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Thread: West Queen West / A&D District

  1. #16
    TdotTrickyRicky Guest

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    I still have mixed feelings about these decisions because I don't think those involved can forsee the long-term implications of their arguments. The OMB can be made out to be either the bane of communities or their saviour depending on how you look at it. It is difficult to stop demographic shifts once they have started. If people are interested in moving into the area flooding the market with multi-residential units is actually a benefitial way to suppress prices and insure that there is a choice of housing options in the long-term. On the other extreme suppressing all new construction actually hastens gentrification trends like population decrease and a reduction in diversity of peoples. Even when community members band together to work towards making their community better the outcomes can be uncertain, meaning the directions they seek do not necessarily result in the outcomes they desire. I always go back to the example of my grandfather who sat on city council in suburban Zurich, where they implemented restrictions on cutting down trees (as they have here). The long-term proven outcome of such a well meaning initiative was a reduction in the number of trees in the city not an increase.


  2. #17
    Bogtrotter Guest

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    Developers moving into artist communities based on it's hip reputation is an all too familiar scene. Artist's, who generally are living on the cusp, are thus forced to move out. Hmm- something not quite right about that.

  3. #18
    andreapalladio Guest

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    Every city that's worth living in has no trouble legislating a place for affordable housing -- including, specifically, for cultural workers.
    Which cities? What's the test for getting the artistic discount? Does one just have to declare oneself an artist - or is some sort of output required.

  4. #19
    Ed007Toronto Guest

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    Its not like the area isn't gentrifying on it own already. All those single family dwellings off of Queen are going to be yuppie land soon enough driving the "starving artists" out. A couple of condos isn't going to make much of a difference in the long term.

  5. #20
    Mike in TO Guest

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    ^ those couple condos may provide a more affordable option then the existing homes in the neighbourhood to some people.

    Many developments that are opposed by some in the community end up having a high percentage of purchasers actually from that community. Minto Midtown and One Bedford have both had a much higher then expected proportion of buyers coming from the very neighbourhoods that opposed them (although the Annex group did reach a compromise deal with Lanterra).

    I find the anti OMB arguements in the newspapers - especially those coming from Toronto politicians to be sensational and intended to deflect blame away from the city and they are misleading thier constituants. The reforms to the OMB were a long process the past few years and did not come into effect until Jan 1, 2007. The decision on the Queen West Triangle came under the rules prior to the reforms... so what purpose would any politician that knows anything about the OMB have to bash the OMB process saying it needs reform (when it just happened) other then for political gain from the area residents?

  6. #21
    unimaginative2 Guest

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    Is this the Westside Lofts project that just got approved? Where is the Alsop project located?

  7. #22
    building babel Guest

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    I don't recall many art students living in that part of town when I was at OCA in the early 1970's. Those of us who weren't living at home with family were either in the cluster of cheap rooming houses north west of Dundas and McCaul, or in flats and apartments all across the downtown area. The gallery scene was in Yorkville then, except for a few north of Dundas opposite the AGO.

    The Queen West gallery scene didn't get going until the mid-1980's as a break-out from the larger scene on Spadina - so it can't lay claim to being either a traditional arts haunt or a set-in-stone arts district in perpetuity that is immune from the kind of market forces and evolutionary cycles that hold sway in all major urban centres. Queen West was block after block of very non-arty working class residential streets throughout the 1970's. No galleries, design stores, bistros etc. - nuthin'.

    I think what we're seeing now, which is different from what happened in earlier generations, is that an art and design community that has reached a critical mass is prepared to fight back against gentrifying trends and try to preserve spaces that work for them. Back in the 1970's there were some artists living in old factories along the pre-developed Esplanade, for instance, but not enough to form such a community. Also, politicians now see votes to be had in expressing solidarity with such communities, something that didn't happen before. Miller and his belated cosying up to the Queen West crowd on this issue is one example.

  8. #23
    mark simpson Guest

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    oh c'mon

    the triangle currently is an eyesore on Queen West of vacant property, former industrial buildings , and parking lots - one decaying building currently housing some artists is to be replace with a market and a rent geared to income mid-rise tower

    the approved buildings will improve access with Abell extended to Sudbury and Sudbury extended to Gladstone and the triangle's overall aestetics eventhough some of architecture is average at best

  9. #24
    AlvinofDiaspar Guest

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    unimaginative:

    The northern portion of Westside Loft by Baird Sampson Neuert is the one currently on sale; Alsop's building is south of the tracks.

    www.toronto.ca/legdocs/20.../it010.pdf

    AoD

  10. #25
    adma Guest

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    The Queen West gallery scene didn't get going until the mid-1980's as a break-out from the larger scene on Spadina - so it can't lay claim to being either a traditional arts haunt or a set-in-stone arts district in perpetuity that is immune from the kind of market forces and evolutionary cycles that hold sway in all major urban centres.
    In this urbanistic light, I guess we must remember that the Yorkville gallery scene was "out in the open", whereas the 70s/80s Queen/Spadina galleries mostly tended to be cubbied away in warehouse/industrial structures (including 401 Richmond, long before Margie Z. took to it). Remember: this was when the loft = artistic creation myth generated.

    Indeed, today's West Queen West has more in common with Yorkville, in the sequence-of-storefront-galleries sense, than anything Queen/Spadina-wise a generation ago...

  11. #26
    TdotTrickyRicky Guest

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    I am also uncertain of the assumptions regarding artists, the health of the arts community and development patterns made in arguments on the subject. On the one hand artists need and use low-income districts and these can be great sources of artistic innovation. On the other hand the arts are for the most part patroned by the wealthy and are in many forms elitist pursuits. Wealthy areas are as likely to have the greatest density of artists and those involved in creative industries as having a negative influence on such activities.

  12. #27
    hardlyamathwhiz Guest

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    On the other extreme suppressing all new construction actually hastens gentrification trends like population decrease and a reduction in diversity of peoples.
    The Queen West Triangle debate isn't about surpressing all new construction, nor is it about fighting off the inevitable gentrification of the neighbourhood.

    The biggest issue here (in my opinion) is the scale of the new development, which guite frankly, doesn't fit into this area of the street. Go to the Active18 website. They list multiple examples of new development density that they'd love to see in the area - most within the 5 story range. I think a dense network of 5-ish story condos (with affordable housing units), townhomes, and greenspace on a new street grid would be fabulous for the area.....and 48 Abell should be kept - but should be renovated/restored so that it actually meets building code requirements...the fact that it's technically below standard (and thus "illegal" to inhabit) doesn't help the preservation argument.

  13. #28
    unimaginative2 Guest

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    Thanks so much, AoD. I've finally more or less figured it out. There are three developments. One is the Alsop-designed Westside Lofts, one is the project they're fighting right now, and the last one is the Bohemian Embarrassment. Is that right?

  14. #29
    AlvinofDiaspar Guest

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    unimaginative:

    I believe so - you can find more info here on all of the projects here:

    www.toronto.ca/planning/w...enwest.htm

    AoD

  15. #30
    mark simpson Guest

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    West Side Lofts, Bohemian Embassy, and a yet to be released twin tower condo/rent geared to income project from Verdiroc

    The Alsop highrise replaced Highres on the south side of the tracks (and most likely can expect 3 more mid-rise towers from Alsop)

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