Briarwood Development Group planner Diarmuid Hogan speaks to residents about one of the two proposed designs for the corner of Davis Drive and Patterson Street at an open house hosted by the developer at the Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall. Feb. 5, 2019. - Teresa Latchford/Metroland
The Briarwood Development Group intends to make an offer to purchase Newmarket’s Hollingsworth lands.
The group hosted a public open house to unveil two proposed designs for the properties surrounding the Hollingsworth Arena on the corner of Davis Drive and Patterson Street. The designs feature two 15-storey condominium towers fronting onto Davis Drive with retail uses on the ground level, urban park and a public walk-through from the front of the development to the back. One of the design options include a 5,500 square-metre public park, community facility and senior’s residence that would require the purchase of the Hollingsworth property currently owned by the town.
“In a year we have had 20 to 25 iterations of these designs,” Briarwood Development Group’s Hugh Magennis said. “What we are trying to do with the project is bring something that works for everyone.”
The renderings of the park included a host of ideas including a water feature that doubles as an ice rink, walking paths, leisure green space, splash pad and would act as a community gathering place for all ages. As for the community facility, that would be up to the town to decide the specific use when the time came.
“We have not submitted a formal application to the town as of yet,” Magennis confirmed. “We wanted to reach out to the public and get some feedback before finalizing the proposed design.”
Magennis added that the proposals currently meet the town’s zoning bylaws and that Briarwood intends to tap into the density bonus allowances ranging from two to three times the floor space index (FSI).
After reviewing the proposal diagrams at the public open house, some residents had concerns while others were fully on board.
A number of residents were concerned about the height of the towers, density and additional traffic in an already congested area.
“I moved to Newmarket to get out of the city,” Frank James said. “Traffic getting off Patterson onto Davis is already a nightmare and this will just add to it.”
He fears adding more vehicle traffic to the intersection and pedestrian traffic, considering there is a proposed senior’s residence and an existing school nearby, it could become a very dangerous intersection for all.
“Newmarket is growing too fast and I feel like it just doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to support it,” he said. “Even with the widening of Davis traffic is still difficult.”
He also pointed out that other development projects, like 212 Davis Dr., stick out like a sore thumb due to the height of the towers.
However, Gianluca Rocco feels a development like this is exactly what Davis Drive needs.
“The plans fit with the area and the direction the town is going with intensification of the corridors,” he said. “Davis needs to be redeveloped.”
Density in this specific area would not only feed the transit system but it would also help young professionals or families enter the housing market and stay in Newmarket rather than moving elsewhere to find something they can afford, he said.