Distillery District new condo plan gets mixed reactions

Published On May 24, 2017 | By Nathaniel Marksman | Business


Proposed three-building condo plan in Toronto’s Distillery District.
(Courtesy: City of Toronto)

By: Esther Klein, Fareah Islam & Lucia Yglesias

A newly proposed three-building condominium plan in Toronto’s hot Distillery District has driven a wedge between developers and residents.

Condominium developers say it will preserve the historic significance of the area while residents believe it will ruin its unique heritage.

ERA Architects, the developer of the project, feels the addition of the buildings will continue to renew and preserve one of Toronto’s heritage sites.

However, some residents disagree.

“I am not on board,” resident Rebecca Kogon said. “I do not want more congestion, I do not want shadows being cast upon Trinity Square, and I do not want the sound of construction coming from my window.

“The condos in no way will preserve the heritage,” she said. “It will detract from it.”

Will Coukell, with the Architecture Conservatory Ontario, an organization that helps communities preserve historical buildings and structures, with Kogon.

“The neighbourhood is not prepared for 1,000 new units,” Coukell said. “Certainly, the schools, libraries and community centres can’t handle that many new people in the community. It’s a standard of living issue.”

City of Toronto planner Henry Tang said the city has noted the congestion problem and will take it under consideration.

Edward Skira, co-founder of Urban Toronto, an urban development and real estate website, argues the area would not have survived if it weren’t for the development that has already taken place.

“They took strong bones and fixed up a lot of those old buildings and put new life to them,” he said. “From that perspective it’s great.”

Skira believes adding more condos will add vibrancy to the community.

Frank Palermo, an expert in community development and urban planning and professor at Dalhousie University, agrees with Skira.

“If done in a sensitive manner by incorporating the heritage sites in the planning process then it can do something to highlight that area,” Palermo said.

The city will make a final decision on the proposal in August.

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