RFP Issued for Development of Old CDCI West Playing Fields

Officially known as 117 Durham Street, the Town bought the land in 2022 but it took until March 2023 before Council directed what should be done with it.  And now, an RFP has been issued on February 23 to call for development proposals. Although the “primary objective of the call for proposals is to recuperate costs from the purchase of the property” it is also hoped it will help “address the housing crisis”. Council directed that “the lands be a balanced mix of parkland, market and affordable residential units.” Some of the property is “designated as an Environmental Constraint Area” but “Guidance on the developable limit has been informed by an Environmental Impact Study completed in February 2024”. That is, the area available for building has now been defined.

School Land
School Land

So what is the town wanting in the RFP?

Summary of Town preferences

  • Preference will be given to applications that incorporate the widest range of built forms, unit sizes, a variety of building heights (between one and six storeys) and provided appropriate due diligence of engineering considerations has taken place.
  • The development must be accessible for “Ontarians with disabilities” – that is, it must comply with AODA. Preference will be given to a development that obtains or is committed to working toward Rick Hansen certification.
  • Green and Sustainable Development Measures are requestedthat is, proposals/designs should “maximize the achievable reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions relative to minimum requirements” (that is, per National Energy Code and Ontario Building Code).
  • Preference will be given to proposals that include units that will satisfy both the County of Northumberland and Town’s definition of affordable. Applicants proposing an affordable ownership model will be asked to include a detailed outline and plan to set and regulate prices including time frame.

Community Information Session:
The Planning department will host an in-person open house with the purpose of providing residents with information regarding the objectives of the RFP and ways that the development project will address Cobourg’s housing crisis while maintaining the waterfront, boardwalk, and open spaces in public ownership.

Comments and information shared during this session will form part of Staff and Council’s review of development concepts received as part of the proposal call.

Drop-in: Tuesday, 26 March, 5 pm to 7 pm
Location: Council Chambers, third floor, Victoria Hall.

Next Steps:
The RFP will close on April 19. Following the receipt of a successful bid, detailed plans for the lands will come back to Council for review and approval. A zoning bylaw amendment will be required. The goal is to enter into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale subject to Conditions by July 2024 and site preparations and construction to begin prior to December 31, 2025. Following Council approval and prior to site preparations and construction, the applicant will be required to proceed through community engagement as outlined in the Planning Act.

So basically, the Town is offering to sell the land for someone to build a “green” development with at least some affordable units. The Town paid $2M for the land so let’s see what is offered.

Oops: This post got East and West mixed up – the Original said East but should have said West – it has now been corrected. Sorry.

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Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

The skies in downtown Cobourg are darkening as buildings increase in height. I am pro development but the condo at Albert and Division is beginning to obstruct the sky and lake views. A maximum height restriction needs to be in place for all new builds in downtown Cobourg and along the waterfront. The residents of Downtown and Cobourg in general, still want to see the sun and the sky when they walk downtown and on the Boardwalk. If we want to see high rises we can live in Toronto’s Liberty Village … but wait, prices and decreased visibility of the sky, lake, and increasing amount of large building shadows are some of the reasons that many retirees and others have moved to the suburbs, in the first place! Fresh air, trees, less traffic, architecture control with maximum building height restrictions need to be implemented. Town Council I believe in progress, but let’s not ruin Cobourg with unsightly tall buildings that obscure our beautiful waterfront.

Stewey
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

C’mon, tall buildings?? High rises?? Albert and Division is 3 storeys, same as most other buildings in the downtown. These buildings (even 4 and 5 storey ones) are not tall buildings and a comparison to Liberty Village is nonsense. There are plenty of waterfront views from numerous public parks, open spaces and roads to go around and let the owners of vacant properties develop a reasonable product and enhance our downtown

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Concerned Taxpayer

Your comments and recommendations are valid in general but should not be universally applied. Cobourg sits on a piece of land that once housed the retreating shore line of a massive lake. From approximately University Ave South, the land drops in height.

Question is where to locate the limitations on height and therefore density that you propose? There”s more than the view to be considered as Cobourg grows and develops as a healthy and inclusive community.

During negotiations between the Town and the developer the height of the Legion Condo building was reduced from 72 feet to 60 feet. At that point the land is approx 8 feet above the average water line.

In your view is Legion Condo appropriate or not?

Evelyn J.
1 month ago

Reminder, Legion Village which is east of this field is looking to add 200 units, by building up. Great idea! It’s a beautiful property, very well kept and is affordable for seniors. As long as the boardwalk and the beach remains public, let’s get the most revenue and taxes we can get from this and all waterfront property.

beach lover
Reply to  Evelyn J.
27 days ago

Legion Village is requesting a variance to decreased its landscaped open space from the existing 65% to 42% along with a variance to add 400 units. As I understand they plan to pave over the beautiful green space enjoyed by seniors and children participating in the summer camps. It will now be a parking lot. Engage Cobourg spent a fair bit of time soliciting public input into developing a vision for the West Beach and Headland area as part of the Waterfront Plan. At one point the vacant field was even identified as park space. Now that’s going to be gone. As is the open green space at the Legion. It seems as though we’re moving in the opposite direction of the Waterfront Plan.

Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

There is a surplus of government lands for sale. Let’s start building affordable housing there. Low rental households need to be within walking distance of grocery stores and healthcare. I say affordable housing is to be built up near Metro and the hospital.

Kevin
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
1 month ago

Maybe once the new Golden Plough building is complete and the existing one demolished we could use that site for housing. Too bad it will take so long to plan and build as we have a housing crisis now. If only there were a faster way to provide much needed housing … maybe some of our elected officials will think of something. The CDCI playing field is a great place for expensive condos, with high property taxes.

JimT
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

I would agree except that the very limited access on Durham Street, might be a deal breaker for condos. Durham cannot be widened much to accommodate the probable traffic volumes that would result.

James Bisson
1 month ago

Just a thought here regarding affordable housing. Exactly how much RGI housing is Cobourg supposed to take on vs. other towns in the County? Given that the Town of Cobourg owns this property, shouldn’t they be focused on getting thee maximum price to benefit, oh I don’t know, the taxpayer? The amount of taxes payable for prime real estate like this should be a factor in the way RFPs are administered. Elgin, Ontario, Trinity, and most likely Brookside are all geared towards helping with affordability. Maybe this property could be geared towards profitability?

Kevin
Reply to  James Bisson
1 month ago

James, to the best of my knowledge, the town of Cobourg is not supposed to take on any RGI housing. Any RGI units are owned by the county, not the town. Some are located in Cobourg as well as other towns. Other RGI units could be coops or not for profit corporations. These units are not owned by the government but are subsidized if they are RGI. Cobourg has no requirement to make units on this particular property RGI controlled or affordable rent. It is just what council asked. It is how they are managing this asset or virtue signalling for the next election.

James Bisson
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Good points. Thanks for clarifying.

What'sUpDoc
1 month ago

A waterfront restaurant would make a nice addition.

JimT
Reply to  What'sUpDoc
1 month ago

Don’t think so. The road is narrow and the spot isolated and surrounded by private residential.

Much better spot for your diner would be at the bottom of Hibernia, behind the boat storage, next to the launch ramp. Parking nearby. Terrific view across the harbour.

You could build a waterside restaurant there with twice the area taken up by Victoria Hall on a plot of land that is currently not used by anybody, not even the ducks.

zz-hibernia
Margo
1 month ago

Great spot to relocate the encampment. Those of us in the East end have had our fill.

Jeffy
1 month ago

I can just see the long lineup outside town hall, proposals in hand, of developers anxious to lose money. Oh wait…maybe not.

Ted Quinn
1 month ago

What developer in their right mind would take the trouble and time (which is $$’s!!) to even consider purchasing this piece of property with such ridiculous restrictions placed upon it … and then have to deal with Cobourg’s Planning Dept. for the next few years?!!! I think that property is going to stay “for sale and vacant” for many years to come — BUT oh wait?— what better than a spot for the “summer encampment?!!! Just kidding but let’s get real here — sell it to the highest bidder with no restrictions and use that $$’s to pay down some of Cobourg’s considerable debt.

Marie
1 month ago

… hmm sounds like having your cake and eating it too…
good luck

Kathleen
1 month ago

Affordable Housing on Lakefront Property???
A profitable return on investment is obviously not Cobourg’s top priority.

Mark
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Are 1%ers only allowed to have place close to the water front 🤔
This is a perfect area for non profit coop

Kathleen
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

The 1%’ers can afford the Taxes to live by the water. Non profits don’t subsidize themselves.

Michael
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Kathleen

A lot of “idealists” are really nothing more than grifters looking to get heavy subsidies from the rest of their community. It’s sad that they justify this with virtue signalling, righteous indignation and moral outrage…..

Kathleen
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

Couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Michael.

Michael
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

It’s premium real estate and it should be developed to maximize tax revenue for the Town of Cobourg. This will help offset the lofty tax burden for the rest of us.

What percentage of tax revenue is paid by “the 1%” ? – A derogatory term for the highest achievers that contribute the most.

JimT
Reply to  Mark
1 month ago

I don’t think Durham Street could handle any infrastructure that would increase vehicular traffic by any significant amount.

You can’t widen Durham because of the existing buildings and small front lawns (if any). Leave it as a quiet cul-de-sac with just a couple more classy high-end private homes like on Bagot & Ontario Sts.

Build your “affordable” housing and co-ops in a more suitable location elsewhere.

zz-mansions
Rob
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Not to mention, there isn’t a school, grocery store, pharmacy, doctor or dentist within a decent walking distance…historically and currently Cobourg Town planners have not developed a community that is very walkability and placing affordable housing on one of the most southern points in Town is another example of poor urban planning.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

If the Town wants money and apartments then WHY ? is the Planning Dept continually holding back
the Apartment proposal presently on the Books George St , Elgan YMCA , First st ,
White st , West of Canadian Tire giving up again on affordable etc Dose the Town even have adequate servicing Capacity at this time — Don’t think so Why is the Tannery district a work in motion 20 yrs ago for Co Op and affordable housing not built by now Enough already !
We Need Affordable Town Operations & Management
There is Nothing Affordable about developing or Living in Cobourg

Give me a break
1 month ago

A few years ago council approved townhouse development on Densmore across from St. Mary’s HS ….. they have been built and almost all were purchased by investors ….. cost to purchase was over $800k and quite a number are being leased for almost $3k a month ……. Certainly not affordable and way too large …… so now ….. what will council do with any proposals and what determines affordability …..

Informed
Reply to  Give me a break
1 month ago

I just want to know how you get furniture in those Townhomes on Densmore . The front door looks to be 24 “ wide

Dave
1 month ago

When I think of all the things that are funded by the government and the thought of seniors’ treatment in our society – great strides in the minimum wage but not so much in the old age pensions as to indexed to inflation.
Wages of seniors – starting wages and the workforce was much different in past years. It is common today for starting workers between union and private industry new university workers to start at $57,000 a year. Work requirements have also changed. Gone are the days a high school graduate was deemed ready to start their career at a junior salary often ranging from $65 to $80 a week. They raised families, worked steadily, some were able to purchase homes. On retirement the CPP was paid at then wages.
I’ve noted many affordable housing units in the senior category for independent living. Disappointingly box like, small square living rooms with a breakfast bar, often without a balcony, entrance doors that looked almost industrial with a tile flooring. Here you go, there is your affordable box with a roof – your reward for the many years of faithful work. Sorry about the window view – view?
Perhaps some here may think it extravagant to provide affordable housing in a good location some of which seniors would occupy. Originally that is what I heard they were aiming for – affordable senior housing. Good thing some of the prior ones I described don’t have balconies – one look at those for the rest of your life and jump over the balcony! I don’t see this as extravagance,

Miriam Mutton
1 month ago

RE:subject title: RFP Issued for Development of Old CDCI East Playing Fields
hey John, thank you for the recall of youthful memories and reminder of the friendly but sometimes intense rivalry,mostly in athletics, between the two high schools.

As a proud graduate of CDCI East, I can say with confidence the subject lands were part of CDCI West! No doubt, however, CDCI East teams reigned supreme on those same lands now and then.

John Draper
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
1 month ago

Sorry – wrong label – now fixed. Thanks for light hearted comment!

Rob
1 month ago

There is nothing about that Grade A piece of property that should be designated affordable, housing, or attempt to address the “housing crisis.” This council needs to get their heads out of the sand and recognize that, that piece of waterfront property should benefit taxpayers and maximize our investment. Stop with the Liberal policies. I have very little faith that this group of elected representatives will not screw this up.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob

Exactly what is “Liberal” about ensuring that those who can only pay “affordable” housing costs have at least some access to dwellings along a small part of Cobourgs’ waterfront?

The Council is doing exactly the right thing in setting the conditions a successful RFP must fulfill. It does not have to accept any RFP if it decides not to.

To make development open to local developers and builders, a better procedure would have been to first pay a recognized urban designer to create a secondary master plan for the site and then send out RFPs for the development of smaller sections of the site. Local development would be more in tune with the needs and character of our town than if one of the large-scale big-city developers get their hands on it.

The developable area of the site, which is the land north of the boardwalk, is easily worth twice if not three times what the Town paid for it. The agreement with the School Board is that half of any profit made by the Town on the disposition of the land will go back to the Board.

It’s clear that both parties want a development that is of benefit to others ànd not just high-end income folks.

Our accessible waterfront, from the sand beach west to the pebble beach, is a gift of nature and the wisdom of earlier Town Councils who ensured this kilometer long area would remain accessible to all. (Go to the west end of the pebble beach and read the sign posted by the adjoining property owner who states any further access by the public is forbidden and that survalence cameras are operating.

And then there is Brookside!

Michael
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 month ago

The taxes generated by a high end development ARE a huge “benefit to others…..”. Everyone wins.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

A high end development would be a start towards restoring Cobourg to its former glory (1850-1925 or so). Then our population was only 5000 yet Brookside was just one of dozens of fine homes!

Ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Hmmm Ken why do you want to live in the past? Perhaps you remember when the serfs would tug their forelocks whenever you passed!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Ben, does your comment mean that you prefer the current Cobourg to living in a very prosperous small town without addicts dying in bank lobbies, vagrants on the streets and tenting in parks but with booming industries providing employment for all, dozens of grand homes, great golf courses, outstanding equestrian events, world class hotels, a vibrant downtown, fine dining and numerous cultural activities?

Gerinator
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Don’t know that I support the vilifying of the Liberal party. However I do agree that there is nothing wrong with maximizing profit when the opportunity (i.e. lakeside frontage) arises. Besides why can’t we do both – as ‘Sandpiper’ mentions above there are other locations long awaiting development, perhaps these locales would be suitable for this objective “Preference will be given to proposals that include units that will satisfy both the County of Northumberland and Town’s definition of affordable.”

Informed
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Yes. Stop with all the red tape and people pleasing. Affordable housing at the Lake? lol. Maximize profits and buy some cheaper land on the outskirts of Town for affordable housing. Then use any surplus to offset the ridiculous taxes.

Dave
Reply to  Informed
1 month ago

Dollars and Cents. In reading the specs Affordable Senior Housing is on agenda. As you know affordable housing is of varied make up – I had understood this will not be RGI housing so will bring in higher revenue comparitvely.

I note Opposition Leader Singh has now just brought in Pharmacare for the nation. This frees up income in all categories further adding to certain factions income for further spending now matching seniors’ benefit whose income in competition with these new disposable funds will decrease their conpetibility for essentials as prices again will be sure to rise. Coupled with large increases to minimum wage. The mysterious basket of goods which I have long suspected contains mainly peanut butter determines what increase there is to OAS and CPP and it many categories does not cover actual market value which is increased above inflation rates.

So let us give seniors in our community in the mid price range an inconvenient place to live requiring a car. From the tone of your reply and some others against the design you would choose would be the least costly – a box perhaps?

Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

Unfortunately requiring affordable housing units at this prime waterfront property will discourage developers as will requiring the development to be as environmentally friendly above and beyond the National Energy Code and the Ontario Building Code. I think a developer is going to have to have deep pockets to meet these requirements. I hope it sells quickly!

Bryan
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

Cobourg Taxpayer,

A deep pockets developer will want a good (fair??) return on their investment. An affordable housing project is not going to provide that. The Town is already in for $2M and I’m sure the school board will push for a high price to enrich their share of the extra profit.

https://www.cobourg.ca/en/business-and-development/resources/Affordable-and-Rental-Housing-CIP/CIP-Incentive-Program-Guidelines_FINAL_Aug-12-2021.pdf

2.0 What is Affordable Rental Housing?
The County of Northumberland’s Municipal Housing Facilities By-law defines affordable housing as housing in which the maximum monthly rent is less than or equal to the average market rent (AMR) for the regional market area (Northumberland County) for that size of unit. For the purposes of Cobourg’s CIP program, the average monthly rent can be increased by $100 over the average market rent if the maximum monthly rent includes the cost of utilities (i.e., heat, hydro, and hot water).

Where utilities are metered separately for each unit and residents are required to pay the utility costs directly, the maximum monthly rent is set at the AMR. In 2021, the AMRs for Northumberland County by unit size are found in Table 1 below:
Table 1 Affordable Rents – Northumberland County, 2021

Table 1 Affordable rents (no Utilities) NC 2021
Bachelor $982
1 BR $1,106
2 BR $1,237 – edited
3+ BR $1,483

Please note that the affordable rents will be updated on an annual basis and the rents for the affordable units under the CIP program must stay at the affordable level for the term of the CIP financial incentives agreement.

2023 rents are somewhat higher

The “affordable” rates must be maintained for 10-20 years depending on the negotiated agreement.

There is also a max 30% of gross household income for the rental units with an income range of $39K to 59K per year.

This is tied to a CIP developer incentive program where the developer gets a pile of concessions and cash in exchange for some(???) affordable units.

Remember Balder. Deal: 14 AH units. Balder cries poor and suggests 3-4. Town agrees.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

One small point Bryan – you listed a one bedroom affordable at $1106 and a 2 bedroom at $1037 I presume this is an error unless you have further explanation.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

Good catch.

The 2 BR should be $1,237, not $1,037.

As your have posted a reply, the edit is turned off.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Also Bryan there is different types of affordable – the 30% of income are RGI rentals that qualify with a max income of around $3000 a month.
There is also Market Rent affordable – a common build. An example is on Kijiji right now. $1650 plus all utilities plus parking plus for a storage unit. These units are under the “affordable” category. Financing was obtained partially through the Federal government and opened in a grand ceremony a few years back by the then Cobourg Liberal Federal representative.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

Please read the guideline document (link provided). The affordable housing outlined is not subsidized housing (County RGI). As indicated in my comment the max income thresholds vary according to unit size (and rent) from $39K to 59K (in 2021).

There are 3 rental units listed on KIJIJ at $1,650. All are 1BR and about 650 sqft. The Munroe St. unit is in a “seniors” complex and as you noted, had incentive financing from several levels of government.

Draper has an article on this.

https://www.cobourgblog.com/news-2019/official-opening-of-affordable-rental-housing-on-munroe-street

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Hi Bryan –
On the 30% max of household income – this point confused me on the affordable 39 – 59K per year. A friend of mine applied a few years back. They were told a flat rate on the rent – as you quoted above in the apartment prices you outlined. There was no criteria of 30% max household income. Interestingly the rent wanted was more than what they were paying at that time so they did not proceed. By-the by – the apartments themselves also lacked with no balcony and intermixed with RGI who were the majority of apartments. As described in another post I made – a box with a roof.
When did the 30% max come in for this type of rental – prior it only applied to RGI units?

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

As indicated in the guideline: Aug 2021.

As I indicated previously, this is not RGI subsidized rent.
As outlined in the guideline, it is a Cobourg requirement placed on the rental property owner, in return for Town concessions.
The rent can be no more than that the amount indicated (updated annually) in table 1 “affordable” rent.
The second requirement is that the “affordable” units can only be rented to people who are below the income thresholds. Income, per se, is not a factor in the rent calculation, but is, as a factor in who can apply.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Your line that confused me Bryan is “There is also a max of 30% gross household income for the rental units with an income range in the 39K to 59K”

Also the governing income requirements seem flawed. In order to qualify for and RGI one bedroom max income is $3000 a month – $36,000 a year.

Under this people with income of $3100 $37200 to $38,999. Would qualify for neither. Seems rather odd don’t you think Bryan – what happens to the people in the gab income range?

Michael
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

A developer with “deep pockets” will run a mile. People with deep pockets are usually business savvy…..

Reminds me of the old joke about “How do you make a small fortune in the restaurant business?”

lol

“Invest a considerably larger fortune…..”

Town needs to wise up. The mayor is a small business owner. So is Adam. These people need to reign in the bureaucrats, and get that property developed. Taxes can be generated and everybody wins.