if we as a forum want the city to do something, lets have it done ourselves?

http://www.petitiononline.com/create_petition.html

Who would like to write something up to help out Farhi? I personally would sign and forward the petition to every Londoner I know, in hopes AM would get off her ass and do something to bring PROPER prosperity to downtown!
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Old January 9th, 2007, 06:05 AM   #25
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..

Last edited by Snark; January 19th, 2008 at 10:08 PM.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 06:16 AM   #26
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London offers a great urban lifestlye is a prosperous, beautiful, white collar, safe, green, historic city that has the benefit of being near Canada's biggest city just 2 hours away for the times you really do feel like being a bit wild.
Also, unlike cities in/near Toronto it will not be swamped by Toronto, it has true independence and thus has the facilities that other cities don't due to it being a regional centre.
London is one hell of a nice city.

Funny, out here very few people have actually been to Ontario but those who have or moved from Ontario have a very positive view of London.
When I say I'm from London they always comment on how London is such a beautiful city or how much they really like it. That speaks volumes.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
London offers a great urban lifestlye is a prosperous, beautiful, white collar, safe, green, historic city that has the benefit of being near Canada's biggest city just 2 hours away for the times you really do feel like being a bit wild.
Also, unlike cities in/near Toronto it will not be swamped by Toronto, it has true independence and thus has the facilities that other cities don't due to it being a regional centre.
London is one hell of a nice city.

Funny, out here very few people have actually been to Ontario but those who have or moved from Ontario have a very positive view of London.
When I say I'm from London they always comment on how London is such a beautiful city or how much they really like it. That speaks volumes.
I have to agree...London is definitely a great city. I only visited once but it left a very favourable impression on me.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #28
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Thank goodness someone is seeing it the same way I am, Snark.

Fahri, even though he is definitely an important landowner, is going a bit too far. I'm glad, again, I'm not the only one who has seen this. Yes, he might be right about underground parking being more feasable... as part of a bigger development. Well, does this mean HE is the one who wants to put up this development? And if so, does he want this coupling so that, say, oh I don't know, he wants the CITY to pay for the underground parking aspect of his proposed development, rather than the city building a surface lot that would only benefit him a little bit?

Does anyone here understand the COSTS of underground parking? As part of a larger development, it makes sense, but even the Renaissance development has only one or two floors of underground parking, with the rest being ABOVE ground. It is easier to build ON grade rather than UNDER grade. Of course the city would first look at an above ground structure, as it is much cheaper. If Farhi wants an underground structure, than why doesn't the so-called "$100 Million Dollar Man" build one himself?

I sympathised with him at first, but when he started saying he was going to let his properties 'rot' and demolish other ones, I INSTANTLY lost any sympathy for him. I understand his situation, but if he wants to play like that, then send him home early for bad behaviour.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:38 AM   #29
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What frustrates me is that city council seems to be completely ignoring the possibility of underground garages.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #30
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I love it!!!

15 years ago downtown London had nothing but empty parking lots due to so many empty parking lots and the fact that no one went downtown and now there is a battle over parking because the need is huge. What a great indicator of how downtown London has come back with avengance.

I can understand where Farhi is coming from but the idea of an open space on Dundas should be fought hard. Even one gapping hole can make a street look desolate. Surely there can be some compromise where the gap would be and have enough frontal space on Dundas for even a small shop/cafe/store.

Gaps on a streetscape can really have a negative effect. I think the worse one is the parking lot on Richmond between Dundas and and Queens right next to the Phoniex. I am continually suprised why it hasn't been developed.

I understand there is a supermarket downtown but I think the market serves that purpose but what about a pharmacy. Is there a pharmacy downtown? I would think there would be a real need especially as the population downtown continues to grow and many of the building are geared towards retirees.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will.exe View Post
What frustrates me is that city council seems to be completely ignoring the possibility of underground garages.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

End of story.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 02:48 AM   #32
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London construction, housing boom continues to build

Wed, January 10, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER



London's construction and housing market completed a triple play in 2006 with new numbers showing housing starts hit a 17-year high and building permits surged past the old record by nearly 20 per cent.

Last week, the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors announced that annual sales for 2006 set a record of 8,916 housing units.

Figures released yesterday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. show 3,674 house starts last year in the London area, nearly 20 per cent above 2005 and the best showing since 1989.

The housing starts reflect an overall boom in construction in 2006, with apartment buildings leading the way.

A December start for a $35-million downtown apartment building by Tricar Developments made for a strong finish and boosted the total value of building permits issued by the City of London in 2006 to $772.7 million.

The city beat the old building permit record of $647 million well before year's end.

Rocky Cerminara, the city's director of building controls, said the Tricar project and two new buildings at the University of Western Ontario boosted the December total to an unusually strong $97 million.

He said 2006 was exceptional and he expects the construction market to cool this year, which would come as something of a relief for his department.

"I'm not going to say, 'I hope so,' but we can't take much more of this here in the office. We have a backlog of permits to get to," Cerminara said.

He expects building permits to total about $600 million this year, based on surveys by his department and forecasts from other agencies.

"That may sound like quite a drop from this year, but that would still give us one of the best five years we ever had," Cerminara said.

CMHC analyst Penny Wu said she also expects a strong market in 2007.

"A continuation of low mortgage rates and an environment of growing employment in 2007 will bode well for housing demand," she said.

CMHC reports 227,400 new homes were built across Canada in 2006, the second-highest total in nearly two decades.

Chief economist Bob Dugan says the growth was driven by low mortgage rates, solid employment and income growth and high consumer confidence.

However, all regions saw urban starts fall in December compared with a month earlier.

The largest declines were in the Prairie provinces, where urban starts fell 20.5 per cent. Ontario recorded a decline of 3.6 per cent.

Dugan said housing starts are expected to remain strong in 2007, but are forecast to decrease to 210,900 units.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #33
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Has anyone posted yet the new plan to upgrade the river. They are going to install fountains that shoot water into the air and give the city quiet a look. I saw it on London Free Press couple of days ago. Anyone else heard anything about it?
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Old January 11th, 2007, 08:58 AM   #34
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London question....................
An area I never went to in London was Hamilton Rd/Horton and Wellington I wish I had.
What is that area like now and also what is Wharncliff from Old South to Oxford like?
I think in 20 years those will be areas to really watch.............almost like todays Wortley Village. I don't Old East will ever really go anywhere.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #35
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horton and wellington is mostly highway oriented commercial.
wharncliffe between old south and oxford is my area. i know it like the back of my hand. it is a very desirble area to live in but it will never have a commercial district like wortley village. the only commercial is anything but urban. it is however close to downtown and west lions park has some of the best facilities in town including a concrete skatepark with a masonite mini ramp thats about 5 feet.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 01:41 AM   #36
K85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liburni View Post
Has anyone posted yet the new plan to upgrade the river. They are going to install fountains that shoot water into the air and give the city quiet a look. I saw it on London Free Press couple of days ago. Anyone else heard anything about it?
I really hope that wont happen. The smell would kill us all
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Old January 12th, 2007, 03:10 AM   #37
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Salvation Army purchased two properties

The intersection of Wellington and Horton in London hasn't been a welcome sight in recent years, but now steps are being taken to change that.
The Salvation Army has purchased two properties on Wellington Street and another property owned by the Teen Drop-In Centre Street Connection.

It's part of an effort to beautify the streetscape.

The buildings are rundown and most are abandoned on the West side of Wellington, North of Horton but some of those buildings will soon be coming down.

The Salvation Army plans to put up a wrought iron fence and some trees to try and spruce things up.

Some neighbours say the Centre of Hope continues to bring more problems than solutions.

Anthony Veilleux has been with Blue Dragon Tattoo for almost 20 years. He says business has taken a real hit because of the Centre of Hope clients and the people they attract.

Centre of Hope officials say they're stepping up efforts to improve relations with area homeowners and business.

There are no plans for the properties at this time but the Salvation Army says it may put up a warehouse there in the future, but for now they will concentrate on cleaning up the corner.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 05:35 AM   #38
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I understand there is a supermarket downtown but I think the market serves that purpose but what about a pharmacy. Is there a pharmacy downtown? I would think there would be a real need especially as the population downtown continues to grow and many of the building are geared towards retirees.
I live right @ Wellington & Dundas and let me tell you.. A supermarket like A&P or Zehrs, or something of that nature, would be awesome downtown. When I buy groceries I'm forced to head north to the Valumat @ Richmond & Oxford.. which is a bit ghetto. The market is cool, but it's not exactly a supermarket type place.

There is a pharmacy right by the market actually, on Dundas. I believe it's a Shoppers.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #39
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I live right @ Wellington & Dundas and let me tell you.. A supermarket like A&P or Zehrs, or something of that nature, would be awesome downtown. When I buy groceries I'm forced to head north to the Valumat @ Richmond & Oxford.. which is a bit ghetto. The market is cool, but it's not exactly a supermarket type place.

There is a pharmacy right by the market actually, on Dundas. I believe it's a Shoppers.
There is NOTHING ghetto about the neighbourhood Northeast of Oxford and Richmond. I literally laughed out loud when I read that. You call stately, Victorian homes in behind that store ghetto? Oh my goodness. I'm sure you're using the term loosely, but come on.

And as for the pharmacy downtown, yes, there is a Shopper's Drug Mart on the ground floor of the Market Tower, near the Mcdonalds.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:42 AM   #40
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Lesson in modern slang. "Ghetto" is an adjective used to describe something unfavorable in any fashion to any demographic. In this case, a Dundas/Wellington resident who is forced to commute to Oxford/Richmond to get groceries is ghetto because it is unfavourable to said resident.
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