What should go at street level? (part i- the good)

I complain a lot in these blog postings. The City did this wrong. The stupid developer did that wrong. Yadda yadda. I even get tired of myself complaining.

But some things do work out alright. In the case of the 333 Preston development (Sako is the developer, major tenants include Adobe, Xerox, RBC, Heart and Crown) we have an example of a better quality development. The ground floor is chock full of narrow storefronts, each with a different colour signage and awning. The patio spaces are friendly and often well patronized. There are trees along the sidewalk, and ped-scaled lighting. A row of parked cars in a protected parking bay shelter the pedestrian environment from the moving traffic on Preston.

The building owners maintain lush landscaping along the street.

When this complex was under consideration, the merits of more retail on Preston was in serious doubt. This building compliments the street and in return attracts patronage in a virtuous circle.

Other developers in the area still object to providing storefront retail on their ground floors. They prefer the notion of the bland see-it-all-at-a-glimpse-at-50kmh approach. The success of Preston Square validates the mainstreet efforts of our planning dept.

May we see many more better quality developments like this.

8 thoughts on “What should go at street level? (part i- the good)

  1. If I’m not mistaken, did they not also provide funds for a southern connection to the would be nice to have and maybe one day we’ll get it Gladstone Station?

  2. I worked in this building for 9 months between December 2010 and August 2011. The street address of the four-storey building is actually 401 Preston Street. I don’t think Adobe, Xerox or RBC use any office space in the lowrise. They are all in the two highrises set back between Preston and Rochester Streets. It’s all part of the same complex, all managed by Sakto (not sure if they are the developer or just the property manager).

    Anyway, most of the lowrise is occupied by provincial ministries whose offices were formerly scattered all over town. It’s a pretty nice building to work in. I spent money at a lot of the businesses both in the building and up and down Preston while I worked there; being within an easy walk of Preston Hardware was especially handy a few times. In my mind, this building is proof that accommodating offices for a bunch of public servants doesn’t have to result in bland buildings or streets that are dead after 5 p.m.

  3. one hidden gem in this building, is the lounge inside the main doors (behind security). it is open everyday, including weekends. there are tables, couches, washrooms and a relaxing waterwall. you can sit, read the paper, drink a coffee from the place i will not name, or from simply biscotti across the road and not be hassled.

  4. …And the four-storey Preston Square building is actually at 347 Preston Street. 401 is the civic number of my current office building. I get so easily confused.

    Also, the lounge meg refers to is really quite nice, if you don’t mind the two huge TVs constantly showing cable TV news programming. It seems to be a very popular hangout for police officers as well. Not sure why, other than it being a handy place to have a coffee and catch up on paperwork.

  5. Andrew – on the weekend the TVs are off and the space is empty (well, except for me). Not sure it the tvs are on the evening? It is open until 10 or 11pm.

  6. Another bonus – our running group discovered that there are public washrooms available early Sunday morning. Big washrooms with multiple stalls – excellent for a quick group pit stop on a long run.

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