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Bloor West Village : Development News

5 Bloor West Village Articles | Page:

Toronto reached new heights during Yonge Street's lifetime

Founded in 2010, Yonge Street has covered growth and development during a remarkable period of Toronto’s history.
While cities south of the border have struggled with how to rise from the ashes after the global financial collapse of 2008, the main challenge I’ve faced as Development Editor (and before that as Managing Editor and Civic Impact Editor) has been choosing which of the myriad of projects unfolding across the GTA to write about. Yonge Street has never had to scramble for story ideas; it’s had to be strategic about sifting through a deluge of them to find projects that are the most innovative, the most engaged in creating a city bursting with public spaces and civic pride. A condo of less than 30 storeys hardly seems worth writing about these days, unless the development meets an incredible LEED standard, creates new parkland or otherwise makes a unique contribution to the community that will host it.
Projects like Diamond Corp’s The Well, covering seven and a half acres at Front and Spadina, the redevelopment of Honest Ed’s Mirvish Village, Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts on the site of the old Guvernment night club and, just last week, Menke Development’s purchase and redevelopment of 11 acres of provincially owned land on the waterfront will be transformative not just in their districts, but for the city as a whole.
And that’s just the private sector. Government-backed partnerships to redevelop Regent Park, the central waterfront and the West Don Lands have already rendered those districts unrecognizable to someone who hasn’t visited lately. And by “unrecognizable,” I mean that thoughtfulness and smarts have swept aside decades of neglect.
Sometimes the rapidity of the GTA’s growth can be worrying. The towers going up like dandelions along Yonge Street from Dundas to Bloor could turn our adorably ramshackle main street into something like a Bay Street wind tunnel. The towers going up on Church Street could make the Village a much less affordable place for young LGBT people just starting out. Liberty Village and the Queen West Triangle have seen their share of uninspired design.
But over the last six and a half years I have seen an increasing conscientiousness among the top developers, and an increasing diligence and vision among city planners (shout out to chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat). To my taste, at least, the projects unveiled in the last three years have been better designed and more thoughtfully integrated into their neighbourhoods than what went up in Yonge Street’s first three years. Given the opportunity, clear expectations and useful community feedback, many developers want to build beautiful buildings and to create resilient, accessible and diverse communities. The latter has become a sales feature.
The increasing amount and quality of public interest and public consultation have pushed our leaders to do better. There has been more collaboration between government and the private sector to build small-business incubators, community hubs, affordable housing, recreational facilities, green space and even schools into new projects. These have been years when great ideas can become reality.
I can sympathize with those who complain, “Not another freaking condo!” The number of wallet-emptying floor-to-ceiling-window glass boxes in the sky is no measure of a healthy, thriving city. But little by little, the bar has been raised. I’m proud Yonge Street has been part of that conversation.
Writer: Paul Gallant

Traffic lights getting resynched across the city

You may not have noticed, but traffic in the downtown core is getting more efficient.

That's a result of the wholesale re-synching of traffic signals on major arteries, including Bloor.

Though it may seem a minor thing, timing traffic signals correctly, taking into account changing populaiton density and whether big new stores have opened, can have a huge effect on how long it takes you to get somewhere, and how much gas you use to get there.

Acording to a recent study from the city's Traffic Management Centre, the recent realignment along Bloor resulted in a 24 per cent reduction in the number of stops an average car makes, a 16 per cent increase in average speed, and a 13 per cent reduction in the amount of gas used and greenhouse gases emitted.

Though international studies have determined re-timing should be done every three to five years, Toronto got a little behind, according to Rajnath Bissessar, the city's Manager of Urban Traffic Control Systems, "due to the lack of staff resources."

One of the adjustments that has been made along Bloor, Adelaide, Richmond and Kennedy, and that will be made in the coming months along Victoria Park, Kingston, Weston, Keele, Parkside and Lawrence is the creation of what Bissessar calls "green-bands"--those long stretches of road where you seem to hit every green light, co-ordinated not only to make you feel like things are finally going your way, but to reduce stop-and-go traffic, which is bad for fuel consumption.

The city has plans to re-time 270 signals by the end of the year, after adjusting 110 of them in 2012. The plan as a whole was adopted by council on June 11.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Rajnath Bissessar

One Old Mill begins construction in upscale Etobicoke 'hood as sister building nears ground-breaking

Tridel’s moving into a relatively open market with its One and Two Old Mill condos on Bloor West just east of the Kingsway.

"There's ourselves, and a Lanterra project behind the Old Mill," says Tridel VP Jim Ritchie, summing up the condo space in the vicinity. "So it services south Kingsway, the Old Mill community and Bloor West Village."

And though not exactly bargain priced, the units, which start around 650 square feet, are considerably less expensive than the notoriously pricey homes in all three of those areas. Ritchie says one floor plan in particular sold especially quickly, mostly to single women: the 850 square foot one-bedroom plus den, which include two bathrooms, unusual for one-bedrooms.

Construction on One Old Mill began in November, and demolition of the sales centre at 2500 Bloor West is imminent, making way for Two Old Mill, which is nearing its 70 per cent sales mark.

The 12-storey, 275-unit One Old Mill is designed by Kirkor Archictects, which also designed Two Old Mill. Ritchie expects it to be ready for occupancy by fall 2013.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jim Ritchie

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Green Toronto Awards nominations now open

Nominations opened this week for the 2012 Green Toronto Awards, though the most interesting category from the 2011 edition has been dropped.

Last year, the awards expanded to include a green homes category, aimed at individuals who had done something remarkable to or with their own homes.

"It wasn't our strongest category," says Jessica Chow, co-ordinator for the city-sponsored awards. "We don’t know why. We noticed a lot of them were, 'Oh, I recycle in my home.' It wasn't really what we were after."

So this year, it's been folded into the more general green design category, where individual homes will now compete with eco clothing, green roofs and other design innovations.

Nominations can be submitted here until midnight on Feb. 6. Winners will be announced in March.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jessica Chow

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

12-storey, 270-unit condo to launch next month in Bloor West Village

Bloor and Old Mill is about to get its second condo.

Across the street and a little east of the area's only current condo, the low-rise Brule, Tridel has acquired the lot between the two GM dealerships and will build a 12-storey, 270-unit condominium at 1 Old Mill Drive.

"There's very little condo stock here," says Jim Ritchie, senior vice president at Tridel, of the west Bloor West Village neighbourhood. "We're surrounded by quite a bit of variety of housing, but it's on the more expensive side."

So while saying his new project will not be exactly downscale, the 650 to 2,300 square foot units will likely start in the low $300,000s and appeal to working couples who like the 90-second proximity to Jane station.

The design by Kirkor Architects, as Ritchie describes it, eschews the current glass trend for a pre-cast concrete look that allows the building to stay more in keeping with its residential surroundings.

Tridel expects to launch the building, called One Old Mill, by the end of October, and be in the ground, if sales go as expected, by December, 2011 or January, 2012, and be ready for occupancy by the end of the summer of 2013.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jim Ritchie

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a cool new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

5 Bloor West Village Articles | Page:
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