Pair of towers 30-plus storeys high are planned for White Oaks Mall. And that’s just the start

Seven months after buying White Oaks Mall, Westdell Developments has applied for permission to build two large apartment towers on what is currently unused parking space in London, Ont. The application calls for the construction of two towers — one 32 storeys tall, the other 30 — connected by a seven-storey podium along the frontage with Bradley Avenue. Together, the two towers would add 568 apartments with a variety of different floor plans.The parking garage in the background of this photo is slated to go as part of the development. The local ward councillor said it’s become an eyesore. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)Elizabeth Peloza , the local ward councillor, said while some residents have concerns about increased traffic, the new rental units are badly needed in a city in the grips of a housing crisis and with fast-rising rents. “I know not everyone will agree with me, but overall I do believe it’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s the first new apartment building we would have seen in this area for 30-plus years.” Westdell Developments plans to build two apartment towers on the White Oaks mall property frontage on Bradley Avenue (Andrew Lupton/CBC)An aging two-level garage on that section of the mall’s parking lot will be removed. Peloza said many residents in her ward won’t miss it. “It’s become an eyesore,” she said. Peloza said the parking lot is a good location for the infill project because White Oaks will become one of London’s four planned transit hubs. The south branch of the Wellington Gateway bus rapid transit line (BRT) is under construction and is slated for completion by 2027. Concentrating new residential construction along transit lines is a key element of the London Plan, the city’s guiding planning document. Westdell is planning other residential towers for the mall’s parking lot. If all are built, there will eventually be a total of nine towers, with over 2,100 units at the location. Transforming unused parking space at malls and shifting them to new residential construction is a trend happening at other London malls and beyond.Peloza said many residents she’s spoken with want more housing options to allow them to stay in the area as their housing needs change. “It’s a large change to the area, but people love White Oaks and many of them want to age in place in their community,” she said. The application will come before the city’s planning committee at a future meeting.

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