Pickering Town Centre Near Toronto to See Ambitious Redevelopment with 6,000 Condo Residences to Create Thriving Urban Hub [Interviews]

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Pickering City Centre, a new mixed-use community by CentreCourt Developments, located directly off Highway 401 at the epicentre of Pickering’s emerging downtown core, will become a new thriving urban centre featuring more than 6,000 condo residences across more than 10 mixed-use towers and a revitalized Pickering Town Centre Mall.

The 55-acre acre development will also have a unique collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Canada to bring world-class virtual healthcare to future residents.

“Pickering City Centre is an unparalleled opportunity to transform a cherished community hub into a modern downtown destination,” said Gavin Cheung, Managing Partner, President, CentreCourt

“As one of the fastest growing submarkets in the Greater Toronto Area, Pickering is on the cusp of an exciting moment. We are proud to be a part of this natural evolution, and to ensure Pickering City Centre becomes a true, complete community that showcases some of the finest residential, retail, commercial and public spaces in the GTA for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Pickering City Centre Renderings (Credit: CentreCourt Developments)
Media Event at Pickering Town Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Media Event at Pickering Town Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

CentreCourt acquired the property earlier this year from a pension plan. On site is a 700,000-square-foot enclosed, two-level shopping centre as well as 13,000 square feet of office space in a separate building both serviced by a direct bridge connecting to the downtown Pickering GO Station. 

“It’s a large community focal point for the City of Pickering. It’s an enormous site,” said Cheung.

“In terms of drawing up the base assets where you would want residential density, having those existing assets in the mix was very compelling.

“A lot of what made it appealing (to acquire) is the city itself had the vision for this site and we knew there was something special that the city from day one would be bought into. Pickering is an amazing community. It has all the sort of amenities that you would want, high density around. It’s got employment growth that would support a lot of densification.

“But what it’s lacked, and this would be something that local politicians will tell you, it’s lacked a true downtown. So what drew us to this – the ambitious vision for this master-planned project – is to create that new downtown, is to create a downtown that complements the incredible growth and evolution of the City of Pickering, what they have in store and what they have planned.”

Pickering City Centre Renderings (Credit: CentreCourt Developments)
Media Event at Pickering Town Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Donald Schmitt at the Media Event (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

New at-grade retail will complement existing uses and connect the community via tree-lined streets, enhanced sidewalks, and active pedestrian walkways.

Globally acclaimed architecture firm Diamond Schmitt designed Pickering City Centre to include an intricate network of large open green spaces and urban plazas, helping build its identity as a place that brings people together. 

Donald Schmitt

“The connected series of wide streets, parks, midblock landscaped courts, and urban piazzas are designed to connect people and activate a sense of community,” said Donald Schmitt, CM Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “With the tallest high-rise building at 55 storeys, it was important to design a grade related network of amenities that support walkability and community connection. The cornerstone elements of the development include urban squares, which integrate the new community with a transformed retail precinct connected to public transit and other lush public green spaces. These spaces will be places for community gatherings, markets, festivals, and performances where residents and visitors come together for special moments including sporting events and social gatherings.”

Pickering City Centre will offer an unprecedented collection of world-class amenities for future residents, including a 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness centre that will feature yoga rooms, spin rooms, saunas, and high-end fitness equipment. Other amenities in the towers will include a rooftop pool, outdoor lounge areas and grilling stations, co-working and social areas, and a golf simulator lounge.  Residents of Pickering City Centre will also enjoy the lush interior courtyards that connect to the network of green spaces, accessed at the doorstep of many of the at-grade amenities.

Pickering City Centre Renderings (Credit: CentreCourt Developments)
Mike Kessel at Media Event (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

CentreCourt is also unveiling plans for a “Virtual Clinic” provided by the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. This marks the first amenity of its kind in Canada to be offered in a condominium master-planned community, allowing all residents at Pickering City Centre to connect with a Cleveland Clinic Canada clinician and receive a diagnosis or referral without needing to leave their building.

Mike Kessel

“We are excited to bring high-quality and convenient healthcare directly to residents and support the innovative lifestyle that the Pickering City Centre offers,” said Michael Kessel, President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic Canada.

Cheung said Pickering has had an incredible growth profile in recent years for both population and employment. The City has also been growing the infrastructure for that at the doorstep of the master-planned community at Pickering City Centre.

“As the Mayor of Pickering, I’m thrilled to help launch this transformative project that will be a major step forward towards reimagining and revitalizing our downtown,” said Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe. “This signature development, located in the heart of our City Centre, will bring the density where it should be. We envision a dynamic, walkable, sustainable, and connected destination that will become a bustling downtown node, welcoming visitors, commuters, and residents alike. We believe that a community cannot be complete without a thriving downtown, and this project will be the key to fulfilling that vision.  With our iconic pedestrian bridge seamlessly linking our downtown to the GO station, we aim to attract more visitors and workers to come to Pickering and experience the vibrant energy of our City Centre.”

Kevin Ashe

Cheung said that when you look at a lot of the options in the marketplace where you can build on a shopping centre site, they’re often not nearly as integrated, not nearly as connected, do not have the city support, do not have the civic infrastructure existing and planned, do not have the transit access, do not have the population and employment growth, that Pickering offers.

“The mall itself is critical to the vision of the master plan. It’s been the long-standing heart and soul of Pickering. We’re looking to improve it, to add new tenants, create a modern, urban destination within Durham Region and beyond,” he said.

Cheung said the plan is to open the door to the public for sales of the residential condos in the Fall. 

“It is a new form of housing for the region of Pickering in terms of having high density communities. The vision of both CentreCourt and the City of Pickering is to create this new community that delivers a new mode of housing in service of creating that downtown,” he said. 

Pickering City Centre Renderings (Credit: CentreCourt Developments)

“If you look at the Durham Region generally and Pickering specifically it’s an extremely low density area and for an area that has the population growth it’s obviously a topic when it comes to affordability. By bringing new homes online, we’re offering a mode of housing that is significantly more affordable than the low rise options that are currently dominating the discussion.

“There’s an affordability crisis in Ontario and across Canada generally. But we believe it will be most acute in these areas that are growth nodes, that are experiencing the growth profile of the population of Pickering. It’s forecasted to grow over 50 per cent in the next 15 years. That type of growth requires high density housing as part of the solution. And we believe the time is right, the appetite from city leaders is there, the vision is there to support the growth, the right type of assets in the right place with the right civic infrastructure around it and transit accessibility. For all those reasons it felt just like the perfect opportunity at the right time for us and the right time for the province and the city.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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