It feels like everywhere you look in St. Catharines, there are new residential developments infilling what used to be one single property. With the lack of developable land in the area, it really shouldn’t be a surprise anymore — when a little bit of land becomes available, someone is going to scoop it up for new residential development. Whether it be a large single home lot or repurposing large plots of land, infilling has taken St. Catharines by storm.
Are high-density infills coming to your neighbourhood?
So, all that said above, I can’t say with positivity that your specific St. Catharines neighbourhood is going to be the next one to see new builds popping up, but there have a few property listings lately that I am watching with interest (both as a St. Catharines Realtor and St. Catharines resident):
Maywood Public School — 140 Haig Street, St. Catharines
Last year saw the closing of Maywood Public School on Haig Street, the result of the District School Board of Niagara decision to consolidate a number of downtown schools into one new (and beautiful) school, Harriet Tubman Public School. And now, bids are open for the property.
The listing for Maywood Public School’s property, cites the property at 5.48 acres, with a three-storey, seven-level brick building with an area of 26,442 square feet. And while the current zoning is “community institutional,” the official plan designates the land for medium-density “neighbourhood residential.”
Memorial Public School — 17 Welland Avenue, St. Catharines
Memorial Public School was another casualty of the decision to amalgamate students into Harriet Tubman school. Provincial regulations govern the sale of surplus school properties, with a first phase allowing preferred agencies and school boards to buy the property. Neither Memorial nor Maywood brought in offers during this phase, which is why we’re seeing the opportunity opened up for public tender now.
Memorial’s original two-level brick building was built in 1920, with its addition being constructed in 1953. Its property covers 4.19 acres and the building area coming in at 25,183 square feet. The zoning here is also “community institutional” with the designation for medium-density “neighbourhood residential.”
My Two Cents
If you ask me, it’s pretty clear that the outcome of this tender is going to see residential developers vying for a piece of the action to tear down the schools and infill with single-family homes and townhomes. It’s happened before — think Lakebreeze Public School on Willcher Drive in North End St. Catharines, which is now home to 17 single family homes and 31 townhomes.
The irony in deciding to fill these vacant properties with new residential communities is that the number one buyer of homes like these is young families. So, while the DSBN is closing schools, developers are turning around to bring more families and more children into the neighbourhoods that are now down school space. Here’s hoping Harriet Tubman Public School was built with the possibility of development in mind to house the new students they are bound to see soon!