Development proposal for Oshawa’s First Avenue gets first committee look September 11

Oshawa residents will get their first look next month at the draft plan of a development coming to the city’s long forgotten First Avenue neighbourhood, immediately south of the future GO Station.

Fotenn Consultants, on behalf of First Avenue Investments, will be in the Council Chambers September 11 with their ambitious plan to bring new development into the area, which was home to a glass factory for nearly a century, as well the Knob Hill Farms outlet across the street, which, at 226,000 was the largest food store in the country when it opened 40 years ago.

First Avenue Consultant’s plan is to build a mixed-use community at 144 and 155 First Avenue with eight development blocks and multiple towers (ranging from 14 to 42 storeys) that will contain nearly 6,000 residential units, as well as a public park and more than 63,000 sq. ft of commercial floorspace.

The proposal will require an Official Plan amendment to deal with the residential density and other zoning changes that will be required, which is what the Economic and Development Services Committee will be considering September 11.

Oshawa kicked off a Major Transit Area Study in the fall of 2021 to inject new life into the area, which has essentially been a ghost town since Knob Hill Farms left in 2000 and the Pittsburgh Glass Work factory on the south side of the street did the same nine years later.

There have been attempts to develop the neighbourhood since – including a few failed attempts to bring the new GO Station to town before finally getting approval post-pandemic – but the area has mostly been forlorn and forgotten and far from first in the eyes of City planners.

Oshawa Economic and Development Services Commissioner Warren Munro believes the GO Station project and the proposed development across the street brings with them an “opportunity to inject new life into a part of the city with great potential.”

Oshawa Councillor John Gray was also excited when plans for the development at 144/155 First Avenue were first announced in 2022. “It’s all driven by the GO Station,” he said, adding that it will lead to a major renewal of the area. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

The former glass factory was demolished earlier this year, making way for the new development.

Preliminary work has also begun on the GO Station immediately to the north, with the optimistic expectations having the new station up and running in about three years.

Members of the public who want to speak at the committee meeting electronically need to submit their request no later than noon on September 8 by contacting Legislative Services in writing at [email protected].

To submit correspondence, send comments to Robert Bedic at City Hall by 4:30 p.m. September 5.