The lands known by some as the “Volvo graveyard” could one day be home to some more lively tenants.
On Tuesday evening, city council officially received an application to build an eight-storey, 88-unit apartment building at 1354 Gordon St., which is located on the street’s southeast corner with Arkell Road.
The property is probably best known as the home of Hamilton’s Corner Garage, which closed in 2016 after operating as a family-owned mechanic for several decades.
And as pointed out to council, the history of the property goes back to the 19th century, having been at one time or another a farm, tavern, lawn and garden supply store, and a home.
Robert Walters from Weston Consulting, speaking on behalf of the developer, said the plan for the site’s residential future is for the units to be rentals.
Following a question from Coun. Dominique O’Rourke, Mike Bedrosian, also involved with the project, said there are also plans for affordable units on site.
Also on site is a planned gas station, which Walters said stemmed from “an election issue” around a lack of gas stations in the south end of Guelph.
“We’re certainly aware of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage electric vehicles, but we’re not there yet, and people drive gasoline cars,” he added.
Until last month’s opening of Mobil Gas on Clair Road East, there were no gas stations south of Kortright Road in the city.
With those extra vehicles, however, O’Rourke cited her concerns around growing traffic in the area.
“I’m really concerned about the cumulative impact of development, particularly at that corner, and also including the high school, which will draw about 1,200 people daily to the corner of Victoria and Arkell,” she said.
“I have concerns about the gas bar, and the ability for vehicles to get in and out there.”
What people do when they are not in their vehicles also drew some comments from councillors, as the developer is looking for a drastic reduction in common amenity space for the project — 189 square metres, or under 10 per cent of the 1,960 square metres that would normally be permitted under city bylaws for a development of this size.
“That’s just, to me, quite shocking to even ask for,” Coun. Cathy Downer said, adding the only nearby park is Preservation Park, which is predominately wetlands.
“I don’t see any other parks around there that are with within a very close area. So, to me, that’s just completely unacceptable.”
The application was received unanimously by council.