Proposed downtown Windsor condos could bring thousands of residents into the core

·2 min read

If plans before city council go forward, the population of Windsor's downtown could grow by thousands.

Six 16-storey condo towers with more than 1,400 residential units are slated to go up downtown.

Five of the towers, as well as some townhouses, are proposed for the property at 825 Riverside Dr. W. where the CBC currently leases its building. The other tower would be built on a vacant lot behind the Shoppers Drug Mart store at Ouellette Avenue and Wyandotte Street E.

If the buildings go ahead, the residents they attract could mean a dramatic transformation for Windsor's downtown.

"I've been saying since before I was elected, that we need people, people, people downtown," said Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin.

"People in the streets of downtown give the potential retail and commercial storefronts customers."

Bortolin said the sites could mean as many as 4,000 to 5,000 residents in the core over the next five years. And more people on the streets could have other benefits not just to businesses.

"It's even the small things. When you walk around downtown, a lot of the issues that we talk about constantly is a sense of safety and security," he said.

"When you add more feet on the ground and more eyes on the street and just more people walking around, that sense of security shifts and it's definitely a lot more comfortable to walk downtown."

Tahmina Aziz/CBC
Tahmina Aziz/CBC

The projects have to be done with infrastructure in mind, said Bortolin.

"We don't want to have a rush to develop and have 10 things go up in one year and then we realize that the infrastructure isn't enough and it's overwhelmed and then the different services aren't enough," he said, explaining some of the developments may not be completed for years.

LISTEN | Tap the player to hear more about the projects:

"So growing and growing incrementally and seeing this develop over years is exactly how we want to see it."

Bortolin said the project located on Wyandotte Street E. is in a "site plan" phase, where renderings have been drawn up.

The owner of the Riverside Drive W. site, Clayland Development Inc. is seeking to rezone the property. Before proceeding, the city is asking the developer to do a geotechnical study because of evidence the property was once used for a salt mining operation.

"But however we look at it, this is really good news," said Bortolin. "So whether it's just before the finish line, if they're halfway there, or if they're just starting the journey, we have various iterations across downtown."