Twice rebuffed, developer prepares third proposal for Barrhaven land
DCR Phoenix is taking another stab at kick-starting development of a 27-acre patch of land near Highway 416 in Barrhaven after two failed attempts with the city.
DCR Phoenix has held the 27.7-acre property between Highway 416, Fallowfield Road and O'Keefe Court since 2004. (Google Maps image)
This time, the Ottawa-based developer has an agreement with the Salvation Army to build a 70,000-square-foot church with community space on four acres of the land.
The new plan is once again running into opposition from the community after two other proposals went before city hall and failed - one to rezone the property for residential purposes, and the other to construct a distribution centre for Frito Lay Canada.
"Every time we bring a proposed development to the city to review, everybody (says) ‘We don't want this,'" said William Buchanan, DCR Phoenix's manager of planning.
"They don't look at the fact you're creating 35 to 40 jobs, and how much (property tax) assessment (goes) back to the city. It's the old (not-in-my-backyard) approach."
DCR Phoenix is waiting to hear back from the city on the developer's proposal to include the Salvation Army on the land. Located between Highway 416, Fallowfield Road and O'Keefe Court, the property is currently set aside for a "prestige" business park under the Nepean Secondary Plan.
Putting the church on the property will require changing part of the zoning to include a place of worship. The rest of the land could still include businesses depending on what entities approach DCR Phoenix for development, Mr. Buchanan added.
Previously, Frito Lay was listed as the lead tenant in a 2010 development application DCR filed with the city for the land.
The company had proposed a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and office for 230 employees. The proposal was dropped after vehement opposition from nearby residents, the councillor for the area, Jan Harder, and the Barrhaven Business Improvement Area.
"We already have suitable space for (warehousing) and plenty of it," said BIA executive director Andrea Steenbakkers in a 2010 interview, referring to vacant land in the South Merivale Business Park, at Prince of Wales Drive.
The DCR Phoenix land should be used for high-value employment instead, she said at the time.
Mr. Buchanan said he is prepared to go to the Ontario Municipal Board if this latest proposal falls through. Otherwise, he's hoping to secure agreements by the end of 2011 and to start development on the triangular-shaped property next year.
"In a perfect world you probably would get those types of uses that may be conducive to everyone in the area, but this is not a perfect world, and you can't hold out and wait for someone to come along for a piece of land that may or may not suit their needs," he said.
"It cost a lot of money to buy it, and will cost a lot of money to service it, and I frankly don't want to sit on it for the next number of years."