Financial Incentives for Revitalization and Redevelopment in the
Downtown and the Old East Village
The late 1980's and the early 1990's saw change in the role and
function of the Downtown and the Old East Village Business District.
This change was characterized by the loss of the retail dominance of
these areas resulting in a lack of business investment; declining
levels of property maintenance; and, the closure and/or relocation
of existing businesses.
In the late 1990?s the City of London
introduced a number of financial incentives to encourage the
revitalization and renewal of the existing building stock in the
Downtown and the Old East Village. These incentives had the effect
of not only stemming the trend of decline, but reinvigorating
investment and interest in the core and the Old East. These
financial incentives included:
These programs have played a significant role in encouraging
private sector development along the Dundas Street corridor:
Since 2000, the private sector has invested, on average, $27
million dollars annually in the Downtown core. This investment has
led, amongst other projects, to the construction of 11 new
residential towers housing 3,000 new residents in the downtown.
Since 2005, the private sector has invested, on average, $5.2
million dollars annually in land and buildings in the Old East
Village. These expenditures represent a 400% increase in investment
levels previously recorded in 2004. Development applications
representing a further $80 million dollars are currently under
review by the Planning Department for the Old East. Vacancies rates
in the Old East dropped from 25% in 2003 to 18% in 2007.
While the performance trends noted above are impressive, many of
the buildings on the Dundas Street corridor in the Downtown (from
Wellington Street to Talbot Street) and the Old East Village
Business District (from Adelaide Street to Charlotte Street) still
exhibit signs of deterioration. Investment to maintain or improve
some of these buildings has been minimal, and their long-term
sustainability is threatened unless improvements and investment are
made. Despite the public and private investments that have been made
in the Downtown and the Old East Village, the Dundas Street corridor
is still not fully realizing it's potential.
To assist in the revitalization of Dundas Street, Vision
Statements for the corridor in the Downtown and the Old East Village
were developed in early 2007. While the Vision Statements differ,
they are consistent in their themes of the need for vibrant,
distinct pedestrian-oriented uses, retention of the unique heritage
building stock, and daytime and evening activity as the basis for
In 2008, the City of London adopted an enhanced series of
financial incentives to realize the vision of a revitalized Dundas
Street corridor. While the City programs could be described as
"bricks and mortar" programs where the focus is on the built
environment, the new initiatives link the ?bricks and mortar? to
targeted ground floor uses so that revitalization efforts are tied
to the types of uses that will fill the street level spaces within
the Dundas Street corridor.
The intent of the new programs is to focus the revitalization
efforts on the targeted incentive zones for the next five years.
This limitation on these new programs will both focus the
revitalization efforts and create the sense of urgency to bring
property owners, Main Street London and the Old East Village
Business Improvement Area Association together to bring targeted
uses to the ground floors of vacant and under-utilized properties
along the corridor. The success of Dundas Street is critical to the
success of the Downtown as a whole, and the redevelopment of
London's Main Street should be the focus of the City's
revitalization efforts. Similarly, the success of Dundas Street as a
commercial corridor for the Old East Village is an essential element
of the revitalization of the larger Old East Village community.
The new financial incentives for the Dundas Street Corridor
include (in Downtown and the Old East Village):
*Programs also applicable to the entire Downtown Community
Improvement Plan Area.