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Downtown Markham

Second_in_pie

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I was looking at the Downtown Markham website and saw some of it's plans, and I am impressed (I have been since the Motorola building popped up years ago.) However, I have a couple of questions that can't seem to be answered by the website, wikipedia or a quick search on google. I then saw that there wasn't a downtown markham thread in this section, but if I'm somehow mistaken or am in the wrong section, the mods may feel free to exercise their power :p

First of all is what's actually "downtown." Now I know that "Downtown Markham" is enclosed by Warden, Highway 7, Kennedy, and the 407. Actually, after reading the website, apparently it's enclosed by the Rouge in the north. However, there's a lot of development that's going on outside, and tonnes (tonnes!) of room for more development. I was also under the impression that the land between the rouge river and Highway 7 (it's currently farmfield) was part of the downtown plan as well. Is the general area around "downtown" also part of some sort of urban growth plan that is going to develop as a whole?
Second question, which is related a bit to the first. I was looking at the wikipedia page and saw that they were expecting a fair number more jobs than residents downtown. This would be because "Downtown" is supposed to be more of a business zone and area where people would converge upon, whereas the surrounding areas would be more focused residential development, correct?

Third question, which is probably the hardest to answer. I'm looking at the website, and it looks like the whole thing is going to be very, very grand. Now I know that that's the new style of selling big real-estate, but I'm not sure exactly how posh it's supposed to be. I know that a fair number of the condos in the area are *AHEM* rather expensive, and it would be a disappointment to see it turn into another downtown, where pretty much only rich singles live in condos. I know a lot of people that are intimidated by Main St. Unionville due to it's ritziness, and it seems like downtown markham will only be more glamorous and expensive. I'm also concerned that all the "downtown" development will affect surrounding areas, mainly Main St. Unionville.

Fourth, and probably easiest to answer question, when is the whole thing supposed to be completed? Things are springing up in the area rather quickly, but can't make out any huge squares or grand promenades quite yet.

If anyone could provide any insight into those questions/issues, it would be greatly appreciated :)
 
First of all is what's actually "downtown." Now I know that "Downtown Markham" is enclosed by Warden, Highway 7, Kennedy, and the 407. Actually, after reading the website, apparently it's enclosed by the Rouge in the north. However, there's a lot of development that's going on outside, and tonnes (tonnes!) of room for more development. I was also under the impression that the land between the rouge river and Highway 7 (it's currently farmfield) was part of the downtown plan as well. Is the general area around "downtown" also part of some sort of urban growth plan that is going to develop as a whole?

Downtown Markham is both a bit of a marketing term and a real thing. It was designed over 20 years between city hall and Remington. The idea is to actually create a second downtown (beyond the old city of Markham on Markham Rd). This downtown would have walkable streets, and real employment so it would be truly mixed used, accessible by transit and a destination unto itself. Of course since it's the suburbs they chose the masterplanned route rather than the Jane Jacobs model.

The dimensions that you have are correct. The land to the north bounded by the river and Highway 7 is owned by another development company ( is it Liberty or Times?) and they have plans to develop it. Take a look at the official Markham development plans on the City of Markham website for a map.

Second question, which is related a bit to the first. I was looking at the wikipedia page and saw that they were expecting a fair number more jobs than residents downtown. This would be because "Downtown" is supposed to be more of a business zone and area where people would converge upon, whereas the surrounding areas would be more focused residential development, correct?

Yes, see above.

Third question, which is probably the hardest to answer. I'm looking at the website, and it looks like the whole thing is going to be very, very grand. Now I know that that's the new style of selling big real-estate, but I'm not sure exactly how posh it's supposed to be. I know that a fair number of the condos in the area are *AHEM* rather expensive, and it would be a disappointment to see it turn into another downtown, where pretty much only rich singles live in condos. I know a lot of people that are intimidated by Main St. Unionville due to it's ritziness, and it seems like downtown markham will only be more glamorous and expensive. I'm also concerned that all the "downtown" development will affect surrounding areas, mainly Main St. Unionville.

It already is quite expensive. I know as I went to the sales centre and it basically has outer downtown prices for Markham which is crazy. It will be a rather gentrified Disneyed downtown, not gritty. This may be it's downfall...

Alternately I can see it being a bit of a bedroom community of downsized baby boomers who like the suburbs but want a walkable community for their golden years.

Fourth, and probably easiest to answer question, when is the whole thing supposed to be completed? Things are springing up in the area rather quickly, but can't make out any huge squares or grand promenades quite yet.

If anyone could provide any insight into those questions/issues, it would be greatly appreciated :)

Slowly built over the next 10 years I believe? They will finish when they finish.. that's all dependent on how well it sells, since it's just one developer doing it, it has to be gradually done.
 
Keep in mind that Downtown Markham is just one part of downtown Markham (aka Markham Centre).

In case you don't explore the site I linked to, here's a very useful photolog of all the development in Markham Centre - it's the best way to get a sense of what's going on, what condos and offices and parks and institutions are [getting] built and where...it really helps tell you the kind of neighbourhood being built in a much more realistic way than marketing buzzwords:http://www.markham.ca/markham/aspc/markhamcentre/PDF/MC_DevStatus_2009.pdf

What's missing is one big rendering/plan/scale model of all of Markham Centre...the various sites are all being developed with little regard for one another and bits like Downtown Markham may end up isolated from downtown Markham.
 
Thanks for the links, scarberian. It would be nice to have a big render of the entire site, but I think I can get a sense of where exactly everything is going to be now. It looks like it will be an interesting thing to see unfold, but I just hope that it will help get residents out of their cars. I don't see much basing the community on transit other than Viva, which is definitely not a convenient or fast enough system to get people out of their cars.
 
The project has likely slowed down with the recession, but things were definitely moving ahead of schedule. The first group residential properties sold very quickly, and Rem moved up the second development, which sold well, then the third, etc. Commercial is going well, with Honeywell in place now, Motorola a long-time resident, and IBM across the street (not part of DM, per se). Building with a lighter environmental footprint and to a walkable scale is great, and I hope we get more of this to counter suburban blight.
 
I predict the area will be teeming with guys in polo shirts, khaki pants, and a ID badget clipped to their belt.
 
Keep in mind that Downtown Markham is just one part of downtown Markham (aka Markham Centre).

In case you don't explore the site I linked to, here's a very useful photolog of all the development in Markham Centre - it's the best way to get a sense of what's going on, what condos and offices and parks and institutions are [getting] built and where...it really helps tell you the kind of neighbourhood being built in a much more realistic way than marketing buzzwords:http://www.markham.ca/markham/aspc/markhamcentre/PDF/MC_DevStatus_2009.pdf

What's missing is one big rendering/plan/scale model of all of Markham Centre...the various sites are all being developed with little regard for one another and bits like Downtown Markham may end up isolated from downtown Markham.


I have read the linked PDF and created the following rendering of all the projects:

4fWluqjeDowntownBurjDubai-banner_tcm3-232.jpg
 
Markham is quite good at urban planning, however sometimes I get the impression that its planners are wearing rose coloured glasses. My honest opinion is that the most successful parts of Markham Centre will be those situated along Warden, Kennedy, and Highway 7. History has proven time and time again that the most successful neighbourhoods are those located along established transportation corridors. Downtown Markham is too secluded. Much like how Viva purple is forced to divert off of Highway 7, a passing traveler would be oblivious to the fact that downtow Markham exists, unless they force their route to include side streets.

Yonge is where the action is in York Region, and this is despite being shunned by both Markham and Vaughan. If success is measured as a combination of population density, modal split, and demographic diversity, Thornhill will be the most successful growth node in both Markham and Vaughan - and it hasn't even been officially labeled as one by the province!
 
I completely agree, Chuck. In fact, I think the whole Thornhill/Richmond Hill Centre/North York Centre area should be subject to unified planning.
 
Aug 6

I will post a few of the photo's I shot and the rest can be view on youtube.

The lack of sun and late in the day didn't help trying to catch what is taking place and decided to try at a later date.

There needs to be another bus stop than the one that there now as well planning on some local service, otherwise this will be a car city.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nmlCIVr9x0

IMG_aug-06-09-0190.jpg


IMG_aug-06-09-0191.jpg


IMG_aug-06-09-0199.jpg


IMG_aug-06-09-0214.jpg
 

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