REON Development begins cleanup work at former Stelco Swansea Works siteDemolition and remediation work by REON Development Corporation began last week at the former Stelco Swansea Works brownfield property. The 12-acre site, in a section of Toronto known as the Village of Swansea, will subsequently be redeveloped as a showcase residential project.
Planning for the project included an extensive community consultation process with local residents, and City of Toronto staff, along with REON, to create a residential project designed to respond to the diverse needs of all the stakeholders. "This development shows what can be achieved when a developer agrees to work with the community and truly listens," said Toronto councillor David Miller, who facilitated the consultations. "This brownfield site will be transformed into an important addition to Swansea, while protecting many values - history, affordability, compatibility with the existing community - that residents of Swansea had expressed to REON," he added.
Toronto City Council approved the re-zoning and the amendment to the Official Plan required for REON to proceed with the project. It will include 130 townhouses and three tall, slender towers with about 720 condominium units. When completed, the development will provide a full range of amenities for the residents and will integrate with the existing Swansea community. Pre-construction marketing will commence early next year, with construction slated to begin in the fall of 2002.
"Redeveloping brownfield properties promotes smart growth," said REON chief operating officer John Davies. "Developing this property makes more efficient use of existing infrastructure like roads, sewers and public transit. Greater tax contribution is made to municipal government, and this approach provides an alternative to developing on greenfields and farmland."
REON negotiated an agreement with Stelco for the purchase and remediation of the plant site which closed in 1989 and has been vacant ever since. "The site is typical of brownfield sites," said REON CEO Robert Willes. "It is a property with a potential real estate use far beyond its former industrial use once re-zoning and municipal approvals are in place. REON was formed to integrate the skills in environmental remediation and commercial real estate development that are critical to the redevelopment of this kind of project."
The City of Toronto's "Toronto at the Crossroads" report, which outlined the general direction for future municipal planning, specifically cited the former Stelco Swansea Works as a brownfield site long overdue for redevelopment. REON's redevelopment of this site is seen as a model that can be followed in planning the restoration of many other brownfield properties, in the context of the Toronto Waterfront revitalization strategy.
More information is available from John Davies at 1-866-442-REON (7366); FAX 905/814-1728; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site www.reon.ca.