A rendering shows an aerial view of the Krpan Group’s proposed iConnect Community development at Clappison’s Corners. The proposal would bring approximately 2,000 residential units and 3,000 jobs to the area. – Krpan Group rendering
A massive development that has the potential to drastically reshape the area around Clappison’s Corners has been proposed by the Krpan Group.
The development group, which owns and manages the Flamborough Power Centre and surrounding properties, confirmed in an interview July 9 they are proposing a massive development — including 2,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and 3,000 jobs are slated for the business park at the intersection of Highway 5 and Highway 6 in Waterdown.
John A. Krpan, senior investment manager with the Krpan Group, said the proposed iConnect Business Park would fit the needs of large corporations who have or are interested in locating the business park — such as Stryker or L3 WESCAM. He said the slated community is designed to make employees happy by having live, work, shop and play options all close at hand.
“We are understanding that to get in the biggest and the best names into the area … these companies need to know where their employees are going to live.”
“We want this to be a staple for the rest of the province to be able to look at when they use examples of the types of areas and communities they want to replicate for their own cities.” — John A. KrpanThe business park area — which generally stretches from Highway 6 in the west, to Parkside Drive in the north, the WESCAM lands to the south of Dundas Street to the south and east of the soon-to-be-complete Clappison Drive in the east — is made up of approximately 100 acres.
Of that, Krpan said the proposal would see 1.5 million square feet of employment lands — and a total of about 3,000 jobs at full build out.
“Almost one-third of that is already done, in agreement or up and going,” he said. “That includes 120,000 square feet and 250 jobs for Stryker, 330,000 square feet at WESCAM and up to 1,500 jobs.”
Krpan added there are still more companies to come.
“We have some agreements in place — I can’t speak about which companies they are — but we have a couple hundred thousand square feet of deals already done and agreed to go around Stryker,” he said. “That will be coming online in the next year or two, at the most.”
But the businesses — such as Stryker — are attracting a very young staff.
“None of these people either can afford, or necessarily want to live in a detached home — and that’s all that Waterdown really provides right now,” he said. “What we think makes the most sense is to turn some of the land — 60 acres … into residential — what we’re calling attainable housing.”
Krpan said the plan would see approximately 2,000 residential units including low-rise townhomes, mid-rise residential and highrise residential — which will feature condos and rental apartments. As well, a nursing and retirement facility is also slated for the development with over 350 beds.
In a breakdown provided by the Krpan Group, the project is slated to have 392 stacked townhouse units on the north side of Dundas Street, 54 single townhouses, 80 mid-rise units, 630 highrise units, 165 retirement beds and 192 nursing beds.
Meanwhile, the south side is slated for 64 stacked townhouse units, 16 single townhouse units, 388 mid-rise units and 220 highrise units.
Immediately to the north of WESCAM there are some residential units proposed, Krpan said, but the majority of the residential developments are on the north side of Dundas Street, south of Borer’s Creek and west of Clappison Avenue.
The area already features about 700,000 square feet of retail commercial lands — making up the ‘shop’ component for someone living nearby, Krpan said. That includes amenities such as No Frills, hair salons, veterinarians, dentists, daycare, dentists and coffee shops and restaurants.
He noted there will be more restaurants built in the area of the Keg and Boston Pizza — as well as other mixed-use uses. Krpan said the group is nearing capacity for retail businesses in the area — but said when more residential units are built, more retail will be demanded.
“We are keeping land open to fulfil that,” he said.
Krpan said the company currently has a rezoning application for the development before the city and has “city support right now.”
In terms of a time frame for the development, Krpan said they are hoping to have rezoning approvals in the next year, and have site plan approval for the first build in 2021 or 2022.
Krpan said the city is expected to garner approximately $65 million in development charges from the growth to come as a result of the project, plus approximately $20 million in property taxes per year.
“That’s just of what’s to come,” he said. “They’ve already realized a bunch of development charges from this project, as well as property taxes per year.”
He said full build will depend upon demand and the other business that come in to the business park lands.
“We are moving forward as fast as we can and we’re working with the city diligently, the city is working with us closely to move this forward as fast as possible,” he said. “There are limitations on how fast we can move, just because of the amount of work that does need to be done.
“As far as we’re concerned, there is no slowdown or delay for any reason — this is moving forward as quickly as we possibly can because the demand is there.”
With the ongoing traffic and congestion issues in Waterdown due to growth, Krpan said reports are showing are that because the intersection is already so busy, some residential and increased employment actually doesn’t increase the traffic flow all that much, relative to what there already is.
While normally something of this magnitude might alter the traffic flow drastically, Krpan said those instances are generally further away from major intersections.
Krpan said the development is a very exciting.
“We’re excited to build what we’re calling a complete community,” he said. “We want this to be a staple for the rest of the province to be able to look at when they use examples of the types of areas and communities they want to replicate for their own cities.”
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said the live-work-play community is the way of the future.
“Driving for hours and hours from suburban areas to get to your work in the city is certainly not in keeping with wanting to look after our environment,” she said. “I think this development has got some good, strong foundations which families can build their whole lives around.”
While Waterdown has dealt with gridlock as a result of growth in the community, Partridge said she thinks growth around Clappison’s Corners “makes perfect sense.”
“The idea of intensification of our downtown core and the old town of Waterdown — I’m not on side for that, we really need to preserve the heritage of our core,” she said. “I don’t want to lose that beautiful look and feel of the old town of Waterdown, so it makes a lot of sense to me to put it out at Clappison.”
Partridge said she is supportive of the development “at this point.”
“I think the location works because it gets the intensity of development out of the old core of Waterdown,” she said. “To bring that much of a development in, it makes sense to do it where our services are already existing and where there are already shopping complexes.”
However, Partridge said she feels an important first step is to put the project out for public consultation. To that end, she plans to host a public meeting early this fall to solicit feedback from the community.
“I don’t want folks to think they aren’t having a say in a major, major development application that’s coming to the community.”
Partridge said she hopes the development will bring more affordable housing to the community for young professionals — as well as seniors who are looking to downsize.
“We need to have more housing choices,” she said, as the hot housing market in Flamborough has meant many young families are priced out.
Partridge said city staff has been working on the project for the past several months, adding there are several steps yet to go.
“There will be rezoning requirements, there will be some land severances — so some minor variances, but also major applications that will come before the planning committee,” she said.
Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Matteo Patricelli said although he wasn’t aware of the proposal, the concept of the live-work community makes sense.
“From a chamber perspective, I don’t see a downside, as far as economic development goes,” he said. “It seems to be the trend that people want communities with everything there.”
Patricelli added he sees the proposal as good for everyone — including existing business that will benefit from increased traffic.
“I think it’s very positive,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be in Flamborough.”