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Rental replacements for Kingsway condo project could be located just down the street

The developer behind a luxury condo and townhouse development on The Kingsway may be allowed to build the replacement rental units it’s required to provide in another location.
North Drive Investments Inc. has proposed an eight-storey building with 30 condos and five street-level townhouses on a triangular piece of property at 2800 Bloor St. W., marketing the project as 4 The Kingsway (though that address currently doesn’t exist). The building, designed by architect Richard Wengle, would require the demolition of an existing building that has 10 rental units, all currently vacant.
“We want to be sure we replace the units that are being demolished,” says city planner Greg Hobson-Garcia.
Typically, the city would require those rental units to be built on the same site where they were lost. But heading into an October hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the city adopted a motion that would permit North Drive to provide those rental units further east, in another residential and commercial project North Drive has proposed for 2114 Bloor St. W. This kind of arrangement is unusual because it creates uncertainty around whether the rental units actually get built and are in the vicinity of the lost units. To set the city’s mind at ease, North Drive has submitted a Letter of Credit worth $1.5 million to secure the provision of the rental replacement units.
The development at 2114 Bloor St. W. is further dependant on the developer acquiring a small triangular piece of city land. City Council voted to support that deal and direct “that arrangements satisfactory to the City” are made for the owner to acquire the property. That 2114 Bloor St. W. proposal, for a 10-storey mixed-use building comprised of 110 residential dwelling units and street-level commercial property, has attracted the ire of some local residents.
The city also voted that the developer make Section 37 contributions of $200,000 and meet other design requirements in order for the 2800 Bloor St. W. project to proceed.
To speed things up, the OMB agreed in a July 29 decision to administer the two properties together during the hearing process.
Further complicating matters is that back in 2010, the city had passed a bylaw to let the previous property owner build an upscale seniors home on the site. That bylaw, which still dictates what can be done with the property, required that only three replacement rental units be built, though the city has argued that option was tied specifically to the seniors home proposal.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Greg Hobson-Garcia
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