Corp Comm Connects

Public invited to weigh in on latest design revisions for old Honest Ed’s location
Development proposal for Mirvish Village has been modified three times, making adjustments on the height and density of four rental-unit towers and public market coming to Bathurst and Bloor Sts
March 1, 2017
Laura Beeston

The public has a chance at a community consultation meeting Thursday to weigh in on the latest design revisions slated for the old Honest Ed’s location.

The development proposal for Mirvish Village has been modified three times, making adjustments on the height and density of the four rental-unit towers and public market that’s coming to Bathurst and Bloor Sts.

Highlights of the redevelopment plan include mixing 850 rental apartments (down from the original 928 units) with small storefront retail and a food hall, expanded cycling infrastructure to connect with the bike lanes on Bloor St., and a wider urban footprint for a public park space.

The latest plan calls the tallest tower to be 28 storeys (one less than the previous proposal).

Pending final approval of the revised planning application, the developer is hoping to start construction by summer and will likely begin demolishing some of the non-heritage buildings in May.

Westbank Corp., the luxury development company at the helm of these changes, has called the project “one of Canada’s great city-building opportunities.”

“The project is infinitely better today than it was three years ago and that’s partly because the more time you spend, the better (plans) become — and also because we’ve had a lot of really great input,” said Ian Duke, principal designer for Westbank.

“Honestly, this project is worth all the effort. We’re confident that, at the end of the day, we’re going to deliver something that everyone can be really proud of.”

Twenty-three of 27 listed heritage buildings on the property will also now be revitalized and incorporated into the site.

Westbank is “really trying to retain that historic streetscape, which is so unique,” Duke said. “Those buildings need investment if they’re going to continue to exist for the next century, so we’re investing in those houses to give them new life and, ultimately, they’ll be home to more restaurants and galleries and boutiques.”

Westbank anticipated the entire project will take three years to build.

After Thursday’s meeting, the next step will be a report of recommendations on the proposal to community council, likely at an April 4 meeting, said Graig Uens, a senior planner with the city.

“Ultimately, it’s up to council to approve or deny the application to amend the zoning bylaw,” he said. “Part of the process is to understand community feeling.”

Uens has received hundreds of comments from Torontonians throughout the development process, first made public in July, 2015.

“The meetings have been really well attended to date,” he said.

A final farewell party at the landmark store was held last weekend to celebrate the closing of Honest Ed’s after 68 years.

Thursday’s community consultation will take place at the Bickford Centre Cafeteria on Bloor St. W. starting at 6:30 p.m.