In a previous posted titled “Collingwood’s Waterfront Is About To Change” I covered two new condominium projects one of which is currently under construction Harbourhouse, that are going to effectively change Collingwood’s waterfront.

The lands that were formerly home to Collingwood’s shipbuilding yards are being transformed largely into residential condominiums some of which as shown in the photo below were built a number of years ago.

Former Shipyard Lands

The remaining lands have essentially stayed vacant which in my opinion is unfortunate.  As I previously mentioned, people are naturally drawn to the water.  This attraction is something that both residents and visitors alike can enjoy.  Perhaps more importantly, having a vibrant waterfront area with not just residences but with shops, restaurants and other attractions would serve as a strong economic driver for the community creating both revenue and jobs.  Vacant land sitting idle serves no one and at the end of the day is more of an eyesore than an asset.

Vacant Shipyards Property

In addition to the Harbourhouse project that is currently under construction at the corner of Huron Street and Heritage Drive, I mentioned in my prior post that another multi-storey condominium building is proposed for the piece of greenspace land jutting out into the harbour to the far right in the above photo to be known as Collingwood Quay.

Collingwood Quay

This new project is being undertaken by FRAM + Slokker who was the first developer to start redevelopment of the former shipyard’s lands a number of years ago.  A visit to the “About” section of their website provides the following quote which gives some insight into what their stated business purpose is:

“FRAM Building Group and Slokker Real Estate Group have joined forces to collaborate in developing future-forward communities that will empower all the ways today’s global citizens live, work and play. With a profound respect for the past and both eyes on tomorrow, our goal is to take community living to bold, new horizons.”

Recently a group of us at Sotheby’s International Realty had the opportunity to meet with the developer’s marketing and sales representative who shared some preliminary drawings and gave us some further information as to what they intend to build.  Essentially Collingwood Quay will be another 6 storey building similar to Harbourhouse which is currently under construction.  The preliminary plans call for 100 residential units all of which will be 2 bedroom or 2 bedroom plus den floor plans from 700 to roughly 1,000 square feet.  Prices will range from $700,000 to $1 million, note however all of this could be subject to change.

Collingwood Quay

During our meeting and with our knowledge of the local real estate market, the developer’s representative sought our opinions as to what they are proposing.  The following is a summary of what we discussed.

Each unit will come with only one (1) deeded parking space in the underground garage.  As one might expect having underground parking abutting the water is both a challenging and costly endeavour.  Depending on the size, underground parking garages beneath a building of this type can cost upwards of $10 million per level.  Having only one (1) parking space per unit may pose a challenge for buyers with two vehicles that are looking to buy a unit for full time occupancy.

As the plans currently exist, there will be a limited amount of retail space.  The building with the yellow roof in the photo above is intended to be a potential restaurant location.  In my opinion, Collingwood is in dire need of some waterfront dining, a place for a coffee or drink with a patio.  In addition, just two additional commercial units are proposed in the bottom corner of the building to the immediate left of the restaurant.  Frankly I would like to see more commercial space in close proximity to the water for shops, small bistros etc.  Otherwise, it becomes a waterfront location where you can walk but otherwise there is not a lot to see or do.  That being said if there was more of a commercial draw it raises thr question, where do visitors park as space is in limited supply both above and below ground.

Perhaps I am wrong but a ground floor residential condo in a location such as this lacks a certain amount of appeal with some buyers, and I made my thoughts known.  Your view of the water and harbour at ground level will be limited at best, there is a lack of privacy and security can be an issue especially for units that are not occupied full time.  Ideally a nice promenade with some interesting shops and eateries with patios would be advantageous and would fill the void that currently exists in the community.

At the end of the day, it’s nice to see something happen with this land which has sat vacant far too long.  FRAM + Slokker is a worthy and credible developer with a good track record, and I commend them for the work they do.  No one is better suited to undertake the task of transforming the remaining unused land on Collingwood’s waterfront into something attractive and useful.  Admittedly I would like to see more done that would really take advantage of the waterfront location and the economic benefit it could provide to the town overall.  At the same time, I recognize the space limitations that exist for parking etc. and you can’t simply start to fill in the harbour in order to make more land.  In terms of land use, those of us in the real estate profession know firsthand that when it comes to evaluating the potential for developing a property it is always a matter of determining its “highest and best use” and the plans for Collingwood Quay appear to do have done that.

Collingwood Terminals

With the Collingwood Shipyards having closed in 1986, it’s nice to see something finally getting done to fill this empty space.  Hopefully future plans for the Collingwood Terminals property pictured above will also further serve to enhance Collingwood’s waterfront and overall appeal.  Better waterfront access and amenities offering residents and visitors alike a place to walk and enjoy gives us all something to look forward to enjoying in the future.