Tag Archives: media attention
Lisa Rainford – InsideToronto.com
After years of uncertainty surrounding a block of houses on the north side of Bloor Street West between Pacific Avenue and Oakmount Road, nearby residents learned what’s in store for the boarded up homes at a meeting, Monday evening, June 14.
The Daniels Corporation recently finalized a deal with land owner WJ Properties and “as a courtesy,” said Neil Pattison, Daniels’ manager of development, “we thought we’d come here to tell you what we’re proposing.”
Taking into account the height of the surrounding buildings, said Pattison referring to the high rise towers in the vicinity that range from 11 to 30 storeys, Daniels is considering developing a mid-rise condominium complex at 14-storeys.
“The building is arranged in a U-shape to face Bloor Street West with frontage on Pacific Avenue and Oakmount Road,” said Pattison. “It would frame Bloor Street with retail use at street level.”
Its height and massing would not overwhelm the surrounding neighbourhood unlike the “slab” towers built in the 1960s and ’70s, according to Pattison.
“We know through public consultation that residents don’t want high rise towers in their neighbourhood,” he said, referencing proposed developments in the Kingsway and at Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West.
The condo complex would also be comprised of stacked townhouses with front doors on Pacific Avenue and Oakmount Road. Vehicular access, including pick-up and drop-off areas and underground parking, would be through a courtyard at the rear. There would be limited surface parking. Instead, Daniels is proposing two levels of underground parking. It would aim to meet the city’s standards, but Pattison pointed out that the proposed building would be close to both the High Park and Keele subway stations.
“The height steps down from 14 storeys to six on the southeast end with glazed components to make it lighter,” said Pattison. “We have an exciting opportunity for the TTC corridor lands. We’re now looking to create community garden lots. The gardening lots would be available to the wider community.”
This is a concept that Daniels has incorporated in some of its other projects, including the redevelopment of Regent Park, which it undertook in partnership with the city.
“It’s been a huge success,” said Pattison. “It will help the building connect physically and socially to the existing neighbourhood.”
There would be 8,000 to 9,000-square feet of retail space along Bloor Street, but it’s too early to know who the tenants could be. It could be comprised of two large businesses or 12 small ones, said Pattison.
A rental housing replacement program is in place to offset the loss of rental properties, Pattison assured. The tenant issue is resolved and the properties are all vacant, said Pattison referring to the recent eviction of a woman with severe chemical sensitivities, who garnered media attention last month. WJ Properties has been acquiring the lands over the past 40 years.
Daniels is about a month away from filing an application with the city. It will take into account the comments it received during Monday’s meeting, said Pattison.
The proposed condominium would meet Toronto’s Green Development standards and would incorporate a green roof and rain water harvesting. As for unit size and price, it’s too early to say, said Pattison.
While High Park Avenue resident Sean Hertel said he is “excited” about the potential development because he wouldn’t have to walk all the way to Bloor West Village for its retail shops and bakeries, he said he is concerned about the affordability of the condos. He said he is worried that developers are turning the area into a “boutique.”
“Please take that into consideration,” he told Pattison.
Another resident wanted to know if Daniels’ building would be in keeping with the character of Bloor Street West because it would be located across from High Park.
“At the end of the day, we want to sell this building,” said Pattison. “We’re not going to build an ugly building.”
Pattison assured that Daniels would not demolish the existing houses until “we’re ready to put shovels in the ground.”
“It would be about two years before we start,” he said of the process. “No demolition can take place until we get approval.”
Residents voiced their disdain for the existing homes they described as derelict, unsafe and unkempt to which Pattison said Daniels would work with the community to ensure the safety of residents and the preservation of the houses.
Not happy with the proposed height, community members asked why the developer couldn’t build a shorter condominium.
“Would a six-storey building be possible,” asked one.
Fourteen storeys is what the Daniels Corporation feels is “appropriate.”
Parkdale-High Park Councillor Bill Saundercook said he was surprised that Daniels came to the meeting armed with a proposal.
“They did a little more homework than I expected,” he said.
Asked for his opinion on the proposal, the councillor said “I don’t like the big wall effect it would have on Bloor Street.”
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Tony Wong – Yourhome.ca
Forget about the fake lake. What if you can’t close on the sale of your property because your bank was shut down for the G20 Toronto summit?
While media attention might be on the uproar over the $1.9 million man-made lake and pavilion being built for the media at the meeting of world leaders, real estate and legal professionals are worried over a potential “disaster” in the making.
The last Friday in June is traditionally the busiest for house closings from buyers who have purchased in the spring market that saw record sales this year. If downtown banks close during that week thousands of closings could be affected creating major market turmoil, say industry professionals.
“It was already going to be brutal without the summit because we’ve been so busy. The timing couldn’t be worse,” says Andrew Zsolt, president of Coldwell Banker Terrequity Realty Brokerage.
Zsolt, who has 14 offices in the Greater Toronto Area, said he expects his agents to close about 500 sales at the end of this month alone.
“We usually tell buyers to try not to close in the last week of June because it’s so busy. It’s right after school and before full cottage season so they’re all in a rush. It could be a bit of a disaster,” says Zsolt.
On Tuesday the Law Society of Upper Canada issued an advisory to lawyers saying that they should make arrangements in case retail branches downtown are shuttered for security reasons.
“If you are a lawyer with a transaction that is pending, make sure you make alternative arrangements,” said Roy Thomas, spokesperson for the Law Society.
So far the policy has been in flux as banks monitor how they will be affected by the security perimeter.
“Recognizing the fact that employee and customer access will likely be impacted by summit related activity, we will be closing some branches in close proximity to the security zone,” says Ralph Marranca, spokesperson for Bank of Montreal. Marranca said no specific details on branch closings were available as yet, but some branches had been proactively reaching out to customers to advise them of any alternate arrangements.
Bank of Nova Scotia spokesperson Joe Konecny meanwhile says some branches in the downtown core would be open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the summit, but would be closed on Thursday and Friday.
“We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to provide for the continuity of business,” says Konecny. “We will adjust our business continuity plans as necessary.”
The Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s largest bank said no closings were planned at the moment.
“There are continuity plans in place in case we have to make adjustments,” said spokesperson Don Blair.
Bob Aaron, a real estate lawyer and Toronto Star columnist, says he has written to his bank in frustration trying to figure out how the closings would have an impact on his business.
“My bank tells me I’m on my own to make arrangements for alternate banking on June 24 and June 25. That’s hardly the appropriate level of customer service,” Aaron complained to the TD Bank in a letter sent Tuesday.
Mohammed Nakhood, a spokesperson for the bank says TD was “evaluating potential bank closings” but had not made a final decision as yet. As for alternate arrangements, Nakhood says it would be “speculative” to guess what they would be at this point.
Aaron says that’s not acceptable, since lawyers would be left scrambling at the last minute to figure out how to close deals.
“There could be financial penalties and lawsuits because we have failed to close,” he says.
The summit of the top world leaders will take place in Toronto June 26 and 27, but a security zone will be in place before then. Some office towers surrounding the Metro Convention Centre will have severely restricted access as a result, with a security bill in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Meanwhile realtor Zsolt says his wife, who works for TD Bank has been told to stay away from the office and work from home.
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Young buyers willing to raise family in condos, but want green features
Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen
Rising housing prices in Vancouver and Toronto are prompting more Canadians to buy condos, with some younger buyers predicting they would be willing to raise a family in these vertical neighbourhoods, according to a survey for TD Canada Trust.
Nine out of 10 respondents to the on-line survey also rated green or environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings very important when deciding to buy, according to the annual condo survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for TD Canada Trust which was released earlier this week.
Eighty per cent also indicated proximity to public transportation was also key when deciding where to buy, says the online survey which polled 725 adults 18 and older living in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Halifax between March 1 and March 5.
Ottawa was not part of the survey, but would likely have a similar response to Montreal, says Joan Dal Bianco, vice president, Real Estate Secured Lending for TD Canada Trust.
Condos are a more popular housing choice in Vancouver and Toronto because of high housing prices and the high price of land, says Dal Bianco, adding a majority of respondents did not want to spend more than $400,000 for a condo.
Between 15 and 20 per cent of all new homes sold across Ottawa are condos, traditionally appealing to baby boomers trading their family homes for an urban address and for young professionals buying their first home.
Toronto condos are also getting bigger, meaning they provide better housing options to raise a family, says the banker, adding it is now not a given that couples automatically sell their condo and move to the suburbs when they start a family.
High prices are a contributing factor, but there is also a desire to stay in the urban core.
“More people are now more comfortable living in the city with children. There is the convenience of living close to work, she says.
The proportion who would consider raising a family in a condominium has increased significantly to 30 per cent from 20 per cent a year ago,.
The green issue is also becoming increasingly important because people are more aware, there is a government focus and more media attention, says Dal Bianco.
Surprisingly, it was older respondents who valued the green factor higher, she says, adding boomers realized the energy savings when going green.
In Toronto, Minto is building energy-efficient condos and in Ottawa, Windmill and the Westeinde family is behind construction of the Currents, an eco-condo on Wellington Street that will also be the new home of the Great Canadian Theatre Company.
The TD is also considering launching green financing, giving preferential rates to buyers of eco homes, says Dal Bianco. “Stay tuned. There could possibly be a program announced in the spring. It is a busy period.”