CIP Update and Plan for 2019

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday 11 March, staff will report on the results of the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2018 and the planned process for 2019.  As mentioned in the report, the CIP has been implemented since 2016 in response to a 2013 survey where Cobourg residents expressed concern about the “poor appearance of building exteriors, back lanes and parking lots”.  The Downtown Cobourg Vitalization CIP is a collection of 8 incentive programs providing grants or loans for some of the cost of improvements.  The cost to the Town consists of grant dollars, plus loan admin and interest costs, and when compared to the applicants’ contribution, this produces leverage ratios which were 3:1 in 2016,… Read complete articleCIP Update and Plan for 2019

House prices stay level – sort of

With interest rates rising, there has been a lot of talk that homes would be less affordable so prices would go down – but that has not happened, at least not yet.  Instead they are fairly steady in both Toronto and Cobourg.  In my last report in September, average house prices in August were around $480K and now they are nearer $430k although still higher than mid-year 2017.  But prices vary tremendously depending on location and other features.  The backlog (or to put it in realtor terms “inventory”) is larger which probably means some houses are not selling because they are overpriced – if a house is taking too long to sell, it seems to me that few people want… Read complete articleHouse prices stay level – sort of

Cobourg’s Downtown Restaurants

There are a lot of restaurants in Cobourg with a large concentration downtown. Today I walked along King street from Hibernia to Victoria Park and counted 18 restaurants although that did include some that would be better described as coffee shops. There are also at least another 6 nearby.  Some are new and some are up for sale – a new addition is the Taste of Agra, an Indian restaurant which occupies the space formerly used by the Golden Chopsticks which moved a few doors along.  I have listed them all below. The building housing the Matterhorn has now been listed for $899K with the statement that the restaurant is owner operated. I take this to mean that the current… Read complete articleCobourg’s Downtown Restaurants

House Prices Steady, New Development Approved

Since my last report in May, house prices in both Toronto and Cobourg have been steady although the Real Estate people will point out that prices in August 2018 were 19% higher than August 2017 (see chart below).  Inventory is below average but there is no frenzy happening like there was in the spring of 2017.  Listings and sales are relatively slow – sales are down 30% from this time last year. However, they are better than earlier in the year. In August, the average price in Toronto was $765k and the average in West Northumberland (mostly Cobourg) was $479K.  This is significantly up from 2 years ago when it was around $360K and way up from 9 years ago… Read complete articleHouse Prices Steady, New Development Approved

Major Upgrades Planned for Mall

On July 1, 2018, Timbercreek Assets Management took over ownership of Northumberland Mall – they then appointed Sandalwood to take over management.  New money, new senior management. This promises to completely change the future of the mall. Timbercreek is “well financed” and they want to put a significant investment into the mall. They are looking at all options which range from (as a minimum) a facelift with many overdue repairs being done, to possibly a complete revamp. They are currently reviewing the options and hope to start work on the chosen changes in January although the work would likely proceed in phases.  Mall Manager Paul Kiidumae, who now works for Sandalwood, told me about some of the options which would possibly mean… Read complete articleMajor Upgrades Planned for Mall

More CIP Grants and Loans Approved by Council

Surveys conducted as part of the Downtown Vitalization Study showed that citizens were critical of the state of repair and appearance of many Downtown buildings.  This is also no doubt one of the reasons that many of the apartments above stores remain unoccupied. To help address these issues, Council tonight approved the spending of $136,822 of the 2018 budget of $150,000 on Community Improvement Plan (C.I.P.) grants.  There were seven applications in the 2018 intake – of these, 6 were approved and one deferred pending completion of outstanding work.  Several of the applications indicated that they plan to make apartments available on the second and third floors of their properties.  Critics of Cobourg’s Downtown have said that the addition of… Read complete articleMore CIP Grants and Loans Approved by Council

New Window Wrap on King Street

Carol McCann, Chair of the Downtown Coalition, this morning “unveiled” a window wrap for another empty store. On June 27, the Town launched the “Start here program” to help attract businesses to Downtown so that they would occupy empty stores and together with the C.I.P. program, the Downtown Coalition hopes that Downtown, particularly King Street, will become more attractive and thriving. Carol feels that already we are getting more visitors from Toronto and the wraps certainly do improve the look of empty stores. She also said that the quality of Community Improvement Program applications is improving and that the size of the grants is increasing (see link below).  Carol reported progress to Council last March and expects to make another… Read complete articleNew Window Wrap on King Street

Downtown Real Estate Update – July 2018

With the sale of the old Curling building on Queen and the plans to build Condos there (see link below), I asked myself, what else is for sale in Downtown Cobourg?  Quite a number of buildings are on the market – many with tenants – so in that case, there may not be any visible change when they are sold.  In my survey, the first thing I noticed is that the building at 101 King West, which was the Milestone Boutique, has now changed hands: Milestone moved to Port Hope and a Port Hope business took their place in Cobourg.  The new business is Raw Animal Diet Inc. and they sell raw pet food which they believe is better for… Read complete articleDowntown Real Estate Update – July 2018