Brampton boom: Development spike follows new official plan

IMAGE: Shoppers World in the GTA city of Brampton will undergo a major redevelopment and intensification, led by RioCan REIT, during the next 20 years or so. (Courtesy RioCan REIT)

Shoppers World in the GTA city of Brampton will undergo a major redevelopment and intensification, led by RioCan REIT, during the next 20 years or so. (Courtesy RioCan REIT)

With plans in place to intensify parts of the city, and large parcels of land available in its eastern and western reaches, the Toronto-area City of Brampton has become a hotbed for development.

That’s particularly true in the multiresidential sector, with the city showing increased openness for growth and attracting plenty of attention from builders.

Brampton 2040 Vision is a document created in 2018 to shape the future of the rapidly growing city of almost 700,000, located in the northwest portion of the Greater Toronto Area. It deals with the environment, jobs, urban centres, neighbourhoods, transportation, social matters, health, the arts and culture.

Neighbouring Mississauga, Peel Region’s other major city, has developed or is in the process of developing much of its available greenfield space. That’s not the case in Brampton.

“I look at Brampton as being what Mississauga was 20 years ago. The opportunity here now to provide intensification along major avenues and transit routes is great. Planning staff has come on side with that now. Previously there was more resistance,” National Homes president and managing partner Jason Pantalone, whose company has developed more than 2,000 acres and more than 1,000 homes in Brampton, told RENX.

He credited the current city council with a renewed focus on transit-oriented development.

“Now you can see, from the top down, there is a direction to promote smart development that has good planning behind it. We’re seeing that now, whereas five years ago it was a different municipality and different direction. It was very frustrating to get business done in that municipality.”

That has led to a series of major developments and redevelopments comprising millions of square feet of space and thousands of housing units, plus new commercial, retail, office and infrastructure.

Brampton’s vision and openness

SvN Architects + Planners and BDP Quadrangle are leading the planning, urban design and landscape elements of RioCan REIT’s Shoppers World redevelopment. Principal Shonda Wang is impressed by Brampton 2040 Vision and the way the city is looking toward its future growth.

“I’m encouraged that they’re trying to think boldly and be comprehensive with what their vision is,” Wang told RENX. “They’ve thought very much about all of the supportive infrastructure that’s required to support development. That includes transit.”

City of Brampton officials are also starting to work more closely with the development community, according to Wang.

“Brampton realizes that it’s important to think about public and community requirements, which are always critical, but also what the market requirements are. When you’re able to bring market, technical and community requirements together, that sets up the right conversations and processes for new developments to come online.”

These measures have opened up opportunities developers have been eager to take advantage of.

Shoppers World redevelopment

Shoppers World is comprised of a single-storey enclosed mall and stand-alone box stores encompassing approximately 690,000 square feet on a 53-acre site that will be redeveloped in phases over 20 years.

It could include four million square feet of sustainably focused, mixed-use density when all is said and done.

“The City of Brampton is very enthusiastic about us doing more with that site,” RioCan chief operating officer John Ballantyne told RENX. “Shoppers World is an older asset that’s still a viable part of the community. But, where we can add housing around it, we think that’s critical.”

The property could include up to 4,500 residential rental and condominium units and more than 800,000 square feet dedicated to commercial uses, including retail and office.

It will also include parks, open spaces and new walkable and bikeable streets to transform it from being a car-dominated environment with acres of surface parking. It could also incorporate a school and a community centre.

“Through the public realm and new streets and linear connections, that will create connections deeper into the site and each one of the mixed-use districts that will be introduced over time on the site,” said Wang.

“That mix of uses will include a retail high street that would have a high pedestrian focus and new small-scale retail and commercial opportunities alongside new opportunities for larger-format retail and commercial uses. Then there are a number of types of residential developments, including townhouses, mid-rise buildings and taller buildings.”

The site is bounded by Steeles Avenue West to the south, Main Street South to the east, Charolais Boulevard to the north and Kaneff Park to the west.

Transit hub at Shoppers World

Metrolinx’s 18-kilometre, 19-stop Hazel McCallion Line, a light rail transit (LRT) route that starts in Port Credit near Lake Ontario to the south, will go north along Hurontario Street to terminate at Shoppers World when it’s complete.

There are plans to incorporate an existing bus terminal and the future LRT stop to create a transit plaza surrounded by retail and commercial uses.

The redevelopment project received unanimous approval for rezoning and its master plan in November 2020. The planning and design process continues to move forward.

SvN is working with RioCan, lead architect BDP Quadrangle and a multi-disciplinary consulting team to realize site-plan approvals for Phase 1 on the southwestern corner of the site, which will have two residential towers with extensive landscaping. It won’t affect existing retail.

Additional site-plan approvals will be sought on a district-by-district basis as the project evolves.

RioCan also owns Trinity Common Brampton, Heart Lake Town Centre and other retail and commercial assets in Brampton.

“There are no short-term plans to intensify or redevelop them,” said Ballantyne. “However, they are part of our pipeline that we can reach into over the next 30 or 40 years and do exactly that. In the meantime, they’re wonderful assets and income-producing trophies for RioCan.”

Duo Condos

IMAGE: Duo Condos is a multi-phased development in Brampton, by National Homes. (Courtesy National Homes)

Duo Condos is a multi-phased development in Brampton, by National Homes and Brixen Developments. (Courtesy National Homes)

Duo Condos is a multi-phased residential community with commercial space at grade from partners National Homes and Brixen Developments at 245 Steeles Ave. W. A Sheridan College campus is to the west and the future LRT line will be to the east.

The first phase consists of 349 units, with the initial release of 300 condos selling out in just a week-and-a-half. The second release is coming this spring and a third release that will include penthouse and townhouse units will follow later.

The smallest units are around 425 square feet and they range up to close to 900 square feet. Prices started around $1,050 a square foot and are now averaging around $1,100 per square foot.

“Being able to offer homes starting in the $425,000 range up to $850,000 or $900,000 provides more affordable product that can’t be found anywhere in the GTA,” said Pantalone. “It was important for us, given the background and our history in Brampton, to be able to bring a product like that which can service the market and that we can be proud of.”

National Homes and Brixen closed on the site in May 2021 for an undisclosed price after conditionally acquiring it from Sundial Homes in October 2020.

Pantalone said land values and unit revenues have increased substantially since then, though he cautioned rising construction costs are impacting the overall feasibility of some projects.

Other Brampton residential developments

Several other high-rise and mid-rise multi-residential projects are at various stages of development in Brampton.

i-Squared Developments’ Stella at Southside Condos is a sold-out 21-storey, 290-unit project near Steeles Avenue West and Hurontario Street scheduled for completion in 2023. The 40-storey, 450-unit Stella 2 is in pre-construction. Sales haven’t begun yet, but it’s anticipated it will be completed in 2027.

Boardwalk REIT and Redwood Properties are developing 45 Railroad, a two-tower, 365-unit purpose-built rental apartment on the site of the former Dominion Skate Building at 45 Railroad St. in downtown Brampton. The first tower is slated for occupancy in September and the entire development should be stabilized in 2024.

Inzola Group’s Symphony Condominiums is a sold-out 21-storey, 182-unit building at 145 Queen St. E. that’s nearing completion. Inzola previously completed the 27-storey, 230-unit Park Place Condominiums at 100 John St.

The Daniels Corporation’s four-storey OMG 2 Condos, the second phase of the Olivia Marie Gardens master-planned community at Mississauga Road and Olivia Marie Road, is under construction and scheduled for completion next year.

Daniels MPV is a master-planned condo and townhouse community located just east of Creditview Road on Bovaird Drive, adjacent to the Mount Pleasant GO Transit station. It’s a Daniels-Choice Properties development that’s now under construction.

Solmar Development Corp.’s Bristol Place is a condo with two 48-storey towers and 1,148 units that’s in the pre-construction phase at 199 Main St. N. Sales are expected to start soon.

Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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