Planned development would bring 'Main Street' feel to London's Hyde Park

London's fastest growing neighbourhood is poised for another massive build, but it's not like anything else in the area.

The property at 1600-1658 Hyde Park Road, better known as the school bus parking lot at the intersection of Hyde Park and Gainsborough roads may soon become the heart of uptown London.

The development would include a pair of 12-storey residential towers connected by street-facing stores, wide sidewalks, and street parking.

According to the CEO of the Hyde Park BIA, Donna Szpakowski, it would be similar to older business districts in London.

“I think it’s absolutely huge. It’s so exciting. My vision and that of the BIA Board of Directors is just that, businesses fronting the street.”

Ward 7 Councillor Josh Morgan says if the rezoning is approved, the project will provide a combination of residential and commercial space that leads to a more walkable neighbourhood.

“This development would really fill in the gap between the traditional village and the other commercial area to the north.”

But the development would require rezoning plus so-called “bonussing.”

Bonussing occurs when city hall permits more height and density than normally allowed under zoning rules in exchange for the developer providing a benefit to the city.

Morgan thinks the brand new park across the road provides an opportunity.

"What we have is a public space right across the street from this development that doesn't have its own budget, so there is a real opportunity for our staff to look at the types of bonussing opportunities there.”

The development would be the start of a bold vision for the area.

The Hyde Park BIA says it is working with city planners to create a community improvement plan (CIP) that would encourage developers to extend the Main Street concept to neighbouring properties along Gainsborough.

Szpakowski adds, “Within an 18-month time frame we would investigate a CIP or other tools to help us grow and that's in process now.”