wolfewood

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I appreciate that this site is focused primarily on redevelopment but I think Toronto could stand to see a slowdown in new builds in the old city so as to make buildings like this one viable and worth more than just the land they are on. Much of old Canadian cities (especially Toronto and Montreal) have been lost to crappy 60s and 70s era urban planning and so much of what is left is often treated like a placeholder for a future condo or, occasionally, office tower. Considering how much smaller Canadian city centres were historically, it bothers the hell out of me that the best we can do to preserve pre-WWII urban forms is facadicism or rotting stasis.

I mean, I don't mind a heritage structure as facade build as much as some on UT (though god knows there's some ugly ones out there) but is it really such a hardship to ask that we have one less condo and one more pre-war structure, preserved and cleaned up, as both a nice reminder of the past and as a place that can charge cheaper rent than a new build? One of the original draws people had to downtown was that it was a nice, older place (brick factories with their cheaper rents and cool loft style, old homes and commercial buildings with cheap apartments etc.) and yet we're tearing down just that for bland modernity. We don't need to reject all development but I really think the pendulum has swung so far away from preserving the benign old Toronto that we're risking losing all but the most exceptional old buildings and side street homes.

Pardon the rant, @Skeezix comments about this building just twigged something in me today.
 

Skeezix

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Maybe. People used to say the same thing about the building at Yonge and Temperance where Dineen Coffee and the Chase are now. I'm not comparing the buildings, but just pointing out that today's mess can sometimes be tomorrow's surprise. I think what's under that grey paint and neglect looks interesting.
 

Kingster

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Developers are required to attend a pre-consultation meeting with City staff. Would be interesting to know if city staff flagged any heritage issues. I have my doubts.

And, maybe I am being pessimistic here, but I suspect the Corktown association would not be too fussed over the facade here.
I'm suggesting a meeting with the CRBA before the developer talks to the City - it actually helps both parties, from experience. And I can say that the CRBA would most definitely make a good effort to do something with the existing building. Whether that would be successful would depend on a number of factors, not the least of which is the developer's own intentions.
 

wolfewood

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@wolfewood: what measures would you propose to slow the flow?

42

Well, in an ideal world I would simply place a moratorium on demolition permits being issued to buildings older than 1945 without a heritage assessment first being made (and a building inspection if a developer claims the building is on the verge of collapse). To prevent people leaving buildings to rot, I'd develop a system of fines to force owners to either sell to larger landlords (on the condition the building is used) or to force them to make use of the building rather than wait for it to rot and collapse and then sell the land. And, to help lessen rental pressure from the inevitable increased demand preserving older buildings would create, I'd set up a system of tax breaks and grants to encourage the conversion of single family homes to apartments (so basically converting Victorians to small apartments), along with a laneways program to build extra units on the back of existing homes.

That said, even I can see that most of what I just proposed above is fanciful and probably impossible. At the very least, there'd never be the money for the number of inspectors, tax breaks and grants necessary to fulfill my vision (especially in a city as notoriously cheap as Toronto). I think a fair compromise would be to make Victorian commercial buildings basically sacrosanct and impossible to demolish or leave vacant/poorly maintained. We have far too few in my opinion (since downtown has been largely confined to the same city blocks, a lot of classic 4-10 storey storefronts have been demolished and most of what's left are along streetcar suburb/high street type roads) and the fact that the few that remain seem to be more disposable than SFUs (which, while beautiful, are still a dime a dozen downtown) has always struck me as bizarre. The only areas this would really limit development would be parts of Queen, Spadina, College, Church and King, as well as Bathurst, Front, Carlton/Gerrard and Bloor and Danforth to lesser extents. Large parts of downtown and the old city, not to mention the inner suburbs, would be untouched by this idea and might even move some development out of downtown into areas that are currently struggling to get any development. And, before the howls of "but muh property rightttttttttts" that I'm sure a suggestion like that will engender, I see no reason why we can't hold the owners of such buildings to a slightly higher standard in the interests of public beauty and historical preservation. We can and should demand better of landlords in this city when it comes to the rare and beautiful Victorian commercial buildings we still have.
 

Stupidandshallow

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I'm fine with the demolition of these buildings. They have been severely modified (look at those windows). The use of brick on the ground floor/podium makes up for it in my eyes.

I think it's pretty bold to propose a building here. The area is definitely undergoing changes.
 

Skeezix

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I'm suggesting a meeting with the CRBA before the developer talks to the City - it actually helps both parties, from experience. And I can say that the CRBA would most definitely make a good effort to do something with the existing building. Whether that would be successful would depend on a number of factors, not the least of which is the developer's own intentions.

I understood that. I was simply telling you what I think has actually and will happen.
 

AlbertC

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http://www.kohnarchitects.com/187-parliament-street

187 Parliament Street
Toronto, ON

This 100,000 SF building being developed by Downing Street Group will consist of a four storey base containing office and retail commercial space and eight upper floors designed to provide unique live-work space. The building exterior and interior aesthetic will reflect its heritage location in the Corktown District of Toronto, while the entire building is designed in a contemporary manner.
 
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Skeezix

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Is there any development phrase that has less meaning than "unique live-work space"? Marketingspeak for condo units. What is unique about these units?
 
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G.L.17

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And from the City's application website:

Site Plan application to permit construction of a mixed-use building: 4604 sqaure metres of office, 254 square metres of retail, and 30 live-work units
Proposed Use --- # of Storeys --- # of Units ---

Applications:
Type Number Date Submitted Status

Site Plan Approval 16 268588 STE 28 SA Dec 19, 2016 Under Review

OPA & Rezoning 16 268586 STE 28 OZ Dec 19, 2016 Under Review
 

smably

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Per planning docs, different design from the one on Kohn's web site above:
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I like the lack of balconies.
 

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AlvinofDiaspar

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The massing is a little awkwardly lumpy - and the exterior of the eastern end just gives me OCD. They may have skipped the balconies - but I am not sure going straight to patios with balustrade is that much of an improvement. Otherwise pretty acceptable.

AoD
 
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bilked

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