Massive new project planned for south Oshawa could be most exciting ‘in a generation’

An industrial facility in south Oshawa could soon be replaced with a massive new development that includes residential towers, commercial uses and an urban park.

A mixed-use development is being proposed for the lands at 144-155 First Ave., directly south of where a new GO station will be located.

It’s early days for the project, which is still in the design phase. No formal applications for redevelopment have been submitted to the city.

A public information centre took place Nov. 2, giving residents a chance to look at the potential design and ask questions.

“The proposed new community in central Oshawa will bring new vibrancy to the areas as it transitions from a former industrial site, toward a mixed-use, transit-oriented neighbourhood,” states a public notice from Fotenn Planning and Design, host of the information event. “Between the upcoming Central Oshawa Go station and plans for future regional rapid transit connectivity, exciting changes are underway which are anticipated to being new opportunities for community investment.”

Paul Szymanski lives nearby and says the project is “very positive news.” He has been waiting a long time for redevelopment to come to the area.

“Sometimes it feels like we get forgotten in south Oshawa,” he says. “A lot of people are waiting for more things to come to this area, more stores and services.”

The proposal includes multiple residential towers, commercial uses at street level, an urban park and pedestrian promenade.

There is also the potential for Second Avenue and Third Avenue to be extended across the site, between Front Street and Howard Street.

“Because of this, we are going to see a lot of renewal. Not only will this area be developed, it will put pressure on other areas of the neighbourhood to be cleaned up and improved,” says Ward 5 City Councillor John Gray.

Ward 5 Regional and City Councillor Brian Nicholson says the project has the potential to be one of the most exciting developments south Oshawa has seen “in generations.”

“You’re not talking about one building. You’re talking anywhere from eight to 15 buildings on 20 acres of land,” Nicholson says. “It’s going to have a big impact on that neighbourhood — it’s going to increase the population of the neighbourhood and spur other development.”

The site at 144-155 Front St. has a long history dating back to the 1920s. It formerly housed an automotive glass plant originally called Phillips Glass. Over the years, it operated under different owners as Duplate, PPG and Pittsburgh Glass Works, which closed in 2009.

The glass plant was among the first workplaces that formed United Auto Workers union Local 222 in 1937.

Once the project design is complete, applications for official plan amendment and zoning bylaw amendment will be submitted to the city for consideration by council.

At that time, full project details and plans will be available to the public and additional public meetings will take place.