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Breezehill Development?

Fri Jan 6, 2012 Miss Vicky 

Miss Vicky received the following question from reader Nancy today:

I love your blog site. Do you have any idea what is moving into the building at the corner of Breezehill and Somerset. I noticed framing on the Breezehill side of the building where there are windows - maybe putting in doors??

Aw, shucks.

I don't have any confirmation about what is happening to the former site of the 168 Market, but I do know the following:

Claridge Homes bought the property several months ago, and even held an exploratory meeting with the Zoning Committee, presumably to feel out how the community might react to a substantial development on the site. Miss Vicky attended the meeting. They were pretty cagey about what we wanted to do but there were plenty of subtext and code words employed. It was pretty clear that their intention is to go high, and they were fishing around to figure out how high the community would allow without too much of a fuss.

This was, of course, obvious to everyone in the room. So the obvious points were made: the community isn't opposed to height, per se (within reason, of course - 35 stories is a non-starter). But there are tradeoffs. The story of how the GCTC came to be part of the development at Holland and Wellington was recounted. Section 37 was referenced as a possible way for the community to be open to a proposal for increased height.

(Section 37 is a mechanism that would allow the city to accept development proposals that do not conform to the Official Plan, in exchange for benefits to the community. I'm not sure the guidelines have passed yet, and they have been under development for some time, but they would mean that the kind of deal that brought the GCTC to Hintonburg - a theatre space in exchange for increased height - would happen more frequently).

There was some hypothetical discussion about what kinds of things the HCA would consider to be a community benefit for more height at that site - things like a grocery store on the main level, parking for Devonshire Teachers, space for the Devonshire daycare program which may be threatened when Full-day Kindergarten comes to that school. There was also some discussion about traffic flow and other possible concerns that might arise if the company planned to go really high.

Claridge was supposed to come back to the zoning committee with a more comprehensive proposal. They had just bought the property and it was early days. Several months have passed, however, and nothing.

Nothing except a lot of activity at the site - they took down the signage before the holidays and now they seem to be putting up walls inside and perhaps putting in doors. Me, I'm thinking showroom for whatever development they're planning to build there. I guess we'll find out sooner or later just what they think a "gateway" building (their favourite code word at the meeting) means.

Some people were moved to reply

maraobj Jan 19, 2012 09:28 PM said:

I was at a community meeting last night with lots of well connected locals and the word on the street is that the 168 Market is going to be a Dollarama. Weird, but from pretty knowledgeable sources. Maybe Claridge is renting for a few years before diving in to developing it. Still, I have a hard time wrapping my head around a Dollarama...

Miss Vicky Jan 23, 2012 01:23 AM said:

yes, that is my understanding. I suspect that Claridge wants to recoup some costs as they gear up to develop it. I suspect we'll get confirmation when Claridge next meets with the Zoning committee

luker Feb 2, 2012 02:44 PM said:

Hi Vicky. I was unable to attend the neighbourhood consultation with Claridge last night and was wondering the details proposed by them. I have heard a variation of 6 stories on somerset and 28 stories to the rear?

Is this true? What other amenities, community uses, and ideas did they propose.

Thanks,

Luke

luker Feb 2, 2012 02:45 PM said:

And what was the general sentiment and reaction from the neighbourhood representatives?

Miss Vicky Feb 2, 2012 09:08 PM said:

Luke - that is correct. Retail at the bottom but nothing specific in mind. I'll do a whole post at some point but that is basically it. They include things like plazas which they consider to be public benefits. Interested in what the community wants as tradeoff for the height if Section 37 actually becomes a reality. Lots of talk among community about traffic concerns, the number of parking spots (300ish!) involved in the underground parking, the size of the units (people recommended including some larger units that would appeal to families). Zoning committee will discuss it at their next meeting and there will be a public meeting at some point. Lots to digest and lots for the community to discuss - like how high are we willing to accept, and for what tradeoff?

also the proposed design was booooooring. Not exactly "gateway" material

Richgold Feb 7, 2012 08:33 AM said:

New question - what's up with Wally Becker's? All the cars are off the lot and it looks like the office area is empty. It seems sudden, especially after they just painted.

Miss Vicky Feb 8, 2012 10:55 AM said:

I'm trying to find out what's up. I heard they had to clear out as they had not paid their bills. Would love to know who owns that property, though

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