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Old February 2nd, 2007, 02:29 AM   #81
ldoto
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Downtown arts centre drawing increased interest

Thu, February 1, 2007

By JONATHAN SHER, SUN MEDIA



For months there have been excited whispers by Londoners who want a performing arts centre downtown.

But now it appears that issue may take centre stage.

Talk of an arts centre has been mostly below the radar since June 2005, when city council delayed a debate over a recommendation by the Creative Cities Task Force to set aside half of each municipal surplus for a centre.

The issue bubbled to the surface yesterday as Orchestra London expressed concern about the viability of Centennial Hall -- and it appears there may be a full debate by council this year.

Executive director Rob Gloor gave a positive report on the orchestra, which has seen attendance and income soar and is on the verge of settling protracted contract negotiations with musicians.

But he said success has been achieved despite Centennial Hall, which turns 40 this year.

"All sorts of people tell us they just won't go to Centennial Hall," Gloor told board of control before calling for a performing arts centre.

He doesn't have to convince Controller Gord Hume, who's played a leading role calling for an arts centre.

In the next few months council should receive a report on the condition and future of Centennial Hall. That should spark a debate about a replacement, Hume said.

"Council later this year will probably want to put everything on the table," he said.

There's little doubt many on council would love to see a performing arts centre downtown that would boost the core and make the city a more attractive place to live.

"It's the last missing piece for us to become a grownup city," said Coun. Nancy Branscombe.

But whether the city can afford it is another matter.

Big spending on major projects in the late 1990s and early 2000s put the city in such debt council capped how much it borrows for capital projects.

The cap is $30 million and nearly all that money has been earmarked for basics such as road work and the expansion of the London police headquarters. There's little left to address a wide range of requests.

"There's $200,000 left over this year. That's nothing," said Controller Gina Barber.

That's frustrating, she said, since London needs a performing arts centre.

"In a city the size of London we have wonderful artists who can't perform here because we don't have a place to showcase them."

In short, the need for a performing arts centre is great but the fiscal constraints are even greater, Barber said.

All agreed if a centre is to be built, it would need help from private donors and federal and provincial governments.

Hume hopes the city could accelerate those donations by giving itself, an effort he hopes would lead not only to a new centre by 2015 but an endowment fund that would cover what would likely be operating deficits.

But Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell is skeptical because the costs he hears bandied about frighten him.

"I've heard $60 million to $70 million, including an endowment fund," Gosnell said. "There's nothing now in the budget or in the foreseeable future to do it."
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 02:44 AM   #82
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I just noticed that the reporters Names say Sun Media not Free press!
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 03:08 AM   #83
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*gasp* The LFP using outside columnists?? NEVER!

LFP sucks. Period. But its good for our purposes.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 03:12 PM   #84
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well LFP is owned by Sun Media, so not really an outside columnist
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 09:37 PM   #85
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True indeed. The same company that owns The Post now. Shame really, there are only two independent newspapers left in Canada: The Globe and The Star. The Star is my paper of choice personally.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:34 AM   #86
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Hopefully that performing arts center project will gain steam. London could use one of those.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 05:09 PM   #87
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The problem with London is council is afraid of debt. Vancouver and Montreal didnt shed a tear when they got the expo and olympics. Calgary either.
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 08:11 PM   #88
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..

Last edited by Snark; January 19th, 2008 at 10:13 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2007, 08:29 PM   #89
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Ant idea where the city would like to put it?
If big enough I say Richmond between Dundas and Queen . There is a large vacant parking lot there now and it wraps all the way around the Phoniex to Queen. It would be great to fill up that gaping hole on Richmond.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 03:15 AM   #90
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Yea I know the hole well. It would be a nice place to fill up. My pet peeve parking lot is still the one between queens, fullarton, ridout, and talbot. Something needs to go there real bad.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 05:48 AM   #91
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..

Last edited by Snark; January 19th, 2008 at 10:11 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 12:24 PM   #92
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eventually something will go up on those parking lots.

i cant wait to see what london looks like in 20 years. it already changed so much in the 16 years i lived there
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Old February 8th, 2007, 03:19 AM   #93
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If I was a wealthy philanthropist I'd buy that piece of land at Queens/Fullarton/Ridout/Talbot and put a giant museum on it. I'd put a condo tower in the parking lot on the other side of Fullarton, and I'd fill in any other parking lots downtown.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #94
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Housing starts soar in January

Fri, February 9, 2007

By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA



The launch of a new downtown apartment project in January got London housing construction off to the best start in 25 years.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said there were 406 housing starts in the London-St. Thomas area in January compared to only 134 in the same month last year.

But CMHC analyst Penny Wu cautioned that 300 of the housing starts came from a single project -- the 28 storey Tricar Group apartment tower in downtown London.

The single family-detached home starts, a more reliable indicator of construction activity, remained flat with 102 starts compared to 106 in January, 2006.

Wu said big apartment projects were a driving force in pushing London's housing starts to 3,674 last year.

The city smashed the old record for building permits with a total value of $733 million for permits issued in 2006.

About 1,800 apartment units are under construction, said Wu, and the market may become saturated as those units come on the market in the next two years.

"It seems like every major builder has a project on the go already," she said.

In the aftermath of the Tricar launch, February housing starts are likely to be much lower, but the housing market is still healthy.

"Single detached home starts are still close to last year's level and we are expecting that February's will be as well," said Wu.

Housing permits were also up in Ontario and across Canada last month.

Ontario's seasonally-adjusted housing starts jumped to 76,700 units last month with increases in both the single and multiple units.

Regional analyst Ted Tsiakopoulos said the gains came despite slower job growth in the province and a loss of migrants to western Canada.

He said low interest rates and consumer confidence is continuing to support the market.

Across Canada the CMHC report said urban starts jumped 19.2 per cent to 216,300 units.

Actual single starts in urban areas were 14.3 per cent lower in January 2007 than they were a year earlier, with all regions showing a decline, while urban multiple starts last month were up 37.7 per cent.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #95
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can someone please post some photo updates of buildings?

this thread has become nothing but lfp stuff
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Old February 10th, 2007, 04:12 PM   #96
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Its hard to coordinate school, work, life and photo taking, but if I get a chance in the near future I will definately post some construction pics.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 11:13 PM   #97
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Thanks!

I really do appreciate that!
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Old February 11th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #98
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CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
The apartment building at Kent and Talbot:




The new Lerners office building:



The Harriston:






The Renaissance:




The closest crane is the Renaissance, the further is the Harriston with the courthouse in between:
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Old February 14th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #99
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Triple post.

I have been many cities in Canada but none London's size compare to London's restarant variety and quality.
London is a true food lovers dream from mom & pop to the cafes and high quality digs of Richmond, Downtown, and Wortley Village.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 08:56 AM   #100
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yeah like the McDicks on D&R
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