Why Centro Square Will be a Game-changer for Vaughan
Concrete is being poured at Centro Square, a 1.1M SF mixed-use community at Weston Road and Highway 7 that Liberty Development Corp SVP Marco Filice tells us will be key to creating a transit-focused urban centre for Vaughan.
We snapped Marco atop the project's freshly formed parking garage. (It's not even open, and already we can't remember where we parked.) Centro Square will include two residential towers, 784 units total, and a 10-storey office tower with 120k SF of space, all of it on a podium with 125k SF of retail. The complex also will boast a one-acre rooftop park, complete with bocce ball lanes. Liberty's crew is building this big boy all in one go—four cranes dot the 4.5-acre site—and occupancy will commence in early 2017. “It’s one of the most exciting corners in Vaughan,” says Marco, who grew up in the area, thus qualifying him to make that statement.
Centro Square is a key part of sprawling Vaughan’s efforts to develop a denser, transit-oriented downtown. “It’s growing up, not out anymore," says Marco. The complex will have its own stop on the Viva bus rapidway, which will run along the Highway 7 median and connect Vaughan with Richmond Hill and Markham city centres. And just down the road at Jane Street will be a TTC subway station, the final stop on the extension to York. “We want to attract employers in the area to move their offices out of old industrial units and locate near these condo towers,” Marco explains. “And to do that you need substantial transit.”
Construction on the office component at Centro (rendered above) will soon be at grade level, and Liberty plans to officially launch the building this month. But Marco says he's already fielding inquiries from big national companies and midsized enterprise businesses, many of them local. Space can be leased or owned, and with building completion 18 months off, “now's the time.” The vision is for the retail at Centro Square to include a grocer, restaurants, and shops and services on two levels, Marco says, but he declines to dish on who’s signed.
Liberty pioneered mixed-use development in York Region. A decade ago it built Liberty Square in Markham, a 600-unit project with a 12-storey office building (“currently the tallest office tower in York"). Then there's World on Yonge (above), a 1.6M SF community—the largest mixed-use development in York—which has 500k SF of non-res space, including an office building and hotel. And Liberty has a project coming up on Highway 7 at Maplecrete Road, Cosmos Condos, with 1,300 residential units and a 20-storey, 200k SF office tower—double the size of Centro’s.
Centro Square isn't the only mixed-use action on Highway 7, as York works to concentrate high-density development along its major thoroughfare. Just east of Highway 400, SmartREIT is developing Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, and east of that, Cortel Group built Expo City, giving Vaughan its first skyscrapers. Along with Centro Square, these mixed-use projects will bring a slew of new residents and office workers, and the restaurants, shops, services and transit to support them. All of it has Marco envisioning a bright future for his old stomping ground. “We think Highway 7 will be the new Yonge Street.”