Residential Intensification Case Studies
These 23 case studies are successful examples of residential projects that have overcome the barriers to intensification. The examples illustrate the unique challenges and rewards of intensification and are generally considered to be successful by the developers, residents and municipal officials. For a summary of this research study, refer to our Socio-economic Research Highlight entitled Residential Intensification Case Studies: Built Projects.
Angus: Montréal, Quebec
Angus is a 50.6 ha (125-acre) site located in the Rosemont district of Montréal, just 5 km outside of the central downtown business district. Formerly housing the Canadian Pacific Railway Angus Shops, the redevelopment of this brownfield site includes a total of 1,200 housing units in the form of townhouses, condominium apartments, and seniors' apartments. The project also includes a large grocery store and other shopping opportunities in a commercial district, as well as a significant portion of land set aside for light-industrial purposes. Incorporated among the housing are small parks and grassy areas for recreation and the soon-to-be completed Jean Duceppe Park will provide a larger park space within walking distance for all Angus residents.
Bishop's Landing: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Bishop's Landing is a 206-unit, mixed-use project on the historic Halifax waterfront. A collaboration between Southwest Properties and the Nova Scotia government's Waterfront Development Corporation, the project features a range of apartment-style units, a number of specialty retail shops and a substantial public waterfront park and boardwalk. As the first major redevelopment of the Halifax waterfront, the project received a lot of public scrutiny and required negotiations with three levels of government. A high quality design that considers adjacent heritage properties was encouraged by detailed planning policies and guidelines.
Convoy Quay Gardens: Bedford, Nova Scotia
Convoy Quay Gardens is two, nine-storey condominium towers and is part of the Bedford Waterfront Redevelopment Project. The land is a part of the Bedford Basin, which was reclaimed by dredging silt from the Sackville River, moving it to the water's edge and then filling and capping it to create the development parcel and surrounding community.
Couvent de Saint-Henri Housing Co-op: Montréal, Quebec
Couvent de Saint-Henri Housing Co-op contains 48 affordable rental units in a four-storey apartment building that has been converted from a school. The project is in a mixed-use neighbourhood with some industrial and residential uses. There were significant site-contamination issues, including asbestos in the building and hydrocarbon and heavy metals in the soil. Funds from the province of Quebec and a grant from the municipality made the project possible.
Cranberry Commons: Burnaby, B.C.
Cranberry Commons is a 22-unit co-housing development in Burnaby, B.C. It is in an established neighbourhood that supported the project. Residents enjoy the many innovative features, many of which posed challenges, including some regulatory issues like parking requirements.
Fifth Street Lofts: Edmonton, Alberta
Five Oaks Inc. has converted a building used in the 1960s by a clothing manufacturer and in the 1990s as a nightclub into the Fifth Street Lofts, an affordable housing project of 39 loft-style condominiums.
Garrison Woods: Calgary, Alberta
Garrison Woods, the redevelopment of the eastern part of the former Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in Calgary, is made up of 1,600 residential units including new townhouses, new single-family homes, new three- and four-storey apartments, refurbished single- and semi-detached former military housing units, and new single-detached infill homes among the refurbished units. Secondary suites (mortgage helpers) are included above garages on some of the lanes. Many of the former military buildings have been reused for community amenities. Developed by Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation, this "new-urbanist" project challenges conventional standards of the City's engineers with rear lanes, customized road standards, mixed uses and a mix of densities to achieve an overall gross density of almost 25 units per hectare-high for a new subdivision.
Gower Gardens: Gibsons, B.C
Gower Gardens is a mixed-use development in a small community. The development combined 11 condominium units, new commercial office space and an existing grocery store. The building required some flexibility in height and density from the municipality. There was considerable public debate about preserving views from overlooking properties, which the developer responded to with a plan that gained community support.
Harmony: Toronto, Ontario
Harmony is a 242-unit, suburban, condominium townhouse development on a vacant site with significant challenges, including adjacent hydro towers. The design is based on neo-traditional development principles with a pedestrian-friendly street frontage and garages located in rear lanes. The units are narrow -4 m (13 ft., 2 in.)- which allowed a very high density for a townhouse development (50 uph gross density).
Koo's Corner: Vancouver, B.C.
Koo's Corner is a six-unit, row townhouse project in the historic neighbourhood of Strathcona. The project combines retention and conversion of an existing commercial building with thoughtful new construction, while acknowledging the local context. It achieved a high density for ground-oriented housing (106 uph) while maintaining a very livable feel that complements the existing neighbourhood. The result resonated well with residents, neighbours and City planners.
Les Lofts du Pont: Montréal, Quebec
Les Lofts du Pont is a seven-unit townhouse project near downtown Montréal, which was constructed to face onto a laneway. Les Lofts provides each resident with a yard and three floors of living space. The top floors are designed in a loft-style, with large southwest- facing windows to take full advantage of natural light. Les Lofts du Pont is part of the redevelopment and rebuilding of the south-centre district of Montréal.
Les Lofts Laliberté: Québec , Quebec
Les Lofts Laliberté is a 51-unit rental apartment project resulting from a partnership between the owners of Laliberté store and Québec City. These partners have managed to salvage a much-loved heritage building by converting part of a well-established store to offices and loft apartments while retaining the primary function of the site as a department store. The project reflects the desire of the City and the developer (who is also the store owner) to revitalize the St. Roch area of the city, an old retail district where Laliberté has operated a store since 1867. The project is a thoughtful combination of uses that brings the graceful character of the building back to life.
London Lane: Guelph, Ontario
London Lane is a 105-unit townhouse project in an old suburban area of Guelph that also includes 22 semi-detached homes. The project was developed on a brownfield industrial site, formerly operated by Pirelli Cable, and required significant site remediation before construction.
Parkside Mews: Ottawa, Ontario
Parkside Mews is a residential infill project of 31 freehold townhouse units, six condo apartments and eight small commercial units with residential units behind them. The commercial units are specifically designed for specialty shopkeepers to own and live behind. The developer successfully addressed a number of planning goals, including heritage restoration, mixed-use, mixed housing types and revitalizing a main street. Consequently, the neighbourhood supported the project and residents enjoy the character of the development.
Portland Park Village: Toronto, Ontario
Portland Park Village is a residential infill project in downtown Toronto, just outside the current Waterfront revitalization area. A combination of stacked townhouses and a large apartment condominium, Portland Park adds 193 housing units to a site previously used as a parking lot. While the project is only blocks from the SkyDome and a host of downtown amenities, the development creates relief from the bustle of urban living with an attractive courtyard, patios for the townhouses and balconies and terraces in the condominium.
Salsbury Heights: Vancouver, B.C.
Salsbury Heights is a heritage revitalization and infill project that includes six apartments in an existing, municipally designated heritage house, two new single-detached infill houses and eight new infill townhouses, four of which front onto a lane. The project was approved by the City of Vancouver through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement that allowed the developer additional density in return for saving the heritage building and features. Objections from neighbours caused time delays, and the exacting, heritage retention and restoration work was more time-consuming and expensive than anticipated. However, the project has proved to be a valuable addition to the neighbourhood.
Seagram Lofts: Waterloo, Ontario
Seagram Lofts is adaptive reuse of a brownfield site, which created residential property in the heart of Waterloo's downtown core from two, heritage, whisky-barrel warehouses. As part of downtown Waterloo's revitalization, the project was the subject of much public interest. The project created 103 loft-style condominium units with high ceilings and large windows. Complementing these features are original brick walls and barrel-wood, evoking the old warehouse feel.
Sterling Place: London, Ontario
Sterling Place is a heritage, adaptive reuse project in downtown London, Ont. It transformed an old vacant shoe factory and warehouse, built in 1901, into high-density rental housing with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The 32 units range from 22 to 66 m² (240 to 710 sq. ft.) Every apartment has vaulted ceilings and exposed ventilation ducts, which recreate the warehouse feel of the building's past. The developer received financial assistance from the City of London through restoration grant and loan programs, which helped revitalize the deteriorating heritage building and add new housing to London's core district.
The Carlings at Arbutus Walk: Vancouver, B.C.
The Carlings was the first of six projects to be finished within Concert's Arbutus Walk neighbourhood, which itself is part of the larger Arbutus Lands Industrial Area. The 2.4 ha (6 acre) site is in Vancouver's desirable Kitsilano neighbourhood, close to the downtown business core, UBC, local beaches, cafés and shopping. Built partly on the former industrial site of a Carling O'Keefe (later Molson) brewery, Arbutus Walk is now a vibrant residential neighbourhood. The Carlings consists of two, four-storey, multi-family buildings designed with an urban, brownstone look.
The Prince Edward: Moncton, N.B.
Formerly the Prince Edward School, this 1920s landmark building has been transformed into 18, one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. The developer retained the original heritage features of the building, including many interior features like hardwood floors, exposed brick and 12-foot ceilings.
The Renaissance at North Hill: Calgary, Alberta
The Renaissance at North Hill is a 176-unit project in two, 10-storey towers. Developed on the former parking lot of the North Hill Shopping Centre, the project boasts excellent access to shopping and other surrounding amenities. This is an example of suburban greyfield redevelopment.
Waterford Suites: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Waterford Suites is a 77-unit rental project with 10 street-fronting, stacked townhouse units and 67 apartments. The project is centrally located near the historic downtown core of Halifax and is close to an active waterfront and a wide range of amenities.
Western Elevator Lofts: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Western Elevator Lofts is a six-unit, loft style conversion of an historic warehouse building in a formerly industrial-commercial district of Winnipeg. Commercial units of 279 m² (3,000 sq. ft.) on the main floor and basement will be retained. The project received substantial support in the form of a heritage grant from the City, as well as a heritage tax credit and gap financing from the City's development corporation, CentreVenture. The project is one of the first of its kind in Winnipeg and filled an unexplored niche in the Winnipeg housing market. It proved very popular, selling out within three months.