Community leaders in Little Italy and Chinatown want a say in the future of a prime piece of real estate near Oak Street, where a former warehouse and one-time armoury is set to be demolished.

Michael Powell Dalhousie Community Association Sept 3 2014

Michael Powell, president of the Dalhousie Community Association, is hoping for a design plan that favours pedestrian and cyclist traffic over cars. (CBC)

"The opportunity is to start from, quite literally, a blank slate. So we're really excited. ... There's a real opportunity to get it right," said Michael Powell, president of the Dalhousie Community Association.

Tenders recently went out for the demolition of the federal government's Oak Street complex, which is close to the O-Train line and a multi-use pathway. The complex dates back to the Second World War, when it served as an armoury.

The yard is now being used for storage space during renovations on Parliament Hill. The massive warehouse sits mostly empty and has been condemned.

Demolition will begin in October, according to Public Works. For now the land will be backfilled, graded and landscaped.

Future plans for the site are still being developed.

Lori Mellor Preston Street BIA Little Italy Sept 3 2014

Lori Mellor, head of the Preston Street BIA, is hoping for a grocery store, a year-round farmers market, and piazza space. (CBC)

The community association is hoping for more green space, as well as an overall plan that encourages pedestrian and cyclist traffic over cars, Powell said.

Previous concepts have suggested adding north-south roads into the area, as well as extending Oak Street and other nearby streets into the site, which Powell said likely isn't necessary.

"I see huge potential, if we can get this right," said Lori Mellor, head of the Preston Street Business Improvement Area.

The BIA is worried that the land will be sold off in little chunks, making it difficult to achieve a site that meets the needs of the communities around it, Mellor said.

"The wish list is a year-round farmers market in a piazza space, a grocery store, artist work and live space, mixed density residential housing, and a piece that would be federal office buildings," she said.