Future of Lorne Ave Public School

What is happening?

The former Lorne Ave Public School site is being redeveloped into parkland and new residential infill. The former school building will be demolished.

City staff are preparing a Zoning By-law Amendment to permit the reuse and redevelopment of a portion of the property for a neighbourhood park and a potential range of new land uses complementary to the neighbourhood.

There will be future community information meetings about the zoning amendment in Sept and Nov 2017. Planning staff are targeting a Dec 2017 meeting of planning and environment committee for the public participation meeting on the zoning amendment. Concurrently, work will start on the archaeological assessment of the and demolition of the former school building. The demolition work is planned to run from Oct 2017 until Spring 2018.

What has happened so far?

  • 2 Sept 2014: Civic Administration submitted the proposed Offer to Purchase to the Thames Valley District School Board to acquire the Lorne Avenue Public School property at a purchase price of $550,000.

  • 15 Oct 2014: The City of London entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale with the TVDSB to acquire the Lorne Avenue Public School property located at 723 Lorne Avenue, subject to several conditions. The Lorne Avenue Public School property was acquired by the City of London to meet a critical need for parkland in the Old East Village neighbourhood.

  • Jan & Feb 2015: City staff met to discuss the process to establish the community engagement schedule and the potential mechanisms to find a suitable purchaser.

  • 23 April 2015: The city met with OEV residents to share information on the history of the site, discuss the RFP process, identify potential locations for the park and assuming the sale and retention of the school building and learn from the community about their high-level goals, objectives and vision for the parkland.

  • 31 March 2015: Municipal Council endorsed the process outlined by the Corporate Services Committee regarding engagement with the local community to solicit private interest and opportunities to retain the school building. If no successful proposals were obtained throughout the RFP process, the second scenario would be the creation of a park on a portion of the site and demolition of the school building to repurpose the land in a way that is compatible with the community.

  • 12 Feb 2016: RFP16-10 – Adaptive Re-use Opportunity: Lorne Avenue Public School Building was released with a deadline of 25 March 2016. This deadline was later amended via an addendum to the RFP to be 24 March, as the 25th was Good Friday. 
  • 23 June 2016: Municipal Council deferred consideration of consideration of the delegation status by William Komer, Executive Director, Campus Creative, until staff provide an update on the Lorne Avenue Public School Request for Proposal process. This decision was made to assist the Corporate Services Committee in determining when/if to grant the delegation request.

  • 28 Oct 2016: The City took possession of the Lorne Avenue Public School property.

  • 6 Dec 2016: Council approves business case #2 (PDF) as part of the 2017 budget update, which increases the budget for holding and carrying costs of corporate properties by $400,000 annually. Costs associated with owning the Lorne Ave Public School property are part of the rationale for this business case.

  • 21 Feb 2017: Report to Corporate Services Committee about options for the property. The committee recommends proceeding with the previously endorsed process and demolishing the building. The committee also recommends that staff re-engage the community by holding a community meeting and continue to evaluate any future unsolicited proposals to repurpose the building.
  • 2 Mar 2017: Council unanimously passes corporate services committee recommendation.

  • 11 Apr 2017: Corporate services committee recommends allocating $3,000,000 of the $4,600,000 operating surplus for 2016 to cover the demolition, hazardous materials abatement and site restoration costs for the property.

  • 18 Apr 2017: Council approves $3,000,000 budget for demolition.

  • 20 Jun 2017: Report to Corporate Services Committee providing an update on the Lorne Ave Public School site. Committee unanimously recommends proceeding with the demolition and returning any future unsolicited proposals unopened to the proponents.
  • 26 Jun 2017: Council unanimously passed the recommendation from Corporate Services Committee.

  • 27 Jun 2017: City planning staff hosted a community information meeting at Boyle Memorial Community Centre, which included a presentation from city staff and a workshop where residents worked in groups to develop concepts for the parkland and residential infill.

Request for Proposals Update

  • After the 23 Apr 2015 community information meeting, feedback from the was incorporated into RFP 16-10 – Adaptive Re-use Opportunity: Lorne Avenue Public School Building and was released on February 12, 2016 for six weeks.

  • A community member was chosen by the community to sit on the RFP Evaluation Committee.

  • The RFP and Addendum (the original closing date was on Good Friday) were available to the public for five weeks prior to the deadline. The RFP closed on March 24, 2016.

  • The RFP did not result in an eligible submission for review by the Evaluation Committee. One submission was received late. As per standard RFP protocol, the late submission was returned to the proponent unopened.

  • As “Scenario A” did not result in an eligible submission for repurposing the building, the next step in the council-endorsed process would be to proceed with demolition of the building per “Scenario B”. However, before preparation for “Scenario B” began, an expression of interest regarding a future use for the Lorne Avenue Public School building was received by William Komer, Executive Director, Campus Creative. A second confidential expression of interest was also received by staff after the RFP closed.

Unsolicited Proposals Update

  • On 21 Feb 2017, Corporate services committee considered a staff report, which outlined the following options for Municipal Council to consider if they wish to move forward with the disposition of the Lorne Avenue Public School building on a severed reduced site:

    1. Direct negotiation with a potential purchaser - Realty Services would conduct direct negotiations with a prospective purchaser(s) to arrive at an agreed upon purchase price and terms and conditions of sale.

    2. Competitive Tender - This option requires Realty Services to suggest a market value for the land and call tenders for the sale of the school building and land. Broad advertising would be recommended. Staff would administer at a low cost to the city.

    3. Modified Tender through a Real Estate Broker - This option involves engaging a Real Estate Broker to market the building for sale through a Modified Tender Process (MTP). In an MTP the asset is taken to the open marketplace without a price. A period of time is specified for marketing of the property and a deadline for submissions is set. There are costs for advertising and the Real Estate Broker fees.

    4. List the building for sale by a Real Estate Broker - This option involves engaging a Real Estate Broker to list the building for sale on the open market including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This advertising could be marketed locally, regionally and nationally. Broker fees are payable on completion of a sale.

    5. (Recommended by staff) Continue on the previously endorsed process and demolish the building - Preparing for this scenario would involve identifying a source of funding for a Stage 2 archaeological assessment and for demolition. The estimated cost for demolition, hazardous materials abatement, and site restoration is $3 million. The timeline for demolition would be at least 12 months after a decision to proceed with demolition.

    Corporate Services Committee recommended Option 5, continuing on the previously endorsed process and demolishing the building. Committee's recommendation also stated: "in the event that staff feel that there is a viable opportunity for retention of the building that comes forward prior to its demolition, the Civic Administration BE DIRECTED to bring that opportunity forward for the consideration of the Municipal Council."

    Corporate Services Committee also recommended that staff be directed to hold a community meeting to re-engage the Old East Village community, to update them on the current process and state the community’s vision for parkland and residential infill on a cleared site.

Why a park?

  • Back in 2014, staff recommended acquisition of the site for neighbourhood parkland and recreational space because it contributes to the City’s ongoing neighbourhood revitalization efforts in the Old East Village and ideally lessens the impact of losing the school by replacing one community focal point (school) with another (park).

  • In 2014, in support of purchasing the land, the analysis of parkland and open space was conducted for this portion of the Old East neighbourhood. It was determined that the existing neighbourhood currently does not have any parkland within the boundaries set as arterial / major roads. The current target is 800m and the community’s closest parks (Boyle Park, Carling Heights Optimist Centre / McMahen Park and Queen’s Park) do not meet that standard.

  • The Parks and Recreation Master Plan sets out targets for developing neighbourhoods to provide 3 hectares of parkland per 1,000 population. According to 2006 Census data, this neighbourhood has approximately 3,310 people and if the “developing neighbourhood” target of parkland plus open space was applied to this situation, there should be approximately 9.9 hectares of parkland/open space available. However, with no school and no parkland available, the Old East Village has a unique neighbourhood parkland deficiency.

What happens next?

There will be future community information meetings about the zoning amendment in Sept and Nov 2017. Planning staff are targeting a Dec 2017 meeting of planning and environment committee for the public participation meeting on the zoning amendment. Concurrently, work will start on the archaeological assessment of the and demolition of the former school building. The demolition work is planned to run from Oct 2017 until Spring 2018.

Melissa Campbell (Planner II, Current Planning), 519-661-2489, ext. 4650 or mecampbell@london.ca.

Members of the Corporate Services Committee including myself and my colleagues Paul Hubert (Chair), Harold UsherJosh Morgan, and Tanya Park.

Peter Strack is the president of the Old East Village Community Association. His email is oevcapresident@gmail.com.

Jen Pastorius is the manager of the Old East Village BIA. Her email is jen@oldeastvillage.com.

How do you think the city should proceed with the Lorne Ave Public School site? What questions do you have?


Showing 9 reactions

  • commented 2017-08-14 18:21:59 -0400
    There is a shortage of viable new business start up space in the Old East Village area. We are a new business start up growing vegetables hydroponically indoors year round offering fresh, local produce to the community and are seeking suitable space for our business in the OEV. The Lorne Ave school would be an ideal location for the relocation of the London Small Business Centre and offer affordable space for new business start ups. The school yard could be re-purposed to allow the construction of a community garden where residents could grow their own vegetables during the growing season. The city should seriously re-consider demolition of this invaluable building as it has much potential and offer the community.
  • commented 2017-02-20 20:03:27 -0500
    I believe that parkland is the logical option. A small amount of private housing would be an acceptable addition only if the sale of required portion were to recoup demolition costs and replenish parks budget from which monies were allocated to purchase site and building.
  • commented 2017-02-20 20:00:42 -0500
    I believe that parkland is the logical option. A small amount of private housing would be an acceptable addition only if the sale of required portion were to recoup demolition costs and replenish parks budget from which monies were allocated to purchase site and building.
  • commented 2017-02-16 20:06:38 -0500
    I believe that the demolition of the building, development of a park on part of the site and then severing the remainder for housing is the best option at this point.
  • commented 2017-02-15 20:55:05 -0500
  • commented 2017-02-15 19:58:58 -0500
    The land should be turned into a dog park. This can be done right now as there is a large area of grass. Many of us in the OEV have dogs and it’d be a great way for us to socialize together. There is a park at Boyle for kids & sports and there is Queens Park for picnics. There is nothing for the pet owners of OEV. Make the existing green space at Lorne Ave a dog park and if you can’t sell the building & demolish it, then expand the dog park on that land.
  • commented 2017-02-15 17:43:06 -0500
    park and splash pad for our children in OEV
  • Jesse Helmer posted about Future of Lorne Ave Public School on Jesse Helmer's Facebook page 2017-02-15 17:00:21 -0500
    A report is heading to council on the future of the Lorne Ave PS site. Learn more and share your thoughts #ldnont
  • @jesse_helmer tweeted this page. 2017-02-15 17:00:17 -0500
    A report is heading to council on the future of the Lorne Ave PS site. Learn more and share your thoughts #ldnont http://www.helmer.ca/future_of_lorne_ave?recruiter_id=5608