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Theatre Park
224 King St W, Toronto
Developer: Lamb Development Corp, Niche Development, Harhay Developments

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Thread: Theatre Park (224 King W e of the Royal Alex, Lamb/Niche, 47, aA)

  1. #46

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    p5connex, your posts have been well stated.


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    Quote Originally Posted by p5connex View Post
    With regards to your comments scott about areas evolving, no one is stating that this area should be frozen in time, and that development is not welcome. First, that would be impossible to do, because anything historical has already been altered beyond their original historical appearances. Second, I don't think expecting areas to evolve appropriately and in character with a neighborhood, means being "stuck in the past" as you put it, but rather interested in cohesive and contextual planning/building.

    On the same not, plopping down some 40+ story towers in a low/mid rise area is not progressive, or forward looking. Areas do change and no one here is disputing that fact, but change doesn't have to mean 40+ story towers or bust!

    p5
    It doesn't have to mean that, and I'm not arguing it should mean that, but I already explained in my opinion why I think it's happening.

    There's really only one way to stop developers from building tall towers in neighbourhoods such as King West and that's with the City enforcing their plans (which they would have to update first). The developers are never going to do it on their own.

    That being said, I don't think this is as a big deal as a lot of you do. If the worst thing happening is building towers that are taller than they should be, then I'd say Toronto is in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, that's no where close to the worst thing happening!

  3. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongo View Post
    I would add to above that of all the districts in Toronto, the Entertainment District is at or near the top of the list for this sort of change. It is adjacent to the existing CBD (and indeed, with RBC and the Metro Hall complex leading the way, may end up as part of an enlarged CBD).
    Quote Originally Posted by scott View Post
    I also think a lot of you are stuck in the past and don't realize that neighbourhoods change. Yes, King West is midrise, but who says it was always going to stay that way? Right now it looks inevitable that it will become high rise or at least a mix in the near future.
    I sincerely hope so, because it's costing us a very nicely scaled part of town.
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  4. #49

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    I agree with you scott, that we could be in a completely different situation with regards to development in the city- we could have people abandoning the area, but rather we have people flocking to it. This is, of course, a good thing, but all good things are have their prices and their downsides. The fact that 40 + story towers are being either proposed or built all within this area, would suggest to me that the area is both desirable and highly sought after, but it could also mean that it is, as others have suggested being marketed well.

    I think that whatever the result, these types of discussions are only going to get louder and more prevalent as the city continues to build itself up. While point towers can mean higher densities which is good for healthy urban infrastructures etc., they are not always the end-all-be-all solutions as we are often lead to believe. They are highly touted by the city planners, because they require less space and you can pack in a lot of people on fairly small footprint, yet we are in no way running out of space to build in this city, so the requirements to build them are not always justified. Good mid-scaled, mid-rise infill projects are far and few between, and do wonders to intensify neighborhoods. I am sure as architects and developers become more aware that this is where the best developing and architecture comes together, we will see a lot more of it.

    p5
    ...by design

  5. #50

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    it's funny, it's the energy of the entertainment district that has attracted all the development - but the development in turn will probably end up killing the entertainment district....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarnDirtyApe View Post
    I would imagine that this will end up at the OMB, who will overrule the city and allow it to go ahead.
    I agree.. This whole approval process has become a joke... The city, not the province should have the final say. The City is usually a push over, and when it's not, we have another bureaucrat to make sure that it is... The builders have become the bratty kid that will nag and kick and eventually get its way

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by yyzer View Post
    it's funny, it's the energy of the entertainment district that has attracted all the development - but the development in turn will probably end up killing the entertainment district....
    It's not only the the energy, but the convergence of available space (parking lots), an influx of people (moving downtown), the nature of the environment (pedestrian), and the proximity to downtown (Financial Dist.) which make this area a draw.

  8. #53

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    I think the Entertainment District is being obliterated only in its current physical form. I think it's being pushed to the west, so Parkdale has developed an awesome and growing nightlife.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott View Post
    There's really only one way to stop developers from building tall towers in neighbourhoods such as King West and that's with the City enforcing their plans (which they would have to update first). The developers are never going to do it on their own.
    Quote Originally Posted by CGM View Post
    I agree.. This whole approval process has become a joke... The city, not the province should have the final say. The City is usually a push over, and when it's not, we have another bureaucrat to make sure that it is... The builders have become the bratty kid that will nag and kick and eventually get its way
    The City's complete cave-in to the TIFF tower demands set in motion the heights now being sought in the Entertainment District. Now the City throws up its hands and says, "It's a free-for-all on in the Entertainment District". Developers see that and say, "I'm leaving money on the table if I build even 1 storey less than the last developer built".

    Buildings of any sort are better than surface parking lots, but there's no reason the City couldn't legislate both maximum and minimum heights (NYC, for example, has minimum heights) and tax suface parking lots out of existence. We're not Columbus or Buffalo, and it's not like there are water table issues that preclude underground parking lots -- why do we settle for the false dichotomy of 50s vs. surface parking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CGM View Post
    I agree.. This whole approval process has become a joke... The city, not the province should have the final say. The City is usually a push over, and when it's not, we have another bureaucrat to make sure that it is... The builders have become the bratty kid that will nag and kick and eventually get its way
    I also agree but at the moment i dont think that this city mayor and councillors are the right people to be givin those extra powers.They should have a review panel made up with architects,engineers,etc before a project is approved.

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    I don't know if i would classify TIFF tower as the breaking point. TIFF should have been reduced a little but I think the project that had the biggest role in changing the district was M5V.

    TIFF at least respected the official plan and was constructed to allow shadows to mainly fall on that block and not spill across Adelaide.

    The regional plan had stated that all buildings on the south sides of streets should respect the shadow guidelines and be limited to heights which allow sunlight to fall on the north sides of the street.

    M5V completely ignored the official plan and was approved so now every builder knew they could get away with projects which overwhelm the street.

    If the OMB had listened to the city, they would have reduced the height of m5v and ordered them to introduce setbacks. Instead we have these projects which ignore height restrictions and setback allowances on the south sides of the street.

    Without M5V getting approved, we probably wouldn't see;
    355 King Street West
    35 Walmer
    or those other 3 projects on the south sides or Richmond or Adelaide.

  12. #57

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    Jayomatic,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayomatic View Post
    I don't know if i would classify TIFF tower as the breaking point. TIFF should have been reduced a little but I think the project that had the biggest role in changing the district was M5V.
    I work with the city a few days a week and everyone there agrees that the precident was set with TIFF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayomatic View Post
    M5V completely ignored the official plan and was approved so now every builder knew they could get away with projects which overwhelm the street.
    Can you please post some pictures of buildings which 'overwhelm the street?' As much as that phrase is tossed around here, it always comes with few (if any) examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayomatic View Post
    If the OMB had listened to the city, they would have reduced the height of m5v and ordered them to introduce setbacks. Instead we have these projects which ignore height restrictions and setback allowances on the south sides of the street.
    How would a limp-wristed height reduction have changed the shadow impact on King? Regardless of how many meters they lob off the top, King will still be shadowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayomatic View Post
    Without M5V getting approved, we probably wouldn't see;
    355 King Street West
    35 Walmer
    or those other 3 projects on the south sides or Richmond or Adelaide.
    It's a good thing it did get approved then, because I eagerly await all of the projects listed above.

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    40+ story towers in a low rise neighbourhood is one issue, but to me even more important is whether the design complements the neighbourhood. Most developers come in and look at their project as being their only concern without stepping back and taking a cue from neighbouring developments. If this project does respect the context it is in, than it may work.

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaninToronto View Post
    40+ story towers in a low rise neighbourhood is one issue, but to me even more important is whether the design complements the neighbourhood. Most developers come in and look at their project as being their only concern without stepping back and taking a cue from neighbouring developments. If this project does respect the context it is in, than it may work.
    Except that developers don't design their projects. They hire architects and their firms to design. This, however, is not as easy as it sounds since a firm like G+C can hardly be expected to produce something of an aA, KPMB or even Teeple/Quadrangle quality. In sum, the developer may choose the site, but it is the architect who connects it.

  15. #60
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    I'd like to reiterate the points of voxpopulicosmicum and ProjectEnd - the OMB is not at fault for the current situation - city council approved TIFF and that set the new precedent in the Entertainment district. Planning staff, the local councilor (Adam Vaughan) and the development community all point to the TIFF development at the catalyst and precedent set for future development.

    Had council made a different decision with TIFF, the M5V OMB case would have yielded different results (even more likely the TAS proposal would have looked very different) and recent proposals would have looked different as well. It is often council abdication of responsibility that results in projects going to the OMB and in the case of the entertainment district; it was council decision that set the future precedent for the area the OMBs hands are tied because of it.

    Also with respect to mid-rise vs. high-rise, I'm in complete agreement with the points made by p5 and some others on the positive community & planning attributes of mid-rise neighbourhoods. But from the development perspective they don't make much sense, in many areas especially in the Entertainment District:

    Economies of scale are a significant issue for mid-rise development - especially the soft costs which are generally the same as in a high-rise development (i.e. costs for approvals/planning fees/lawyers/planning staff/architects, engineers, consultants, various studies required etc are generally fixed - this is a significant issue for smaller sites such as 224 King St W, M5V, 21 Widmer etc). The land costs are also a restrictive issue in this area and especially this site (i.e. if the land cost $10,000,000 and is spread across 100 units in mid-rise structure the cost per unit is $100k, however spread across 450 units in the 50s tower that's a bit over $22k per unit the consumer is better positioned to absorb the costs in a high-rise, unless its a super luxury mid-rise structure).

    Land ownership fragmentation is an issue in downtown Toronto - generally the sites are going to be smaller, which limits the ability to spread density across a larger site. Lastly there are regulatory conditions at both the city and provincial level in areas such as the building code, turning radius, garbage collection facilities, parking requirements etc and the increasingly complex approval process can discourage mid-rise development.
    UT Member Since February 2002

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