On the morning of July 5, 2013, the Newinhomes.com team headed out to Ajax for a very important announcement. The Ajax Council and Laura Starr of Windcorp Developments Ltd. introduced a brand new master-plan for the heart of their downtown. Mayor Steve Parish, Councillor Colleen Jordan, Councillor Joanne Dies, and Jeff Wilson, Owner of Reed’s Florist, were in attendance for the exciting announcement.
Introducing: Grand Harwood Place
Dubbed “Grand Harwood Place,” this $118.7 million project will change Ajax forever. The master-plan calls for the redevelopment of Ajax Plaza, a strip mall at Harwood Avenue and Kings Crescent.
Phase 1A will feature two 10-storey condo buildings designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects, with approximately 268 units. There will also be 28 stacked townhomes, which will not be constructed until Phase 1B because of existing storefronts. The two condo buildings will also feature over 33,000 square feet of office space spread out between two floors, and over 31,000 square feet of ground level retail.
There will be two levels of underground parking and decked parking, supplying approximately 672 spaces. Windcorp has proposed a roof garden for the parking deck.
Phase 1B entails the removal of existing buildings on 10 privately owned properties to make way for 84 stacked townhomes. We have not seen renderings of the townhomes yet, but we imagine the designs will match the modern, urban style of Phase 1A.
Zeidler’s design for Grand Harwood Place will really stand out along the streetscapes of Ajax, and we think that’s exactly what the town needs. One glance at this rendering, and most will probably think that it’s a new development for downtown Toronto. The modern design will turn heads for sure, and serve as a breath of fresh air for Downtown Ajax.
Remarks from Mayor Steve Parish, Laura Starr, and Jeff Wilson
Mayor Steve Parish stated in a news release, “The revitalization of the Ajax Plaza has long been a priority of numerous Ajax Councils. The plaza was once the commercial heart of Ajax and was a symbol of prosperity when the Town was founded. Grand Harwood Place will act as a catalyst for change, restoring economic growth and establishing a welcoming and vibrant environment once again in the centre of Downtown Ajax. We look forward to working with the community and our partners to make this development a reality.”
Laura Starr also commented: “I’ve been captivated by this site for nearly a decade. The dynamic and mixed-use development of Grand Harwood Place with its residential, retail and office components, including the first new-build condominiums here in two decades, is exactly the right fit for this neighbourhood and will be appreciated by all residents of Ajax. Its strategic position at the heart of the Ajax Community Improvement Program lends our development task special significance and we look forward to exceeding expectations. Landmark architecture, superior quality and our devotion to helping make the new Downtown Ajax an aspirational standard for every other community in the GTA will be the Windcorp legacy.”
Jeff Wilson, a longstanding business owner located in Ajax Plaza, also had a few words to say about Grand Harwood Place. It seems as though his voice represents the people of Ajax, as well as the other business owners within the Plaza:
“My company celebrated it’s hundredth anniversary last year. We were one of the first businesses to establish itself in Ajax Plaza back in 1954. Because of our long history with the town, we have a very good understanding of the area, and what we feel is necessary there. We certainly believe that it is the focus of a healthy environment downtown. The area needs redevelopment – the town wants it, the residents are asking for it. The closing of the 401 interchange had a huge impact on business; it certainly affected the Plaza greatly. We need to make it more attractive and more competitive. This project, I think, is going to be very exciting, and I think it will re-establish downtown as the centre of town from a residential and commercial standpoint. The project won’t be without challenges, I’m sure, for local business including ourselves – it will be a long project, but I firmly believe that it’s a necessary first step to creating the type of downtown that the town envisions, and we’re excited to be a part of this transition. It’s a great time to be a part of Ajax and I look forward to working closely with Windcorp and to be a part of the Downtown Ajax of the future.”
About Windcorp Developments
Windcorp Developments prides itself for recognizing underutilized sites with great potential and transforming them into vibrant mixed-use communities. Laura Starr founded Windcorp in 2005, with experience from 30 years of hard work at her landscape architecture firm, Starr Landscape. Starr has the skills to oversee every aspect of development, so we are very excited to watch her and her Windcorp team bring this vision of Downtown Ajax to life.
Stay tuned, we will be keeping a close eye on Grand Harwood Place, the latest master-plan for the redevelopment of Downtown Ajax.
For more information about Windcorp Developments and Grand Harwood Place, visit grandharwoodplace.com