Northern Light

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Interesting -- I actually come to the opposite conclusion based on the same premise described in the first sentence of this post! I would vastly prefer any interior placement of the park over one fronting Dufferin, both because the road is such an unholy mess of cars being driven at breakneck speeds, and it doesn't make sense to me to have an "extension" of Dufferin Grove because it's sort of just wasted space.

Also an interior siting makes for a less relentless block pattern, and improves the livability of the units fronting it.

I can understand what you're going for; I think part of the problem is that the existing proposal north of the mall/on the mall's surface parking involves putting a small park on Dufferin.

Once that's done...........any subsequent interior park will be a smaller, less usable space.

Unless, in a future development, the City traded the 'new' park on Dufferin for an even larger interior space.

It's all rather hypothetical.

But for me the issue is about park size; and any choice where the local street grid is substantially restored will be accessible to area residents from all sides.

So I lean to a critical mass of size that allows quality (room for a soccer field or whatever) as opposed to two different parks both too small to realize true potential.
 
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concrete_and_light

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Yeah I also agree with @ADRM, I'm not sure that the park positioning along Dufferin would be the best given the hostility of Dufferin and with Dufferin Grove right there (which is already quite a sizeable park) there's not really as much need for green space there. I feel like everyone would just go across the road to the very nice Dufferin Grove and the park on the west side would end up being relatively unused.

I lean much more to Option C which does create quite a significantly sized park independent of Dufferin Grove in the middle of the site which could itself be a destination, and would be more accessible to those in the neighbourhoods west of the site and for those walking south down the new street from the development to the north. It would also create an interior public space that could potentially help foster more street life and potential retail viability along its edges on these internal streets and make the entire area more green throughout.
 
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carrythezero

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From the latest H&R REIT investor update:

Dufferin Grove.PNG
 

AlbertC

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Not sure if there's a link publicly available to this statement but here's an update and commentary from Councillor Ana Bailao's newsletter:


Statement on the 900 Dufferin Grove Development Application Settlement

I am pleased to announce that we have secured a significant contribution toward affordable housing in Davenport as part of the recently approved 900 Dufferin Street development proposal.

On October 18th, 2021, a final Ontario Land Tribunal hearing took place where the revised plans for the 900 Dufferin Street (Dufferin Mall) development application were approved, in principle. Among the revisions: a substantial affordable housing package that had been sought by City Council, City Staff and Community Organizations. We achieved a precedent-setting agreement in terms of affordable housing contributions here and this was thanks to our community working together for a better outcome.

After City Planning held the initial Community Consultation Meeting in February 2020 and the developer appealed their application to the provincial appeal body, I created a Community Working Group composed of area residents and local stakeholder organizations who met regularly with my office and City Planning Staff. Its purpose was to meaningfully consult the community by looking in-depth at the proposal and to team up in demanding greater accountability from the developer. Occasionally we would invite the developer to the table to hear our proposals. I want to thank the Community Working Group for the strong vision it advanced in late 2020 on behalf of the broader Davenport community. The Working Group's vision helped set the tone for negotiations with the developer, making it clear that this community expected benefits contributions far greater than the required minimums.

Appeal processes are never easy. As soon as the developer launches an appeal, final approval authority is taken out of the City’s control and it becomes up to the provincial appeal body to approve. The Ontario Land Tribunal is less accountable to our community and not very accessible to everyday citizens. Despite this, there were several community members who dedicated additional hours to this process by becoming a party at hearings. Standing out in this respect, I would like to recognize the concerted efforts of local residents’ group, Build a Better Bloor Dufferin. BBBD had party status at the Tribunal alongside the City and they advocated for the Bloor-Dufferin community’s interests. Additionally, BBBD was a great contributor through the Community Working Group and supported the overall vision.

I would also like to thank the hundreds of Davenport residents who provided us with comments over the years in relation to the 900 Dufferin proposal. Through the many calls and emails we responded to, at pre-application community meetings, public meetings and online, my office and City Planning appreciated hearing your views. It is critical that the community is engaged and has a strong say in how our City is built. Therefore, I am always happy when residents reach out and I make a point of incorporating this feedback continuously.

With the amazing support of the Working Group, BBBD, residents and City Staff, we were able to secure 120 affordable housing units for 99 years.

Further, the Housing Secretariat will be working to develop a Housing Access Plan where the affordable housing units will be rented to tenants provided by local referring agencies and tenancies will comply with the City of Toronto's requirements for tenant selection, income verification, reporting and overall administration of affordable rental homes.

The overall revised development proposal includes three towers; on the East Block there will be one 19-storey tower on a 9-storey podium with retail at-grade. The West Block consists of two towers (20 and 36 storeys) on a base building which ranges from 2 to 7 storeys in height, with various step backs starting above the 2nd floor. The total new gross floor area proposed in the revised application is 101,272 square metres - 84,200 residential and 17,072 non-residential (mostly commercial/retail). A public park with a minimum size of 2,079 square metres is identified, and a POPS at the northwest corner of the site of a size of 435 square metres. Parking and bicycle parking will be determined through a revised transportation impact study. The West Block has been shifted east to protect for an 18.5 metre future public right-of-way along the west edge of the site, as an extension of Pauline Avenue.

My commitment to the community is that I will continue working on your behalf to ensure that all aspects of this project are delivered to the highest standards and all terms are adhered to according to the agreement. I look forward to providing you with ongoing updates as additional milestones are reached in the delivery of these community benefits.
 

Northern Light

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Not sure if there's a link publicly available to this statement but here's an update and commentary from Councillor Ana Bailao's newsletter:


Statement on the 900 Dufferin Grove Development Application Settlement

I am pleased to announce that we have secured a significant contribution toward affordable housing in Davenport as part of the recently approved 900 Dufferin Street development proposal.

On October 18th, 2021, a final Ontario Land Tribunal hearing took place where the revised plans for the 900 Dufferin Street (Dufferin Mall) development application were approved, in principle. Among the revisions: a substantial affordable housing package that had been sought by City Council, City Staff and Community Organizations. We achieved a precedent-setting agreement in terms of affordable housing contributions here and this was thanks to our community working together for a better outcome.

After City Planning held the initial Community Consultation Meeting in February 2020 and the developer appealed their application to the provincial appeal body, I created a Community Working Group composed of area residents and local stakeholder organizations who met regularly with my office and City Planning Staff. Its purpose was to meaningfully consult the community by looking in-depth at the proposal and to team up in demanding greater accountability from the developer. Occasionally we would invite the developer to the table to hear our proposals. I want to thank the Community Working Group for the strong vision it advanced in late 2020 on behalf of the broader Davenport community. The Working Group's vision helped set the tone for negotiations with the developer, making it clear that this community expected benefits contributions far greater than the required minimums.

Appeal processes are never easy. As soon as the developer launches an appeal, final approval authority is taken out of the City’s control and it becomes up to the provincial appeal body to approve. The Ontario Land Tribunal is less accountable to our community and not very accessible to everyday citizens. Despite this, there were several community members who dedicated additional hours to this process by becoming a party at hearings. Standing out in this respect, I would like to recognize the concerted efforts of local residents’ group, Build a Better Bloor Dufferin. BBBD had party status at the Tribunal alongside the City and they advocated for the Bloor-Dufferin community’s interests. Additionally, BBBD was a great contributor through the Community Working Group and supported the overall vision.

I would also like to thank the hundreds of Davenport residents who provided us with comments over the years in relation to the 900 Dufferin proposal. Through the many calls and emails we responded to, at pre-application community meetings, public meetings and online, my office and City Planning appreciated hearing your views. It is critical that the community is engaged and has a strong say in how our City is built. Therefore, I am always happy when residents reach out and I make a point of incorporating this feedback continuously.

With the amazing support of the Working Group, BBBD, residents and City Staff, we were able to secure 120 affordable housing units for 99 years.

Further, the Housing Secretariat will be working to develop a Housing Access Plan where the affordable housing units will be rented to tenants provided by local referring agencies and tenancies will comply with the City of Toronto's requirements for tenant selection, income verification, reporting and overall administration of affordable rental homes.

The overall revised development proposal includes three towers; on the East Block there will be one 19-storey tower on a 9-storey podium with retail at-grade. The West Block consists of two towers (20 and 36 storeys) on a base building which ranges from 2 to 7 storeys in height, with various step backs starting above the 2nd floor. The total new gross floor area proposed in the revised application is 101,272 square metres - 84,200 residential and 17,072 non-residential (mostly commercial/retail). A public park with a minimum size of 2,079 square metres is identified, and a POPS at the northwest corner of the site of a size of 435 square metres. Parking and bicycle parking will be determined through a revised transportation impact study. The West Block has been shifted east to protect for an 18.5 metre future public right-of-way along the west edge of the site, as an extension of Pauline Avenue.

My commitment to the community is that I will continue working on your behalf to ensure that all aspects of this project are delivered to the highest standards and all terms are adhered to according to the agreement. I look forward to providing you with ongoing updates as additional milestones are reached in the delivery of these community benefits.

BlogTo on the above:

 

AlbertC

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Briefly mentioned in this article:


H&R, HOOPP and the Primaris spinoff


The Primaris spinoff plan also involves the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). Primaris will own interests in 35 properties with an appraised value of approximately $3.2 billion, encompassing 11.4 million square feet of gross leasable area.

H&R will contribute 27 properties with an appraised value of approximately $2.4 billion and HOOPP will contribute eight properties with an appraised value of approximately $800 million.

H&R unit holders will receive units in Primaris on a one-for-one basis.

Alex Avery will become CEO and a trustee of Primaris, and will resign his current position as an officer and trustee of H&R as part of the effort to create two separate entities.

“Primaris will be extraordinarily well positioned to take advantage of market opportunities at an extraordinary moment in the evolution of Canadian retail,” Avery said during the call. “The REIT will have significant scale with a $3.2 billion national portfolio of enclosed shopping centres that are dominant in their trade areas.”

He said it will also be well capitalized, with one of the lowest leverage ratios of any Canadian peer. The debt-to-gross-book value is forecast to be 29 per cent when the spinoff closes. The new trust targets an FFO payout between 45 and 50 per cent.

It also plans an intensification program.

“Our intensification development pipeline is anchored by our flagship property Dufferin Grove, where we expect to replace surface parking with 1,300 residential units across three towers and 130,000 square feet of new retail space,” Avery said.

The spinoff will reduce H&R’s debt by $579 million, the outstanding mortgage balances on the Primaris properties. H&R has applied to the TSX for the listing of Primaris units with the ticker PMZ.UN, following the expected closing in late December 2021 or early 2022.
 

Northern Light

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smably

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Retail-Insider with a feature story on this development:


In the piece, an interview with Matthew Kingston, an Executive VP with H&R REIT, mention is made of starting construction in about a year.
I had no idea that it was doing so well!
“The addition that we’re making to Dufferin Mall’s retail presence adds to the current 588,000 square feet, and will bring the total commercial space at the mall to over 700,000 square feet,” he asserts. “It’s a mall that, prior to the pandemic, was already welcoming more than 12 million visitors every year. With respect to shoppers per square foot, there aren’t too many malls in North America that are busier. It’s incredibly well-travelled. And, despite the tumultuous times that retailers have been experiencing of late, the mall has next to no vacancies. With respect to the new retail space that’s going to be opening up as part of the expansion, we have a number of potential tenants currently involved in very productive discussions with us.”
Just for reference, the Eaton Centre is a bit over 2 million sq ft and had around 49 million visitors in 2015. Square one is even bigger and has around 24 million annual visitors, and apparently Yorkdale only gets ~18 million visitors per year? So Dufferin Mall is in the big leagues.
 
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Northern Light

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I had no idea that it was doing so well!

Just for reference, the Eaton Centre is a bit over 2 million sq ft and had around 49 million visitors in 2015. Apparently Yorkdale only gets ~18 million visitors per year?

It is doing well, for what it is......

But it's important to qualify that.

It's not in the 'Top 30' malls in Canada in sales per ft2

1643816943683.png


That said, the 12M visitor number, as compared to the #10 Mall in Canada (CF Richmond Centre) which had 17.9M is impressive.
 

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