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NEWS: Plans for a “slender” building (August 2019)

September 2nd, 2019 · No Comments

Compromise found for new build on 300 Bloor St. W. church site

By Ahmed Hagar

A redesigned and more “slender” 29-storey tower looks to be the future for 300 Bloor Street, after a lengthy public process and, finally, an agreement between developers, city councilors, and residents.

The tower will attach to the historic Bloor Street United Church (BSUC), and will include office space, public space for community events, 249 residential units, and an underground parking garage.

The developers, Collecdev Inc., KPMB Architects, and ERA Architects in partnership with the church, originally proposed that the building be 38 storeys high. But they shifted their proposal to a 27-storey development due to concerns about the height. The height remained a concern for a number of vocal residents at a public meeting last December.

City planner Barry Brooks says what led to the final 29-storey height is that the base of the building to the rear was lowered by the applicant from 8 storeys to 5 storeys.

“The tower height increased 2 storeys as a result to maintain a reasonable overall project density,” adds Brooks. “The height adjustment will greatly improve the pedestrian relationship and experience on the adjacent sidewalks, and it will not cast a shadow on the residential neighbourhood.”

Councillor Mike Layton explains that the shadow of the more slender building will move more quickly through the day, and therefore make less impact on important spaces in the area.

He adds that the updated plan also includes the developer-contribution of $2.3 million for affordable housing and $416,000 in assistance for the accommodation of the Annex Seniors Adult Services in the building.

At the final working group meeting for this proposal, Annex Residents’ Association (ARA) chair David Harrison said the negotiations were successful due to all parties wanting to reach a consensus.

The proposal also includes refurbishing the interior of the 133-year-old church to create a multi-faith space for the church congregation and the City Shul synagogue. Layton says the Bloor Street entrance will be removed to create a “more inviting and acceptable” entrance to the worship space.

Michael Hilliard, a member of the BSUC and chair of the church’s redevelopment committee, says that the building plans were 20 years in the making. He also says that it will have accessible public spaces for the community and office spaces for the new headquarters of the United Church of Canada.

“When I step back and envision the future of this project I imagine a beautiful space that’s vibrant and live with activity, a place where people can live, work, play, and pray,” he said.


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