Progress in re-development of London's SoHo neighbourhood
Phase One of the public and private re-development of London's SoHo neighbourhood is nearing completion.
A stretch of Colborne Street at South Street, next to the former South Street Hospital lands, has become one of the fanciest places in town.
John Fleming, chief planner for the city, says it's designed to impress and attract new development.
"That's really the idea here, leading with public investment that in turn can spur private sector investment."
When completed, it will be entirely concrete, with protected tree lines, wide sidewalks and street parking for future businesses.
It's the groundwork for what the city hopes will be a mix of waterfront highrises and heritage buildings leading to a promenade along the Thames River.
But there's almost no one there to enjoy it, yet, except for Axel, who lives in the only occupied home on the stretch of road.
"It's pretty impressive in here. We call it the rock star corner, the big wide sidewalks and all this business," he says.
The project cost $5 million, with only half-a-million going to making the street beautiful.
The project's head engineer, Ugo DeCandido, says most of the money was invested underground, with water, sewer and electrical that could accommodate big development put in.
"It was a great opportunity for us to integrate some of the future plans, and some of the infrastructure needs, to make it more of a complete street approach," he says.
Fleming adds, "It's only the starting point, and when we see elements like the promenade come in to play, that will, I believe, illustrate the vision even more so."
And the street likely won't remain vacant for long, with proposals for the hospital site expected soon, and signs for private developers posted all along the street.