Pickering Town Centre is getting a major makeover with new development plans expected to transform the area into a “bustling downtown centre,” with thousands of new condo units, a developer says.
Real estate company CentreCourt Developments announced on Wednesday its plan to build 10 high-rise condominium buildings around the mall — as tall as 55 storeys — that will include more than 6,000 residences.
Construction on the first phase of the 55-acre property is set to begin in the fall, with the project expected to be complete in 10 years. Located off Highway 401, the site will become a mixed-use area of new and existing commercial and retail spaces, and include a more than 6,000-square metre park, the developer says
“Over the next decade, we’re going to see a massive transformation of this site,” said CentreCourt president Gavin Cheung. “As one of the fastest growing submarkets in the Greater Toronto Area, Pickering is on the cusp of an exciting moment.”
Pickering Town Centre is one of the latest malls set to undergo such a transformation. Experts say mixed-use developments in and around existing malls are taking off in the Greater Torono Area and are leading a trend as the region faces a housing crunch with demand outpacing supply.
‘A pretty big step’: urban planner
Cheung says the goal is to create a new downtown area for Pickering, which starts by bringing people to the area.
“With the growth of our downtown core, we will be reinvesting in the shopping centre. We’ll be bringing on new commercial uses throughout the master plan. We’ll be adding green spaces to make it that vibrant urban environment that we know is critical to the fabric of this community.”
Naama Blonder, an urban planner at the firm Smart Density, says the development plan is needed.
“Retail is struggling on one hand, and we are struggling with housing on the other hand, so the best use of land is to really come up with those mixed use, complete community concepts like this one,” Blonder said.
She says in the case of Pickering, the city is expected to create 13,000 new homes as part of Ontario’s “ambitious” target of building 1.5 million homes across the province by 2033.
“If we’re talking about 6,000 over the decade, we’re already reaching about 50 per cent of that target, so that’s a pretty big step,” she said.
Plan brings density ‘where it should be,’ says mayor
The company says Pickering City Hall will also be revitalized as part of its plan.
The plan also includes a virtual medical clinic that residents will be able to access from their homes. It also promises enhanced walkways, tree-lined streets and community spaces for festivals.
Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe said he is “thrilled” to be part of the launch.
“This signature development, located in the heart of our city centre, will bring the density where it should be,” Ashe said in a statement.
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