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NEWS: Estonian Centre gets green light (Jan. 2021)

January 27th, 2021 · 1 Comment

New building plan clears hurdles at Committee of Adjustment

View, looking East from Madison Avenue, of the soon to be constructed Estonian Cultural Centre. The proposal has widespread support from the residents’ association and the city alike. COURTESY ALAR KONGATS

Residents and shoppers alike were surprised to see the Green P parking lot on Madison Avenue close in early January. The city had been leasing the space for Green P but that lease was not renewed by the property owners who also own the adjacent 11 Madison Ave. The owners plan to begin construction soon on the International Estonian Centre, a cultural and community space. In July of 2016, the Gleaner did a feature on that pending development. We include it again here as a reminder.

Site on Madison Avenue to be converted from Green P parking lot to the Estonian Cultural Centre. BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

BY JUAN ROMERO 

The Committee of Adjustment at the City of Toronto and the Annex Residents’ Association (ARA) have approved the latest changes proposed for the New Estonian Cultural Centre. The new centre, to be located in the Annex, will replace the current building, located on Broadview Avenue.

The Estonian Centre’s project committee had submitted eight minor changes to the design of the building. These changes, which included adjustments to the building’s height and parking, were well received by neighbours.

“In the latest proposal we liked the design and we were in favour of the changes. We think it will be really beneficial for the Estonian community,” says Sandra Shaul, the chair and director of the ARA.

The three-storey building will be located on Madison Avenue, where the Green P parking is located, which is very close to the Estonian Tartu College.

The new centre will be used by the Estonian Credit Union, the Estonian Choir, and Estonian schools and it will be occasionally rented out to third parties as well. Public events such as Estonian events and celebrations will also take place there.

Despite wide approval for the development of the centre, the Estonian Vice-Consul in Toronto, Tom Heinsoo, says the community is divided on the project.

“Some people in the community thought it would be better to spend the money on the existing house on Broadview and renovate the current building,” says Heinsoo, who adds that he is in favour of the creation of a new centre. “I do think the majority of people realize that it wouldn’t be financially logical to renovate the old building since it would cost a small fortune to bring it up to modern standards.”

According to the Estonian Centre’s due diligence report, the Madison Avenue project is set to cost approximately $25 million.

Construction is scheduled to begin in January [2021].

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