Ajax Vision at Pat Bayly Square | ?m | 25s | Medallion | Arcadis


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Public square and 1,800 residential units slated for Ajax site
Town approves agreement to develop southwest corner of Harwood Avenue and Bayly Street
Jul 08, 2011 - 02:26 PM
AJAX -- A Mel Lastman Square-type public space and six towers containing more than 1,800 residential units are slated for the southwest corner of Harwood Avenue and Bayly Street in a deal between developers and the Town of Ajax passed at a council meeting on Thursday.

At issue is an undeveloped nine-acre property that the Town expropriated in 2009 after the former owners submitted plans for drive-throughs to be built there. At the time, councillors decided that plan was not in line with their vision for the downtown and with the expropriation, they went in search of a developer who could meet the vision of an urbanized, densely populated mixed-use space.

On July 7, councillors both announced and approved an agreement to sell the land to Medallion Corporation for $9 million. The company will build six towers ranging in size from nine storeys to 25 storeys, a two-storey office building and a public square similar to Mel Lastman Square with a water feature in the centre that will double as an outdoor skating rink in the winter.

The plan is to build a total of 1,838 residential units which will be a mix of condos and rental apartments. The first phase, including the public square, is slated to be complete in late 2014 or early 2015.

The square will be named in honour of Pat Bayly, Ajax's first mayor.

During the Second World War, Pat Bayly served in Camp X in Whitby, a training camp for spies and covert operations. There, Mr. Bayly worked on code deciphering and after the war he went on to start an engineering firm in Ajax before becoming mayor in 1955.

"He was a true pioneer in this community; like Ajax he was born in war and made a community after the war," said Mayor Steve Parish.

Because the project is part of the Town's downtown revitalization plan, Ajax will provide $22 million in incentives to Medallion through the course of the project. These include rebates on 80 per cent of the increase in property taxes on the site until 2025, exemptions in planning and development fees and development charge exemptions. Medallion must still pay the Region of Durham's portion of development charges.

Mayor Parish acknowledged the incentives were substantial.

"Of course if you didn't have the incentives you wouldn't have the development or you'd have a strip plaza," he said.

When the project is complete in 2026, it's expected to bring in $1.4 million annually in property taxes. As it stands, the property brings in about $55,000 in taxes per year.

Medallion still has to go through the site planning process, including public consultation, and Mayor Parish said there won't be cranes at the site tomorrow. He commended council for the decision to expropriate the land and said he was excited about the project.

"It means a vibrant downtown, it means a very considerable addition to the Town's revenue base, it will certainly create jobs and other spin-off jobs and I think it's a win-win for our economy," said the mayor.

One outstanding issue is the final price after the expropriation. Ajax assessed the land value at $5.5 million at the time but the land owners disagreed and now it's up to the Ontario Municipal Board to decide the price. Mayor Parish said at one point the former owners were asking for as much as $13 million.

Representatives from Medallion were on hand when council approved the agreement. The company is currently building a subdivision in Ajax at Rossland and Audley roads and has built multi-residential units in Toronto and London.

Howie Paskowitz, senior development manager of Medallion, said he was looking forward to the opportunity to partner with the Town in this project and pointed out his company was making a long-term commitment to the community as Medallion would continue to own and operate the apartment buildings after the development is complete.

"The opportunities for projects of this magnitude don't come around very often," he said.

The incentives provided by the Town were key to the deal.

"The project could not happen without those incentives," said Mr. Paskowitz.

As to the phasing, Mr. Paskowitz said the first two buildings constructed will likely be apartment units, with condos built in the later phases. The proposed start for the second phase is 2016 and 2020 for the third phase.

"With condos, before you can start you need presales," he said.

Mayor Parish said he expects there may be some resistance from residents regarding the project as there has been in other Durham communities when condo towers were proposed, but he thought most residents would understand it's the appropriate spot for dense buildings.

"I think the one place most people say yes this the place for it is in the downtown," he said.

Fast facts on the Medallion project at Harwood and Bayly
- Six building complexes ranging in height from nine to 23 storeys
- 1,838 residential apartment and condo residential units and a population of 3,190

- Parking will be underground

- Public square to be located at the corner of Harwood and Bayly with 844-metre square reflecting pool doubling as outdoor skating rink

- Ampitheatre seating in the square for public performances

- Retail stores at ground level and two-storey office building planned

- Pedestrian walkway connecting Pat Bayly Square and Ajax Community Centre

- Upon completion office and retail will employ about 246 employees

- Residents in buildings expected to spend $71.6 million annually, some of which will go to nearby businesses


i grew up in ajax up till i was 23 (then moved away to peterborough). I am so glade to see this land FINALY being used for something other then what i had dreaded happening more own houses. now we may finaly have that downtown feel we have been wishing for, and waiting for all these many many years! to the developers and future buyers. THANK YOU!

makes up for the mall that was (laughs) turned into.. wait for it... you guessed it.. more town houses. Ajax has great potential people. invest discover plan and build a great city out of this town.
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This one is a go ahead and construction has already begun...

Cant seem to find pictures of the buildings (which look a lot better now than previous renders) and other than that the proposal remains the same with the walkway, splash pad and so on.



It looks very promising and digging has already begun and so this one will be going up soon enough. And I must say again the buildings do look very good and even more worthy than most of the ones going up in Toronto :D
This is great news, looking forward to seeing this corner get revitalized.
This project by Medallion does not reflect anything like Mel Lastman Sq. Medallion is a large landlord, owning tens of thousand of rental units in the GTA. Also, this is Ajax not Toronto , Where are these renters coming from? Has anyone toured a Medallion rental property? All the local media, politicians are up playing this project as something that its not, the majority of these residential suites are rentals only a fraction of the project will be condominiums, I think the Town of Ajax/Mayor Parish should have toured Medallions Rental Properties prior to approving such a dense residential rental project
dissagree. this is just what ajax has been lacking regardless of it being rental or condos. wich located in ajax. not many can afford condos... just saying. its no toronto for sure. but is deserving of a downtown feeling finally having grown up there trust me. tnis is a great start. condos come later .
Go to the old hoods in GTA and see for yourself

dissagree. this is just what ajax has been lacking regardless of it being rental or condos. wich located in ajax. not many can afford condos... just saying. its no toronto for sure. but is deserving of a downtown feeling finally having grown up there trust me. tnis is a great start. condos come later .

The structures are crumbling
Dense hi-rise rentals dont work , landlords can not keep up with the ware are tare

Market rent prices and not affordable. Ajax is still a bedroom community a large majority work outside of town. Dense rental communities in the long term become run down fast. Land lords cant/dont keep up with the wear and tare of these large building , example.... St Jamestown, Jamison Ave. Jane and Finch just to name a few.
"Redevelopment" is probably the wrong term for this development, which is on a huge, previously-unused parcel of land. This, on the other hand....

This will actually mean tearing down the Ajax Plaza, one of the stripmall-type buildings that form our "downtown." Since the town was only founded during WWII, we never had the type of downtown people often picture for small-town Ontario (see, for instance, Whitby).
Work is progressing. Sorry, no shot down into the excavation, but I think they are close to hitting bottom for Tower A, the tallest of the six buildings in the project and which will hit 25 storeys. Looking for the architect. Anyone know? A dataBase page will be going up once we've got that figured out!




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Anyone near here able to take a picture of the progress? I'll try sometime soon. But might be week or two
Went by here a few weeks ago and seen that they are now at about five or six floors above grade. It's coming along nice. Gonna change that area for the better. Can't wait to see the project done.