Another Wicksteed development

The billboards went up this summer for the latest big development in Leaside east of Laird.

The Rockport Group plans to turn a 9.50-acre site in the heart of the Leaside Business Park into a mix of condominium and rental offices, warehouses and show- rooms to be called the Wicksteed Business Park.

It runs south of Wicksteed and east towards the Don Valley Park- way.

Jack Winberg, president of the Rockport Group, says, “Wicksteed Business Park will rejuvenate and strengthen the area.”

He says the project was based on “demand from people in Leaside”.

The business plan, which the company says complies with city planning requirements, features five large two-storey buildings with spaces from 1,000 to 30,000 sq. ft.

It’s all still in the planning stages, but the Rockport Group aims to have the first phase occupied by August next year. Completion of the project could take three years.

Michael Tucci, director of land de velopment and acquisitions for the Rockport Group, said “they have done their due diligence with the city and have met with staff from the planning department, urban design, economic development and Councillor ( John) Parker”.

He said plans will be filed with the city this fall and a presentation will be made to the Leaside Business Park Association this month.

The first  customer  has already signed up: John Panagakos, of Do-minion  Lending Centres Home Fi-nancial Inc., bought a 2,000 sq ft. unit to moved his office here from Danforth Ave.

Winberg says their target markets range from “people retiring from a major job and starting their own busi-nesses to those who want to live and work close to industrial and employment lands”.

The Leaside Business Park is in a transition phase. Over the years many companies such as Canada Wire, WinPak, Alcatel, an aluminum smelter, and Corning have moved out. It’s difficult to compete with lower taxes and less expensive land in the 905 area.

Some remaining business owners in the LBP are concerned about the loss of employment lands and that speculators may buy up the land. Some wonder whether the new condo owners will object to the noise and smells within the industrial area.