Turning a Parking Lot and Fire Station into a Park and Affordable Housing: Update on Plans for 260 Adelaide and 229 Richmond
Over five years ago, I committed to creating a new park in the heart of downtown, in one of the fastest-growing neighbourhoods in North America. Now, after years of work and planning, a new signature park will be built by leveraging City-owned property at 260 Adelaide and 229 Richmond – along with affordable housing and other vital city services.
This week, the CreateTO Board of Directors adopted the proposed Master Plan for these properties, including how these sites can be activated with City uses.
Right now, 260 Adelaide is home to an aging fire hall that needs structural upgrades, and 229 Richmond is a parking lot. Under our plan, 12 City Divisions have come together to revitalize our downtown neighbourhood. It will include 196 units of new affordable housing, alongside additional market housing; a new relocated state-of-the-art fire station and paramedic post; 10,000 square feet of community space; and a new 24,000 square/foot park. This is creative city-building at its best.
This will be the first new large park in our downtown King-Spadina community in over 20 years. In that time, the population of the area has grown from just 230 residents to an estimated 44,000 people – when all the proposed development and construction is completed. We clearly need more greenspace and outdoor areas for people to exercise, enjoy, and explore.
This project is financed by leveraging the value of the City-owned land, as well as through the use of Section 42 parkland acquisition funds that are collected from developers and can only be spent on the creation of new parkland.
The project also makes it clear that city planning can be innovative, collaborative, and forward-thinking. The existing Adelaide Fire Hall needed significant structural upgrades. It would have cost the City at least $10 million just to rebuild a two-story fire hall in the same spot. In 2016 I began advocating for the Richmond site to be transformed into a park, and through collaboration with City Divisions and staff, we were able to think even bigger.
The new park will be an estimated 24,000 square/feet of green space, comparable in size to Berczy Park. The 196 estimated new affordable housing units will be rented at 80% of Average Market Rent, for a minimum of 99 years.
This project has truly been a long time coming. I'm happy to announce that today we are one step closer to a new inclusive, dynamic, and liveable community right in the heart of Ward 10.