A sprawling, high-end housing development is coming to the site of the former Sherwood Forest elementary school in London.
The city sold the more than five-acre plot of land, at 7 Annadale Dr., in north London, to the Hampton Group, and approved an upscale housing development with eight large, single-family homes and 15 one-floor condominiums on 3.8 acres, with a park taking up the rest of the space.
“It should be a great project,” said Dave Tennant, partner in the Hampton Group.
“We did not want to pack them in there,” he said of the units. “If you look at the neighbourhood, it is low-density” housing.
The project is the latest development in London for a former school site, which have become more common in Ontario amid declining enrolment and school consolidations, often leaving prime locations in established residential neighbourhoods.
Construction should begin this summer, and the new homes may hit the market early in 2019, said Tennant.
It’s expected the homes, in the Wonderland and Gainsborough roads area, will have frontage of more than 60 feet and sell for more than $1 million, while the 15 one-floor condominiums will range in price from $650,000 to $750,000, Tennant said.
There will also be a 1.5-acre park on the site and the homes will front on the green space.
“I think it will be a nice look,. It will allow people to sit on their front porch and look into the park space,” said Tennant.
The sale and proposed development were approved at a recent city council meeting. The city bought the land in 2014 for $1.2 million, tearing down the school, and sold it to the Hampton Group for about $2.5 million.
“This development in particular shows this council’s commitment to the community. They turned a negative into a positive “ Michael Tomazincic, a city planner, said of the school closing,
“There’s been a lot of collaboration between the city and community. It is high-quality urban design.”
Hampton Group still has to get building permits and site-plan approval for the project.
When it bought the site, the city zoned it for low- and medium-density housing as a way of controlling what’s built in the area.
“Years ago people wanted nothing but a park on this site, but the city came up with a proposal people are happy about,” said Sandy Levin, of the Orchard Park Sherwood Forest Ratepayers Association.
“We are looking forward to working with Hampton Group.”
Sherwood Forest may be a sign of what is to come for the site of the closed-down Lorne Avenue public school, in east London.
The school closed in 2015 and was bought by the city.
Demolition work is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by September, at a cost of $1.3 million, according to a report on the website of Coun. Jesse Helmer, the area’s city council representative.
The city wants to build a park on the site and “residential infill,” according to the report.
The former Manor and Highland Park school, on Tecumseh Avenue, has also been redeveloped into a 22-unit affordable housing project on the grounds.
“It really is a precedent, the city is the facilitator for good development that matches the community,” said Coun. Phil Squire, who represents the Sherwood Forest area. “This is good for everybody.”
The city is developing a strategy in which it will consider buying closed schools to redevelop the properties.