Many years ago Martha St. was named in honor of Martha Gage, the daughter-in-law of James Gage, the founder of Wellington Square, which is what Burlington was called prior to 1873 when only about 750 people lived there.
Martha and her husband Andrew donated the land on which Knox Presbyterian Church was built.
By the year 2021, 374 Martha St. is due to become the most prestigious address on the street when Nautique Lakefront Residences opens at the corner of Lakeshore Road. More people could be living in the building than were in the village when Martha St. was named.
Plans call for the entrance to be on Martha St., with retail outlets on the Lakeshore Road side.
For now though, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward thinks the ADI Development Group is jumping the gun by selling units before construction has been approved.
Meed Ward said there should be no pre-selling of units in proposed buildings where there has been no approval.
“I have constantly had to put out those fires that they’re approved,” she said. “It’s a very bad practice and leads to confusion. This tends to become part of the argument for approval.”
Meed Ward said she has written to Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon urging the provincial government to change the law allowing pre-sales under these circumstances. McMahon told The Bay Observer she is looking into it.
The developer first proposed a building with 28 storeys, even though the City’s official plan and zoning bylaw calls for a limit of four, with provision to go to eight if definite community benefits can be proved.
City council voted to oppose a revised 26-storey condo in 2016, and the developer took his case to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). A hearing concluded this summer and both sides are awaiting a decision.
Two huge billboards at the site advertise units in the $400,000’s range and the developer has a sales office on Brant St. Ads have also appeared in local newspapers.
The Bay Observer left several phone messages for the developer but the calls had not been returned by press time. However, the practice of pre-selling before final approval is legal, as long as there is provision in the contract for the purchaser to get their money back if the project were not to go ahead.
Meanwhile, only six units remain unsold just two blocks west on Lakeshore Road at the Bridgewater Residences on the Lake Condos.
New Horizon Homes is building a 22-story edifice with that includes 150 suites, many of them with a view of Lake Ontario. They are expected to be ready next year. Price range for the suites is between $1,399,900 and $3,699,900.
The building was originally scheduled to open in time for the 2015 Pan-American Games.
In order to make room for the project, the old Riviera Motor Court, which opened in 1963 and an ice cream outlet had to be torn down. Ironically, in its final days homeless people and immigrants were housed there at the expense of Halton Region.
Bridgewater will have a seven-storey hotel at street level and a seven-storey condo behind the hotel, in addition to another 22-storey condo, which will block the view of the lake for residents in condos on the north side of Lakeshore Road. The public will still have access to the waterfront trail along the lake via a central courtyard.
City staff also has recommended a limit of 23 storeys for a proposed condominium development at the corner of Brant and James Streets, across from City Hall.
The developer is seeking permission for a 27-storey mixed use building with retail, office and residential units.
Scott Johnson, a recently retired registered condominium owner, is among the residents who have written to council to express their concern about such a development.
Johnson warned well over 400 people could be living there, creating a monster problem for parking downtown. He says it is highly unlikely there will only be one vehicle per unit.
“Further, when large events such as the Sound of Music Festival or Ribfest take place, parking is now a nightmare situation,” he wrote. “Losing another 100 or more parking spaces to the proposed building will only make it worse.”\