Oxford Properties Group and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) have announced what is being called the largest mixed-use development in Canadian history, the 18-million-square-foot Square One District to be built on 130 acres around Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre.
Plans unveiled Jan. 21 call for 18,000 residential units, a transit mobility hub connected to the Hurontario LRT, community buildings and office and retail spaces. The first office building will go to market in April and the partners are working with Daniels Corporation on the first two residential towers of 36 and 48 storeys, to contain 402 rental apartments and 575 condominium suites. Construction of The Rental Residences and The Condominiums of Square One District will commence this summer.
“This is not some distant goal or pipe dream,” Oxford Properties executive vice-president Eric Plesman told a large crowd of stakeholders, guests and media assembled at the mall.
“With the first phase of construction starting this summer, Square One District will start to become a reality this year.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the project would be “transformative” for the city, with the new community part of an expected spike in Mississauga’s population of 120,000 citizens over the next 21 years. At that point it’s estimated the city will reach 920,000 residents.
Noting that Oxford Properties has committed to allotting over half of the housing component to rentals, Crombie said, “Oxford has stepped up.”
The boundaries of the new development will be Burnhamthorpe Road, Confederation Parkway, Highway 403 and City Centre Drive. The 18,000 residential units will be capable of accommodating 35,000 residents.
After the first two towers are built in phase one, it is expected another 5,000 units will be launched over the next five to seven years. In total there will be 37 towers built.
It is expected the first phase will generate 3,500 construction jobs. Occupancy of the condominiums is being targeted for 2024.
Member of Parliament for Mississauga Centre Omar Alghabra noted in his address that the Square One District project would spell the end of Mississauga’s reputation as a suburban, bedroom community.
“We are witnessing before our eyes the transformation of the city of Mississauga,” he said.
Mississauga is already a net importer of jobs, and it’s expected that over the life of the Square One District master plan 35,000 direct jobs will be created.
Plesman said in an interview Oxford Properties is confident the market will be able to absorb the project’s new residential units at a quick pace.
He noted the developer is already in discussions with the City of Mississauga’s planning department on site plan approval of the next three residential phases with a total unit count of almost 3,500 units.
“With the influx of immigrants, just with all the great things happening with the city of Toronto, we feel very confident about the ability to absorb a lot of this,” he said. “Our first phase, which is just under 1,000 units, we feel will be very well received by the market. We have already seen some tremendous interest with two other developments nearby where they went quicker than expected and some of the rental options were well subscribed for, so we have a lot of confidence in our ability to have that absorbed into the market.”
Master planning for the community was done by Harari Pontarini Architects in collaboration with the 60-member Oxford Properties planning team, Plesman said.
IBI Group is designing the interiors of the first-phase residences for Daniels while DTAH is responsible for the landscaping.
The office component is said to be the first new commercial development in the city centre district in a generation.
Oxford Properties has spent more than $500 million on improvements to the Square One Shopping Centre in the past five years and thus the new District project is being presented as a live-work-play community.
“This new community will support employment with world-class office space to help businesses grow while maximizing the positive impact of new transit being developed in Mississauga. It will be a place where business, life and leisure can come together as one,” said Plesman.
One of the focal points of Square One District is The Strand, touted as a pedestrian-friendly civic space anchored by the transit hub and a community park. The new district will be connected to both the Hurontario LRT and Rapid Bus Transit.
“The sustainability component is going to be achieved both in our approach to the construction but also the fact that we have the Hurontario LRT and this multi-modal mobility hub,” said Plesman. “That helps reinforce some of the sustainability components to it.”
Major construction on the Hurontario LRT begins this year. There will be an LRT stop in the Mississauga City Centre.