My daily walks have educated me about the way the city is constantly changing. Buildings and businesses rise and fall so rapidly, a two-week interval between routes is always sufficient to guarantee some major novelty to note.
New streets are rare, though, so I am recording the appearance of this one on nearby Edgewood Avenue. A Catholic public school has been demolished. Frame and chipboard townhouses will line a new road that cuts at a right angle through the old school foundation and across the former playing field.
I wish that I had photographed our local commercial strip along Gerrard when we moved here in the 80s. None of the stores are the same today. I especially miss smiling at the bold red letters identifying the misspelled PERFERRED PRINTING shop.
Never too late to start, so here’s one from today. The old corner store has been temporarily fluffed into sales office for condo units that will be standing on the site before long. The demolition permit has been issued.
You might be amused to see how the condo has been presented since its introduction back in 2007. It has been a long and twisted road. Let’s start at the beginning.
The corner store and adjacent dry cleaner became a developer’s target…
Once a number of store properties were assembled, the real estate needed to be improved with permits that would make it more valuable. Part of this process required a drawing showing a planned new condo. 28 units with retail on the ground level. The owner would live in the penthouse with a view of the lake (through the thicket of cellphone towers on the roof next door).
Magically, all of the ugly hydro poles have vanished. The drawing was presented to the neighbours who predictably took pot shots at it. Too many storeys, balconies rob back yards of privacy, parking and traffic impact, breaks the zoning … etcetera, etcetera.
A revised drawing emerged, mollifying some of the neighbours, but many demands remained unsatisfied, as is usually the case. Here’s the revision.
In spite of the changes and the nice colour in the picture, a stubborn citizenry would not go for it and the developer took his case to the Ontario Municipal Board which has the power to ignore local opinion, and usually does. The developer got his green light. It had taken a couple of years, but that investment paid off. The real estate was worth more with the OMB blessing, so the propery was sold. Ka-ching!
Developer 2, the buyer, appeared with his new drawing. His unit would contain 64 units, not the original 28, because economics would never allow a mere 28 units to be built. (Interesting that OMB approval allows developers to squeeze in as many units as they can sell, as long as the building’s footprint remains essentially the same.) Now a plan that could actually materialize was being offered. The earlier process was just part of the long, slow dance. It appears that nobody ever really intended to build what was shown in the first sets of drawings.
Has the fantasizing finally ended? Will this be the building at the corner in a couple of years? Or are we looking at another “dream home” concept that will turn out to be different yet again.
Note that now, not only the ugly hydro poles, streetcar wires, traffic lights and signs have disappeared, so has the giant building on the left. That neatly removes the cellphone towers and suggests a view of the lake that is pure fantasy.