New Amherst underway after 17 years
After a 17-year struggle, development is underway in New Amherst in Cobourg, Ontario. The new urban community was designed by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and is under development by Max LeMarchant and partners. The long saga is recounted by the Toronto Star in a February 16 article.
LeMarchant’s interest in New Urbanism (back then called neotraditional design) began when he heard a presentation by Andres Duany on the Cornell project in Markham. LeMarchant and partners had assembled 272 acres (110 hectares) for development.
At the time, the idea of building a mixed-use neighborhood was novel and it took until July of 1997 to get approvals from Cobourg. A mortgage dispute arose in 1998, the Star reported, and about 100 acres of the site “that seemed critical to getting services were forfeited and eventually sold to another developer. The rest of the New Amherst lands were disassembled.”
The project was brought back to life in 2003 at the suggestion of Rae Carruthers, one of LeMarchant’s partners, who still owned land at the site. More parcels were assembled and development got underway. In April of 2006, the first residents moved in. About 60 houses are built, the Star reports. “Eventually, up to 1,000 homes will be built on 54.6 hectares of the 141-hectare site.”