Buttonville could close by 2013
Buttonville airport could close as early as 2013 to make way for a massive redevelopment that will include a cinema, office and retail space, residential and possibly a 60-storey tower.
The $4-billion joint investment between Cadillac Fairview and the Sifton family’s Armadale Properties calls for a transit-oriented downtown ambience with an iconic building for Markham, planning consultant Don Given said Tuesday.
If Markham council wanted it, a 60-storey “elegant point tower” can be erected on the site to become “a beacon at the end of (Hwy.) 404”, Mr. Given told town councillors.
“That’s not Markham,” Mr. Given said of the building height. “But if you want one, we can do it.”
Local Councillor Alan Ho said he would like the 60-storey tower to become a good example in Markham of how parking wouldn’t be a problem.
The Buttonville concept plan includes more than 8 million square feet, which could also include a hotel, health club and convention space. It also features a lake abutting Hwy. 404.
The proposed water feature could be used for recreational activities, such as dragon boat races and kayaking, Mr. Given said.
“It’s going to be more than a business park — it’ll have character,” he said, adding the site will remain largely in private ownership, with Cadillac Fairview footing costs of future programming there.
While Mr. Given describes the lands as “the last truly great site” in the GTA, access to Hwy. 404 and transit will be challenges, he added.
Solutions could include Viva routes through the Buttonville site and to the TTC’s Don Mills Station, the extension of Allstate Parkway, widening of 16th Avenue, direct connection from Hwy. 404 interchange to the site and a new east-west connection from Woodbine Avenue, Mr. Given said.
The plans also includes an aggressive construction start in 2013 and occupancy by 2015, in time for the Pan Am Games.
He said employees and tenants of the Buttonville airport have already been notified of the airport’s 2013 closure.
He also said the not-yet-built Pickering airport is intended to replace Buttonville airport.
“The two can’t compete with each other,” Mr. Given said, adding other locations in the play for Buttonville airport’s relocation include Barrie and Oshawa.
Last summer, Transport Canada identified the contentious Pickering lands as a prime location in the Golden Horseshoe for a new airport as early as 2027.
However, Derek Sifton, president of Toronto Airways Ltd., which owns and operates Buttonville airport, said at the time his family would like to transfer Buttonville airport to Pickering as soon as operations end in Markham.
The Buttonville redevelopment plan was well received by town councillors, with Deputy Mayor Jack Heath asking staff to report back on transit and Pickering airport issues.
- That Derek Sifton was never great at business. Please raise your hands if you would sell your airport for $150 million to get a minority stake in a $4 billion investment. I wouldn't be surprised if Cadillac Fairview attempts a hostile takeover down the road
This statement makes no sense, unless the 60-storey tower is a parking garagehe would like the 60-storey tower to become a good example in Markham of how parking wouldn’t be a problem.
Good to know.. I must have missed that memo. I know a lot of people who will be loosing their jobs
Sorry to head about that dan, maybe time to relocate out to bc?"He said employees and tenants of the Buttonville airport have already been notified of the airport’s 2013 closure."
Good to know.. I must have missed that memo.
Mind you the People or Planes folks are still active in Pickering and there will be an outcry. I don't see runways in Pickering operating by 2013.
The more interesting bit is that there's a number of nearby businesses that operate aircraft that will be looking at upping stakes and going to Waterloo or Brantford, maybe even Hamilton.
Where will Seneca train all those future "gifts to aviation"? Really wish I cared.
There are 3 drive ins here within an hours drive of YYZ and to be honest it's a great way to kill a slow summer evening. We go regularly to the Barrie tripple drive in.
Chase lifestyle not metal.