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Developers open conversation for Galleria Shopping Centre redevelopment

The Galleria Shopping Centre evokes both annoyance and nostalgia

At the open house about the future of the Galleria Shopping Centre at the corner of Dufferin and Dupont streets last weekend, there weren’t any architectural renderings but there were a lot of ideas on sticky notes.

Developers Elad Canada Inc. and Freed Developments hosted the well-attended public meeting at the mall itself, which is often maligned for its dated 1970s vibe, slim offerings and oversized parking lot. The 12-acre site, which sold for an estimated $80 million, has had a long redevelopment history of false starts. A 2004 application went the furthest, proposing 1,600 residential condominium units in six buildings ranging between six and 19 storeys, as well as a block of 20 stacked townhouses, four new public streets and 1.35 acres of parkland added to adjacent Wallace-Emerson Park. The current developers have said the 2004 proposal does match what they see for the site—they want the property to be mixed use with commercial—and seem to be in listening mode. So were community members, some of who fear massive towers, while others see any proposal as an improvement.

“My takeway is that the developers recognize that it’s a site with enormous potential just because of the size,” says Evan Castel, an attendee and co-chair of the Davenport Neighbourhood Association. “They’re also aware of the diverse interests and diverse needs of the neighbourhood and so they seem to want to move forward in a collaborative way.”

Residents were concerned about density and the ability of the neighbourhood to absorb large numbers of new residents; the Dufferin bus can be pretty packed. Green space was also up for discussion, says Castel.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Evan Castel
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