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BABIA endorses Westbank proposal

July 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

The Bloor-Annex Business Improvement Area (BABIA) has endorsed Westbank Corp.’s proposal for the redevelopment of the large area at the southwest corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets that includes Mirvish Village and Honest Ed’s.

“We have been deeply engaged with the developer and recognize its outreach to the community,” said Brian Burchell, chair of the BABIA, and publisher of this newspaper. “At the outset, we set some principles that we hoped the developer would meet.”

Those principles include: the preservation of Mirvish Village both in terms of its built form and the unique nature of its shopping, dining, and cultural experience; pursuing small owner-operator tenants for its retail spaces; broad consultation with the community; and developing a destination space that would draw people to the community thereby benefiting the BABIA membership.

According to Burchell, Westbank Corp. has met these conditions, and as such has earned the organization’s endorsement, even though Westbank hasn’t yet officially submitted an application to the City of Toronto.

“We have this one opportunity to comment,” explained Burchell. “We are prohibited under city bylaws governing BIAs from commenting once the application is in the hands of the city.”

Burchell’s big concern is that the area would become something like Yorkville, “which has no soul, whereas Mirvish Village has it in spades”.

With the Westbank development, Burchell added, the area will continue to be “a destination in itself. It will be the BABIA’s new western flank, and we welcome it on our doorstep.”

—Annemarie Brissenden/Gleaner News

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