A Kingston, Ont., developer has unveiled a bold vision to redevelop the former Davis Tannery lands along the city’s Inner Harbour.
The site has been vacant for decades and few proposals have come forward because the 15-hectare (37-acre) property has extensive contamination from a century of heavy industrial use.
Still, developer Jay Patry sees a real opportunity if he can remediate the site. “There are about 400,000 tonnes of contamination that we’ve identified that we need to be able to remediate or move off-site.”
His proposal is to construct a subdivision with residential and commercial space.
“It will be for about 1,500 units in mid-rise construction about six stories across four large buildings. ”
Patry’s vision includes:
- remediating approximately 22 acres of highly contaminated former industrial lands,
- creating about 1,500 residential units plus commercial/retail space,
- creating a minimum of 3.7 acres of public waterfront park space and a new multi-use watersport facility such as a rowing club,
- sprucing up a waterfront trail with new stopping points for look-outs and activities.
“We’re hoping to continue this path all the way through. There’s about four acres of dedicated parkland on the site.”
Area resident Anne Lougheed, who’s also a member of the community group Wellington X, has a number of concerns with the development including the lack of green space, housing density and close proximity to the Cataraqui River, which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The river is the site of 19th century British fortifications, including Fort Henry, and marks the start of the Rideau Canal between Kingston and Ottawa.
Lougheed says the average number of units for high density is 123 units per hectare, and Patry’s plan is double that.
“The really dense one would be the first units to be built, so closer to 300 dwelling units per hectare. ”
The tannery property is in Councillor Rob Hutchison’s district. He says intensification is important but the impact on adjacent neighbourhoods has to be considered in the process.
“It’s adjacent to a low-density area. The question is how will that be compatible, how will it fit in.”
Coun. Hutchison says there is a wide range of issues that still need to be investigated on the Brownfield site, adding there’s a wetland adjacent to the property and there are species at risk in the area.
“We don’t want to undermine either of those aspects, so is it possible this will,” Coun. Hutchison said. “It has to be looked at carefully.”
The property is currently zoned industrial. Patry is looking to change that to a residential designation at the March 8 planning committee meeting. He’s also applying for municipal tax incentives to clean up the contaminated property. His multi-million dollar housing application has not yet been vetted by city planners or politicians.
The Davis Tannery operated for over a century until it closed in 1974 manufacturing leather out of animal hides. The tannery building was demolished in 1984, and site has remained abandoned ever since.