CORNER BROOK The Colemans Group of Companies is back to focusing on developing a sizable piece of land in the University Drive, O‚ÄôConnell Drive and Elizabeth Street area.
© Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
The area of land the Colemans Group of Companies intends on developing.
The company has nine hectares of land in that busy area of the city, and Eugene Coleman says they have been planning to develop it since 1997.
Coleman spoke in mid-March about the plan for the construction of an apartment building and retail shop or shops in the portion of land facing O‚ÄôConnell Drive, while single or double dwelling units would be erected on land bordering the Elizabeth Street area.
While addressing the public hearing of the city's Integrated Municipal Sustainability Plan and 2012 development regulations, the city businessman discussed the project with Gerard Martin, the commissioner, in hopes of influencing zone changes to allow the development to take place sometime in the future. Proposed zone changes to this area would not allow for the construction of houses, while retail shops would be a discretionary use under the new proposed innovation district zone. An apartment complex would be permitted.
Last week, Coleman said it was important to make the city and its consultant, Stantec, aware of their plans.
‚ÄúThe city, their consultants, blanketed the area with innovation district zone,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe consultants probably didn‚Äôt realize it was privately owned and we have been planning development for some time.‚ÄĚ
The Colemans Group was approved in principal to erect row houses in that area in 2004, according to Coleman. It would have had to include a wellness centre at the time.
But the project was put on hold when the company began construction of the new grocery store at the former Humber Gardens.
After that was completed, Coleman said they purchased the 1.6 hectares of property bordering Elizabeth Street, bring the total land to the nine hectares they currently have, so they could develop something more substantial. That area is targetted for the development of a number of duplexes.
‚ÄúRight now, we are kind of back to the drawing board on the proposal,‚ÄĚ Coleman said. ‚ÄúWe are trying to determine a way to service the front of O‚ÄôConnell with either some small retail shops or shop and some apartment complexes, which we feel there is a big need for in town.‚ÄĚ
Coleman also recognized the retail shop would not likely be approved if it was a ‚Äúbig box store‚ÄĚ type of business. He said it would likely be a smaller shop or shops, and something the Colemans Group would look to lease or rent.
‚ÄúWe are willing to develop that land, but we have to come to some kind of arrangement as to what will work for both of us,‚ÄĚ he said, referring to the zoning of the land.
The company is looking to break ground on the project in the fall, depending on whether they can resolve the zoning issues.