Second Street Development on hold

In 2017, when there was a lot of talk about vitalizing the downtown, it was proposed to spend $1.5M on a multi purpose square behind Victoria Hall.  Around the same time, a developer wanted to build “Live and Work” Condos on the “Quigley” lot across the road at 202 Second Street.  However, the square depended on Provincial or Federal money which was not forthcoming so it was put on hold. Then the Farmers’ Market moved across Albert Street to Rotary Park and the Condos were shelved (more details on these below). The owner tried to sell the lot for more than $2M and meanwhile the empty lot was leased to the Town on a month to month basis for $2500 a month.  The lot currently provides 184 parking spaces and is an important downtown parking area.

Background

Quigley Development June 2014
Quigley Development June 2014

In late 2003, the Hardware store known as “Quigleys” was closed and demolished.  In 2014, the new owner had an architect develop plans to build Townhomes there and these were approved and included spaces for stores on the ground floor.  These would have faced Second Street and perhaps Albert Street.  The architect is still displaying the design on his web site here and the developer’s website is still online. I heard that only one Condo was sold so the developer gave up.  Meanwhile, the owner leased the lot to the Town on a month to month basis and actively tried to sell the land complete with approved development plans.

Over the last 10 years, ideas for vitalizing the Town included turning the space behind Victoria Hall into a multi-purpose space that would be a new town square.  It would have a “Business Mode which accommodates parking and all modes of traffic, a Market Mode which is designed to create an attractive market space for the farmers’ market and an Event Mode where multiple events and performances can be held.” 

Second Street 11 July 2018
Second Street 11 July 2018

Dubbed “Victoria Square” it had an estimated cost of $1.5M. (See Link below for more).  Council decided that it would only be viable if at least $1M in funding could be raised from Provincial or Federal funding.  Despite promoting the idea as a celebration of Canada’s 15oth birthday, so far that has not happened.  This upgrade would no doubt have made the Condos facing the square more attractive.

When it was apparent that this project was not happening any time soon, the Farmer’s market obtained approval to move across the road to Rotary Park – except for the weekend of the Waterfront Festival.  This happened in May 2018 – see link below.  This removes the need for one of the Victoria Square modes so I’d guess the Victoria Square idea is dead – at least in its current form.

Update

In September 2020, the owner of the land at 202 Second Street asked the Town for a longer term arrangement and Council authorised negotiations for a lease.  At the next Committee of the Whole meeting on December 7, Council will be asked to approve a new 2 year lease at a rate of $3500 per month.  There’s no mention of an option to renew.  So there won’t be any building on that site for at least two years.  Maybe in two years they will want to build and that would likely cause a Parking problem in downtown Cobourg.

Links

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Douglas
6 December 2020 4:45 pm

How do you know there are 184 parking spots when the lot is a collection of mud puddles?
The town should pursue a long term lease. Pave the lot with proper markings. Put in some modest landscaping and meter the lot. Encourage weekend beach goers and harbour visitors to park and pay. It’s close to downtown so maybe they’ll patronize King Street once they’ve committed to park. All that happens now is that they clog residential streets that are nowhere close to downtown. Eventually the lot across from the Post Office will be closed for development. The town should address this beach parking situation sooner than later and forget about developer pipe dreams.

Ahewsonator
Reply to  Douglas
6 December 2020 5:02 pm

Parking lots are a terrible use of land and are always going to look like a blight. Downtown Cobourg, Victoria Hall and surroundings, deserve better.

Parking can be handled by a parking structure on Covert St. It’s tucked away and properly situated.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  Ahewsonator
6 December 2020 6:24 pm

There is parking on Covert Street, well utilized and often full if not close to full. Add this to it and there will be a shortage of parking.

Of course your suggestion of an ugly many tiered “parking structure” in the centre of downtown complete with fumes will certainly add to the ambience.

Sorry for the sarcasm Kevin but I think that is a terrible idea!

Last edited 1 month ago by Liz Taylor
JimT
Reply to  Liz Taylor
6 December 2020 9:53 pm

Anything that blocks the view of that ugly, decrepit, disheveled, chaotic backside of the north side of King St. has to be an improvement.
Anything!
Especially if properly designed and landscaped.

Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Liz Taylor
Reply to  JimT
7 December 2020 6:11 am

Truck delivery enabled me to see the backs of many places Jim – Cobourg is not bad at all in comparison. The parking structure – these places are great for muggings, car vandalism and break ins. The Harbour repair will be taking a great financial chunk. In the coming years municipalities will wish to be frugal. Unless there is an event which have all been cancelled parking is ample in Cobourg. For all those reasons I am against a parking structure.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  JimT
7 December 2020 8:09 am

Anything that blocks the view of that ugly, decrepit, disheveled, chaotic backside of the north side of King St. has to be an improvement.

Anything!

Enforcement of existing property standards bylaws would be far cheaper than building a parking garage!

ben burd
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 8:24 am

Again we come back to the lack of institutional memory on this site, but what can we expect when most of the posters have come from away! The Covert St. parking mess has been a topic of Council discussions for many years. In 1986 Cllr Nick Marrocco and another Cllr, who shall remain unnamed, commissioned a study for a parking garage. It was received and immediately shelved because it would have needed a parking fee of $1.25 to pay for it. But the main reason for the shelving was that the then DBIA did not like the idea of losing the parking for the yearlong construction, notwithstanding that the structure construction and reduced parking could coexist. The discussions that took place in the “Walmart” controversy encouraged local Heritage buff and architect – Keith Oliver – to produce a serious idea that would have placed Walmart downtown with an innovative design incorporating the backs of the stores. So don’t tell me that just because you can’t think of anything beyond the status quo that innovation doesn’t exist. Besides who said parking structures have to be ugly. Two great designs come to mind – the Byward Market garage in Ottawa and the… Read more »

Liz Taylor
Reply to  ben burd
7 December 2020 12:41 pm

Ben – people from all over comment on this site – if you wish to add to their knowledge great – otherwise I sarcasm might have been better rather than stating anyone “from away” the east coast expression, hasn’t had a good idea to contribute and perhaps you would prefer no one moved to Cobourg to become part of the community.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 1:13 pm

“…parking structure” in the centre of downtown complete with fumes will certainly add to the ambience.

You are driving into the future with eyes fixed on the rear view mirror. The future belongs to fumeless electric vehicles which will add to a much cleaner ambiance.

Are you revealing that Ahewsonator is Kevin?

Last edited 1 month ago by Wally Keeler
Liz Taylor
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 December 2020 1:29 pm

My error – must have Kevin on my mind Wally. I’ll ensure to re-read my posts as I often edit after posting for spelling and content.

There are many things Cobourg urgently needs Wally – I don’t see this as one of them. Since it was proposed 10 years ago it would have been a long time and still is before electric cars are widely in use. The cost of such a structure is prohibitive. Since you are a long time resident Wally exactly where was it they were going to put the Walmart downtown?

Last edited 1 month ago by Liz Taylor
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 1:38 pm

Liz Taylor Reply to Ahewsonator  6 December 2020 6:24 pm

Sorry for the sarcasm Kevin but I think that is a terrible idea!

Electric cars are right now. Their use will increase while fumes will decrease. Design for the future not the past.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 December 2020 1:40 pm

I acknowledged my error Wally.

Again I edit to ask you again where was the Walmart proposed for downtown?

Last edited 1 month ago by Liz Taylor
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 1:58 pm

ben burd Reply to Liz Taylor 7 December 2020 8:24 am
“The discussions that took place in the “Walmart” controversy encouraged local Heritage buff and architect – Keith Oliver – to produce a serious idea that would have placed Walmart downtown with an innovative design incorporating the backs of the stores.

Ben Burd brought the Walmart downtown issue directly to you. Why did you not press ‘Reply’ to his comment and ask your question of him instead of scolding him? I do not know and never knew where Walmart was proposed for downtown.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wally Keeler
Liz Taylor
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 December 2020 2:17 pm

I asked you Wally as you obviously were on the blog, a long time resident and I hoped you would be kind enough to let me know. I have found where it was proposed for by asking a friendly welcoming neighbour just dropped in – who holds a very prominent position here in Cobourg Wally with great knowledge of Cobourg’s history.

ben burd
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 3:58 pm

It was never proposed for downtown by the developers but various people who objected to the planning travesty that was going to happen if the “business park” at Strathy was going to be rezoned for Walmart tried to be constructive and effect a compromise\ – attract Walmart downtown to revitalise it and accept into the community.

Liz Taylor
Reply to  ben burd
7 December 2020 4:47 pm

Thank you for your reply Ben. Apparently Walmart has been welcomed into the community with open arms – must be the busiest place in Cobourg. I can’t see it at the original site that was thought of – Shoppers’ Drug Mart and Mr. Sub – no parking and a much smaller store. Unlikely even a parking garage would have handled all the cars I see in Walmart’s lot today.

Mark
Reply to  Liz Taylor
7 December 2020 7:10 pm

Tillsonburg has a Walmart downtown
https://tillsonburgtowncentre.com/stores/

JimT
Reply to  Liz Taylor
8 December 2020 12:47 am

One of the big problems with that site for any proposed structure: a river runs through it. Or under it, diagonally, apparently. Nothing could be built below surface.
That may be the ultimate deal-breaker.

Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Liz taylor
Reply to  JimT
10 December 2020 10:52 pm

Interesting Jim – then why are people saying it or something like it should be built now since it was proved an impossible pipe dream?

Bryan
Reply to  Liz taylor
10 December 2020 11:31 pm

JimT & Liz

While a covered stream certainly makes building a structure there more difficult, it is not impossible. It just needs the right design and $$$$$$.
Should the Town build it?
How much should the Town be willing to spend?
Is there a business case that shows that such a project is financially viable?.
The Town could sell the property to a developer and stipulate that the structure have some number (??) of public pay parking spots.

I don’t think that the Town has seriously looked into such a project. If they have, they may well have determined it was not a good project for the Town.

Liz taylor
Reply to  Ahewsonator
10 December 2020 10:55 pm

Please see Jim T.’s response below Ahewsonator on why it wasn’t built previously.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Douglas
7 December 2020 8:36 am

Go to Huntsville ,Brace Bridge , Collingwood , Port Perry If you want to see how nice , functional and accessible the back to the stores can be ,
No more double parked delivery trucks for 30 Min stints on King or Division st.
The upper apartments have playgrounds , dog parks , BBQ picnic area and there is great parking .
Paying a higher rent on the Quigley site does 2 things 1 – allows the Town more time to not make decisions , 2 – allows the owner to cover his over head and taxes on that site without having to
sell or do something to improve the area or sell at a more reasonable price. This is the same Owner that was Building a Hotel when Mr Delanty was Mayor 10 yrs ago or is it longer

Liz Taylor
Reply to  Sandpiper
7 December 2020 12:13 pm

Ben/Sandpiper I said I had been to many places in delivery – Toronto, Hamilton, Lindsay, Peterborough, London and all over the U.S.A. – also to Ben Burd – I may “come from away” but with that I have seen many back area delivery sites and the location on King certainly is very far from taking the cake for ugly. Note Huntsville, Bracebridge and Collingwood would certainly beat us for tourist revenue as well as Ottawa’s Byward Market. It takes quite a bit of money to build a glorious parking garage complete with apartments and playgrounds I guess Council decided not to spend the money on this – strange the uproar since there are so many complaints they spend too much money.

I’m glad it wasn’t built – can you imagine what they would charge today for parking? Now if you go to Walmart or downtown parking is free.

Last edited 1 month ago by Liz Taylor
Sandpiper
Reply to  Douglas
8 December 2020 7:26 am

The Town tells us there is 184 Parking spaces
but I doubt there is 100 at the present time due to the lay out and condition
you are correct

GailR
6 December 2020 1:30 pm

Why the $1000 increase in rent?

Liz Taylor
Reply to  GailR
6 December 2020 2:09 pm

The same answer Gail as to why residential rentals have gone through the roof.