Bringing new homes to Port Credit’s waterfront
- April 22nd, 2021
By Tracy Hanes, Special to the Star
Thu., April 22, 2021
For three decades, 72 acres of prime Lake Ontario waterfront in Port Credit sat fallow as development flourished at other locations throughout Mississauga. The former Imperial Oil land had been the site of a refinery and before that a brickyard. The property required extensive remediation and a bold vision.
Now the former industrial property at Lakeshore Rd. W. and Mississauga Rd., purchased in 2017, is being transformed into Brightwater, a master-planned development that will set the benchmark for future waterfront community design across Canada and beyond. Brightwater is the brainchild of the Port Credit West Village Partners, a team of experienced developers comprised of Kilmer Group, DiamondCorp, Dream Unlimited and FRAM + Slokker.
Brightwater’s master plan, designed by architectural firm Giannone Petricone Associates and design/planning firm Urban Strategies, will accommodate 2,995 new residences, including condominiums and townhomes, and 150 affordable housing units. Amenities will include 300,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, office space, a new elementary school and proposed community centre. There will be 18 acres of new green spaces, including a nine-acre waterfront park, European-inspired promenades, pedestrian mews and public plazas. The plan has been recognized with the Award of Merit for Healthy Communities by the Canadian Institute of Planners and the BILD award for the Best New Community (Planned/Under Development). The first two mixed-use condo buildings, launched in 2020 along with several commercial buildings, sold out. Just launched are the Brightwater Towns, a collection of 106 luxury three- and four-bedroom, three-storey townhomes.
“We are so excited. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at this scale within the urban context,” said Ken Tanenbaum, vice-president of the Kilmer Group. “It’s not often you get 72 acres on a lake surrounded by a mature community, and Port Credit is special.”
Kilmer and Dream Unlimited have experience in transforming a large brownfield as developers of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village and a significant portion of Toronto’s West Don Lands. The Pan Am project required working closely with Waterfront Toronto and a similar collaborative approach was taken with Brightwater with the local community, the City of Mississauga and the Region of Peel.
“It’s not just our vision,” said Tanenbaum. “It reflects the wishes of the people of Port Credit and the City of Mississauga. We are really honouring the spirit of Port Credit. It’s a very special location, and unique, because it sits on the lake. We don’t want it to be self-contained. We want it to be part of Port Credit.”
Remediating the site — where half a million cubic metres of soil were affected by decades of industrial use — is a mammoth task, said Lukasz Wagner, vice-president of development and construction for the Port Credit West Village Partners. The partners have been working with the Ministry of Environment to ensure the remediation meets MOE standards and the first phase has now been completely remediated.
“Gone are the days of the greenfield site,” Wagner said of untouched land for development. “Now we have brownfield sites and they need so much expertise.” Kilmer is a leader in this field and one of the reasons Imperial Oil chose to sell to the partnership. Soil that couldn’t be remediated onsite was trucked to landfill sites to be used to cap and help break down refuse; carbon offset credits were purchased to compensate for hauling of the dirt, said Wagner. The credits allow businesses to offset unavoidable emissions by funding other carbon reduction measures.
Brightwater will feature a unique bioswale system — a drainage and stormwater design now used in Downsview Park and at University of Toronto Scarborough — reflecting the project’s name and the relevance of water. It follows Low Impact Development (LID) practices that use natural processes, such as soil and plants, to filter and absorb stormwater. Throughout the community, sloped naturalized channels will facilitate water movement.
“Water is an important component of this development,” said Wagner. “Municipalities are discontinuing the ability to connect to storm sewers and want to restore the natural water balance.”
Wagner said the partners worked with the city and region on the bioswale, which could potentially serve as a template for future developments. He is hopeful Brightwater’s community plan will achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Neighbourhood certification as a healthy, sustainable community.
The newly launched luxury townhomes designed by architecture firm Superkül reflect a modern esthetic while complementing Port Credit’s quaint existing neighbourhoods. They start at $1.4 million and range from 1,900 to 2,600 square feet.
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“When we saw the master plan and location close to the lake, and the Benson Trail west of the site, we started to think about coastal architectural forms,” said Andre D’Elia, principal at Superkül. “We used a variety of roofscapes and designs (such as gabled, shed and flat roofs) to separate the three blocks of townhouses with nuances between in materiality and form.”
Varied window placement and the style of masonry (inspired by the former brickyard on the site) and coastal-style horizontal siding will help create those nuances.
D’Elia and his team made it a priority to maximize views from the townhouses’ rooftop terraces, and wanted parking at the rear of the homes — or off-street — to encourage a neighbourhood feel and lifestyle. “We try to celebrate the parklands and landscaping. And the end units facing the Benson Trail have a slightly different design to take advantage of the natural landscaping.”
The townhomes will provide easy access to the trail, that will incorporate a new multi-use path and will improve the pedestrian and cycling connection from Lakeshore Rd. to the waterfront.
Design firm Truong Ly Design (interior designer for the Brightwater I and II condos, as well) plans an urban sophistication style for the interiors of the townhomes that are characterized by oversized windows and generous natural light. The pale colour palette is based on a light-and-water theme. The homes’ first floors will include a dining island with quartz countertops and a living areas that lead to private terraces. Bedrooms are generously sized and an upper floor flex space leads to the rooftop terrace.
The towns are one more piece of the vision Tanenbaum and his partners see for Brightwater as a trend-setting development for Mississauga and the GTA.
“For me, it begins with imagining quality of life and we wanted to create a place where the quality of life will shine,” said Tanenbaum.
“How many opportunities do you have to live in a mature, walkable neighbourhood on the water in the GTA with great access to parks, transit and retail?”
Developer: Port Credit West Village Partners
Architect: Superkül; Interior design: Truong Ly Design
Location: Lakeshore Rd. W. and Mississauga Rd., Mississauga
Project: 106 luxury three-storey townhouses in award-winning master-planned waterfront community that includes residential units, retail, restaurants, nine-acre waterfront park, promenades, pedestrian mews and public plazas
Townhomes: Three and four bedroom units, from 1,900 to 2,600 sq. ft., with open-concept layouts, large windows, rooftop terraces with views. Flex space on upper floors. Prices from $1.4 million