The 55-year-old Frontenac Mall in Kingston is about to undergo a major transformation that would involve converting most of the sprawling commercial properties at 1300 Bath Rd. Into residential apartments. Several long-standing companies will be forced to leave.
The owners of the plaza, Bayfield Realty Advisors and Patry Inc. Developments, are proposing to demolish sections of the closed, one-story mall in three phases over the next 25 years to make way for six apartment towers, ranging from six to 20 floors, creating a total of nearly 1,700 housing units, according to documents submitted to the town hall.
Like many urban malls built in the 1960s and 1970s, the mall had plenty of land to work on. The 9.4 hectare property is bordered by Bath Road to the south, Centennial Drive to the west, a CN branch line to the north, and mixed housing and retail property on the east side near Armstrong Road.
“The land in question is large enough to allow for significant redevelopment and intensification in an appropriate form,” according to an urban design study by Zelinka Priamo Ltd.
Several longtime tenants at the mall have been told they will have to close this spring when part of the interior structure is demolished.
“We are very touched by this,” says Gisèle Farnsworth, director of Avanta Salon and Spa.
She says the salon and spa have been operating in the mall for 24 years and seven employees will be out of work when it closes.
“We found out that we were in the part that is being demolished. Looks like we’ll be done at the end of March, ”she said.
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Businesses that have direct access from the Bath Road side of the mall will be allowed to stay, including Food Basics, Boys & Girls Club, Mandarin Restaurant, and Value Village, but other stores and services located inside the mall. shopping center with interior entrances only will not be allowed to stay, Farnsworth said.
She understands that other long-standing businesses like the Chit Chat Cafe, laundromat, hair salon and some business offices will also be affected as the mall moves to a “strip plaza” format.
The salon and spa were notified of the changes last September and stopped selling gift certificates, Farnsworth said, adding that the mall owners had not offered them another space in the mall.
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“After surviving three blockages (COVID-19) it makes it a bit painful to take. But that’s the price of the redevelopment.
Mall owners have indicated that 32 percent of the indoor rental retail space will remain relative to the existing mall’s footprint.
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The owners submitted detailed studies to the City of Kingston Planning Department late last year, including impacts on traffic, shadows and noise and a rationale for the urban design, to the support for their zoning and official plan change requests.
The studies are currently being reviewed by city staff with no immediate timeline for public and policy input.
According to studies, the first phase of redevelopment will include partial demolition of the northeast section of the mall to accommodate an S-shaped mid-density residential building, including balconies, landscaping, underground parking, outdoor swimming pool , a courtyard and footpaths.
“The owner is currently seeking to proceed with the first phase of the redevelopment which includes a six-story building and 288 units to be constructed on the northeastern portion of the subject land adjacent to an existing mid-rise residential building,” the study Notes .
The second and third phases consist of building five residential towers on the west side of the mall grounds.
The second phase consists of three 20-story towers connected by a six-story podium near the corner of Centennial Drive and Bath Road with 671 apartments.
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The third and final phase will take place on the northwest part of the shopping center grounds with two apartment buildings ranging from six to 12 floors with a total of 726 units.
Both phases will provide 1.25 parking spaces per unit.
The Frontenac Mall was built in 1967 with the original flagship stores, Woolco and Dominion.
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In recent years, the Indoor Mall has had several retail vacancies, but retains several businesses including a Service Canada office, Food Basics grocery store, Dollarama, Mandarin restaurant, Boys & Girls Club, and a collection of small commercial outlets.
It is not known how many businesses will be affected by the ongoing demolition to make way for the first phase of the mall’s redevelopment.
Global News tried to contact Bayfield Realty Advisors for comment, but got no response.
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