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11-floor apartment tower proposed for shopping centre

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Troy Shantz

A local development company wants to build an 11-storey apartment tower with ground-floor space for stores in Sarnia’s commercial district.

Sarnia-based Elison Developments Inc. will seek approval from city council on March 23 to allow a 133-unit tower at 1249 London Rd.

The building is proposed for the east side of the London Road Shopping Centre, about where Goodwill Industries and Jack Doyle’s restaurant once stood.

To proceed, the city must agree to a land severance and amend the Official Plan designation from “commercial centre” to “mixed use.”

Access to the apartment building would be off Afton Drive. Surrounded by restaurants and grocery stores, the units will be ideal for tenants who like to walk or cycle, said Kelly Vader, a planning coordinator working with Elison.

“Rather than have these huge parking lots, what they’re trying to do is mix some of the residential uses right into the commercial uses, so that residents are right in the area they need to do their shopping,” said Vader, of B. M. Ross & Associates Ltd.

Artist concept showing an 11-storey residential and commercial building proposed for the London Road Shopping Centre, which would have access off Afton Drive.
Image courtesy, Elison Developments Inc.

The proposal calls for 1,000 square feet (92.9 square metres) of commercial-retail space on the ground floor, designed to blend in with the Giant Tiger, Tepperman’s and Crabby Joe’s restaurant, Vader said.

With the Howard Watson Nature Trail nearby, the one-bedroom and two-bedroom units will come with extensive and lockable storage for bicycles and be geared to retirees, students and working singles, she added.

“It’s new to Sarnia, but it’s not new to other bigger urban centres. It’s a trend that’s coming down,” she said, suggesting the shift is fueled in part by increased online shopping.

Since acquiring the former Zellers plaza, Elison has worked with Lucror Property Investments to build the new Giant Tiger, Twisted Arm restaurant, Coffee Lodge and Tepperman’s store.

Residents who oppose the rezoning application and wish to speak at the 4 p.m. council meeting should contact the city clerk’s office by Wednesday, March 18.

Others in attendance will be given an opportunity to address council, the city said.

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