Orillia seeking input for waterfront redevelopment

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Orillia’s waterfront redevelopment project has reached a major milestone with shortlisted proponents submitting their Request for Proposals (RFP) in a bid to purchase the municipally-owned lands for redevelopment.

A waterfront redevelopment virtual open house video, redevelopment concepts and online survey are available at orillia.ca/waterfront until April 18.

This round of public input follows more than a dozen community consultation opportunities on the project, including consultations undertaken through the Downtown Tomorrow Plan, the Centennial Drive Reconstruction Project, the Port of Orillia Area Public Realm Plan, the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan and site-specific Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment applications.

“The redevelopment of the strategically located property at 70 Front St. N. is a great opportunity to better connect our historic downtown with our beautiful waterfront and bring new residents and businesses to the core of the city,” said Mayor Steve Clarke.

“After years of feedback and public consultation about the future of Orillia’s downtown and waterfront, we are very excited to reach this milestone where the vision comes into focus.”

The RFP process will ensure the redevelopment “matches and further enhances the character of Orillia and meets the development principles as determined by previous public consultation.”

The City of Orillia released its RFP for approximately 8.6 acres of land adjacent to the waterfront for future redevelopment in December 2020. Two qualified proponents – FRAM Building Group and TPI Acquisitions (Tribal Partners), submitted proposals in response to the City’s RFP.

Proposals are being evaluated by the City of Orillia for both technical and financial submission requirements as defined in the RFP. Public feedback will further inform the evaluation of the proposals and final negotiations with the preferred proponent.

Also, a Waterfront Working Group established 12 development principles in 2019 by which the proposals will be scored as part of the proponent’s technical submission:

  1. Support the City’s Downtown Tomorrow Plan and vision
  2. Optimize financial return
  3. Demonstrate a sustainable “green” approach
  4. Enhance the resident and visitor experience
  5. Respond to surrounding built form
  6. Integrate within Orillia’s downtown and waterfront area
  7. Consider downtown food and grocery needs
  8. Consist of simple and timeless design
  9. Consist of a high-quality public realm
  10. Promote a safe, comfortable and inviting pedestrian environment
  11. Integration of parking
  12. Integration of servicing

“The 2022 realignment of Centennial Drive, the extension of Coldwater Street to open up the viewscape to the lake, and this exciting redevelopment project, will bring the vision of the Downtown Tomorrow Plan to life. As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am filled with hope to see the positive progress our city continues to experience despite these challenging times,” said Clarke.

The successful proponent who will redevelop the site will be announced following confidential real estate negotiations, by late summer 2021.