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New 20,000 square foot, $7-million affordable housing project nears halfway point

There's a poignancy to posthumous dedications. The satisfaction in remembering is mixed with the knowledge that the person being honoured isn't able to share in it.

That bittersweetness is heightened in the case of Edmond Place, an affordable housing development going up at Queen and Dowling. A luxury building with 12 apartments when it opened in 1913, it had been a 55-unit rooming house for 15 years by the time Edmond Yu, for whom it's now named, was evicted in 1996, just a couple of months before he was shot to death by police on a bus in the middle of a schizophrenic episode.

"We wanted the name of the place to be part of its goal," says Victor Willis, executive director of PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre), the organization that is developing the city-owned property, on which it holds a 50-year lease, "a place where someone like him wouldn't have been evicted."

At about 20,000 square feet, designed by Hilditch Architect to fit in behind the heritage fašade, Edmond Place will offer 29 affordable apartments to people with histories of mental health and addiction problems. Originally budgeted at $4 million, the budget expanded to $7 million when the extent of the destruction inside the old building, which had been damaged by fire in 1998, became clear. It's set for completion by the end of this year, with occupancy expected in January, 2011.

Still $300,000 short on its capital goal, Design Hope Toronto is holding an art auction to raise funds on April 16 (see a previous story on Yonge Street about Design Hope).

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Victor Willis

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