Town to Sell Parking Lot on Queen Street

Sounds dramatic but it looks like a good deal for everyone.  The developer who now owns the old run-down Curling building at 22 Queen Street wants to demolish that and build a 65 unit condo development that would also occupy the parking lot.  The development would have at least 155 underground parking spots which would include 64 publicly accessible “Green P” parking spaces to replace the current 64 spaces.  The building would be mixed commercial (6000 sq. ft.) and residential and the estimated value of project construction is $32M.  This requires that the Town sell the parking lot to the developer – and to include clauses to ensure that the deal is good for the Town and its citizens.  The sale price is $600K but the Town wins financially with development charges, property taxes and an arms-length managed indoor parking area.

22 Queen Street
22 Queen Street
36 Queen St - Parking Lot being sold
36 Queen St – Parking Lot being sold

The owner of 22 Queen who is making the deal is the developer of the new high-end housing project on King Street called Cedar Shores (more on that here). 

Despite having had a good experience on that project, the Town has added clauses that allow for termination at two stages of the project:

  1. A reversal of the sale after two years if construction does not start – there would be a $10k cost to the developer in this case.
  2. If there is not substantial performance in 5 years after commencement of construction, the Town would get up to $600K from the developer to finance a replacement parking facility.

It has also been agreed that the existing parking lot will remain as an open, public parking lot until the actual construction begins.

There is still significant work to be done before construction starts.  Site plan approval will be before the end of 2019 and a start on construction would be no later than 2 years after that.  Although not spelled out, one public meeting will likely be scheduled in 2019.

Financial Considerations

The agreed sale price is $600k and the appraised value is $1,133K (22 Queen sold/closed for $1,050K in July 2017).  But the Town gains with the addition of an indoor parking facility valued at between $960K and $1,600K which makes the total value to the Town between $1,560K and $2,200K. The Condo Corporation will manage the 64 spaces and charge parking fees at no more than twice Town rates (as set out in its Fees and Charges By-law). This parking arrangement will be secured with a 99 year lease.

The parking revenue currently collected is estimated at $20K to $30K per year with maintenance of the lot and of meters costing approx. $10K. This net profit would be lost but the Town gains one time Development Charges of approx. $700K and annual property taxes of approx. $300K.

CAO Stephen Peacock notes that the development helps the Town meet targets for residential intensification in the Downtown area and that the extra population will help with Downtown vitalization.


The agreement was worked out in multiple closed Council sessions held since May 2017 so Councillors should be fully aware of all the details.  It will come up for approval at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25 and it will get final Council approval on July 3.


Update – June 25, 2018

At the Council Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25, a presentation was made to give more details about the proposal to buy the Town owned parking lot as described above.  One key addition was that the roof of the building will include “skygardens” to provide the feeling that the development is an extension of the adjacent Victoria Park.  The zoning changes requested will be minimal with the result that there will be 5 storeys at 22 Queen but only 3 at 36 Queen since those heights are already approved.  Debra McCarthy asked about possible basement flooding due to the proximity to the lake but was told that if in fact there is a problem, then pumps and backup power would resolve it.

Council approved the proposal.

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17 September 2018 1:55 pm

” Perhaps the Council should be encouraging developers to build substantial, beautiful, affordable housing for Cobourg families who are being priced out of decent housing in the town they grew up in.”

Unfortunately Tim developers will never build affordable housing can’t do it and still have a profit! But Municipalities and the County could do it by building houses at cost on unused municipal land.

You should be asking all the candidates in this Cobourg election, who profess to support affordable housing, how they are going to do it instead of them spouting platitudes.

28 July 2018 12:22 pm

Sorry, wrong topic.

21 June 2018 1:10 pm

The Truth of the Matter is the Developers can get Financing for construction of Condo’s and Free hold
type homes/ properties much easier than they can for Apartments . Less risk to lenders and Builders
with Pre Sales and the debt is retired much more quickly than with apartments .

BUT the fact still remains that the Common Element ? Maintenance fees are going through the roof .
Combine that with the individual Utility cost and Taxes per individual unit and your in a cost area of in excess of $1,000.– to $1,500.– per month + This is the area that most are looking to pay for Rent as they age and live off their fix retirement incomes .

We forget that a lot of the residents in Northumberland or Small town Ont. are or were self employed
whether you were a Realtor , Plumber , Farmer or even a Lawyer Etc Etc . doesn’t matter
—- these people had to contributed to both Employer and Employee ends of the CPP contributions
which lessened the amount saved over their life time Yet does not give them an increase in their CPP / OAS payments when they retire Teachers , Govt, & Municipal with strength in numbers had far greater
opportunity to save .

The Community needs apartments Its all about Municipal Planning for the Locals Not Toronto and
the all mighty Tax $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

21 June 2018 8:54 am

I hope the city did some testing on the “water level” as it pertains to the depth of the planned underground parking garage….Could be a problem….better safe than sorry later.

John Draper
Reply to  cornbread
21 June 2018 9:30 am

The Harbour Front Condos on Third Street have underground parking with the floor level about four feet below the lake level. That requires them to have multi-horsepower sump pumps and a backup diesel to keep them going if power fails.

20 June 2018 3:47 pm

Why is it that every time a change is proposed for Cobourg we are inundated with negative comments?. It must really be sad to be some of you folk. The world turns …you do know that, right?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Elaine
17 September 2018 11:43 am

Reality sets in unfortunately and Third Street condos are a prime example of developers Impact on the town.The developer went bankrupt and left town leaving the owners holding the bag with the town doing nothing .
Not only the structural profile of the town is being changed by condos popping up everywhere as the developers make their money and move on to another project but the majority of the workmanship is shoddy. Ask those who live in them.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Bill Thompson
17 September 2018 2:06 pm

Ask those who live in them.”

You mean ask those who bought into them of their own free will. The condo owners can simply pay to repair their own shoddiness. If course the Town could strengthen bylaws to force all condo developers to build according to the highest standards of Rosedale and charge accordingly.

…Third Street condos are a prime example of developers Impact on the town.”

That says nothing. Even boulevard growth has an ‘impact’ on the town. What kind of impact, a good one or a bad one or something else?

“…structural profile of the town...”

What is this, ‘structural profile’?. How different is our Cobourg structural profile compared to Port Hope’s structural profile?

20 June 2018 8:46 am

Funny when the Chinese Developer wanted to do this the town said No
now we have a Couple of Good Old Cobourg families / Boys and the game is on .
I will even bet it resembles the previous proposal but without consideration of the previously required street widening of McGill
Hope its in Keeping with the Heritage guide lines

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  perplexed
20 June 2018 10:27 am

Racism, cronyism and conspiracy!
A perp trifecta!
And I forgot plagiarism.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
20 June 2018 10:35 am

“Cronyism”… ironic …

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
28 July 2018 9:04 am

You Will See Time will tell & reveal all . Just wait for it !

You know you really need to get out more to where its happening
ask questions on the street You might be surprised at what you find out.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
17 September 2018 11:47 am

You forgot “phobia” as well …slipping !

Sam Westcott
Reply to  perplexed
6 July 2018 9:00 pm

Who are the Good old Cobourg families?

Walter L. Luedtke
20 June 2018 8:30 am

Cobourg’s superior quality of life will continue to attract GTA ex-pats.
Condos in the Downtown, rather than ‘suburban sprawl’ with its nigh unaffordable demand for services, are the way to go.
Densification and Downtown vitalization go hand-in-hand.
Well done Council and Staff.
Proud to live in Cobourg.

Stan G
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
20 June 2018 10:42 am

Well put. This echoes my sentiments exactly. Increasing the downtown population is key for downtown vitalization, and key to encourage a vibrant community. Build up, not out.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
21 June 2018 8:59 am

Right on…just have a look at Willowdale from Yonge & Sheppard up to Steeles Ave…what a mess.

Toronto is the worst congested city in NA according to a new report today…better to spread out and breath a bit. That’s why people move to Cobourg from Metro TO.

Old Sailor
20 June 2018 8:19 am

Wondering why the 36 Queen Street parking lot pictured above is also being sold. What is it going to become? It’s loss will certainly hurt the Post Office business and retailers on King Street.

On the one hand Council wants to ram us with more and more waterfront visitors who rarely venture down King Street to spend money – per the store owners. And then the town sells easily accessible well used downtown parking lots. Who is steering our ship? Developers?

Fact Checker
Reply to  Old Sailor
20 June 2018 8:49 am

Perhaps you should read John’s article again. I believe that it clearly states that a 65 unit condo will be built on the combined properties. As for parking, the development will include 64 “green P” public parking spots. How is this not better than that ugly white eye-sore currently at 22 Queen. Note that the Town has put in some safe-guards in the deal to help encourage the development to move forward. There are penalties provided if construction doesn’t start within two years of the project’s final approval. This should help prevent yet another development with a sign announcing “condo coming here soon” and then nothing happens.

Old Sailor
Reply to  Fact Checker
20 June 2018 10:19 am

I still don’t like exchanging a downtown surface parking lot which is well used by local taxpayers for an underground lot which only visitors to the condo and GTA folks flooding the free waterfront on the weekend will use. Hard to imagine Cobourg residents using an underground lot that is twice the normal town rate.

Is this part of an overall Town Plan which has been vetted with taxpayers like the Waterfront Plan. Or is this just a quick number crunching score for Council?

Reply to  Old Sailor
20 June 2018 11:43 am

Every parking lot downtown should be a garage or underground. Surface parking lots are an extremely poor use of land and ugly to boot.

Reply to  Durka
20 June 2018 2:55 pm

There is ample unused downtown land occupied by ugly and vacant storefronts.

Reply to  Durka
20 June 2018 5:28 pm

Nice thought but underground parking may be problematic considering the lake in relation to the ground level of most of downtown Cobourg.

Reply to  Dubious
21 June 2018 11:30 pm

And what about the waterfront development on Queens Quay in Toronto with multiple levels of underground parking, well below water level….sheesh, it’s called engineering

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Old Sailor
20 June 2018 2:03 pm

The CAO and staff steer the ship…without doubt …..
No mystery there ….

Reply to  Bill Thompson
21 June 2018 11:35 pm

Read the report and blog post above Bill — Council has been part of this process for over a year — your bias against staff very repetitive and tiring

Reply to  Stewey
22 June 2018 7:46 am

I find Bill’s comments unbiased, consistent and refreshing. He certainly has experience dealing with the ever increasing bureaucracy of the Town.

20 June 2018 5:10 am

Do we really need more condos? It’s true that the more we build, the faster they’re filled but do we want to continue to provide apartments for retirees or commuters when there’s a housing shortage in the area. Perhaps the Council should be encouraging developers to build substantial, beautiful, affordable housing for Cobourg families who are being priced out of decent housing in the town they grew up in.

19 June 2018 8:14 pm

Here we go! Before you know it, developers will change the landscape of this town, just like they have in many communities across the greater horseshoe area. Greed prevails.

Reply to  Susie-Q
19 June 2018 8:45 pm

We’re talking about an abandoned, dilapidated building and a parking lot…thank god for the developers quite frankly.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Susie-Q
19 June 2018 10:00 pm

And your proposal is to do what with these properties?

Reply to  Fact Checker
21 June 2018 9:31 pm

Well, if condominiums are going to be built, don’t you think that it is more important to build affordable units given the affordability issues many people are facing these days? When you add property taxes and maintenance fees to the asking price, it is far from being an affordable property for most. Unfortunately, most developers don’t focus on this and really just care about the almighty $$$$. In addition, municipalities love all the extra tax money generated by the condo market. I would also be concerned about the height of the proposed building. I believe that condos cannot go beyond 5 or 6 floors in Cobourg, hopefully that won’t be changed anytime soon. Have you checked out the skyline of Toronto and the GTA lately? The landscape of any community can be changed quickly and once it does, there’s no turning back. If condos are going to be built, at least ensure that they are more affordable.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Susie-Q
20 June 2018 7:28 am

Developers rule with help of council’s ineptitude and OMB rubber stamp on developer’s appeal.
Area re- zoning changes ..height/ number of stories now “flexible”.in battery hen style condos.

Toronto/Vancouver to name only a couple etc. = Canada’s Hong Kong (s) and ongoing ….It’s the future sadly.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Susie-Q
17 September 2018 11:58 am

Perhaps that’s why the multiple experts (consultants) hired by the town refer to Cobourg as a city not town during their public presentations.
Do they know something that we don’t ?

19 June 2018 7:41 pm

Another back room deal hatched by our elected representatives dedicated to transparency (sarcasm). This will be voted on by the sycophants who will say nothing as they raise their arms in alleigance to the staff report. Another death knell of openness.

Reply to  democrat
21 June 2018 11:46 pm

Confidentiality is a normal part of any early discussions regarding a real estate transaction until the details are “hatched”, which is where this process is now — and it is now being fully disclosed. Anything otherwise could be considered prejudicial to the process and premature.

19 June 2018 2:43 pm

Wasn’t this land supposed to be developed a few years back? I remember the owners of the Oasis raising a big stink because it would block their patio. What happened with that?

Anyways sounds like a win-win, prime land like this should NEVER be a surface parking lot, the building being torn down is a an eyesore and the more people we can get living downtown the better.