At over 12 times the permitted density and five times the permitted height for the site, City Council has rejected Knightstone Capital's proposed 759-bed residence at 245 & 253 College Street and 39 & 40 Glasgow Street. The contentious  24-storey proposal has strained relations between the University of Toronto and neighbouring resident associations, five of which mobilized to protest the private-public partnership. With a scale drastically larger than what currently exists in the area, residents worried that an approval would destabilize the surrounding blocks and open the door to additional high-density projects in a neighbourhood that is predominantly low-rise. Below is an image of the site as it currently appears as well as elevations that show the dramatic height difference between the defeated proposal and the neighbouring properties:

245 & 253 College Street Residence, Toronto. Developed by Knightstone CapitalThe two buildings housing the printing company and the storage facility would be demolished to allow for the redevelopment, image from Google Earth.

245 & 253 College Street Residence, Toronto. Developed by Knightstone CapitaNorth elevation of the project, image from City of Toronto Planning Application.

245 & 253 College Street Residence, Toronto. Developed by Knightstone CapitaSouth elevation of the project, image from City of Toronto Planning Application.


Of concern, too, was the configuration of the residence with a series of single-bed rooms linked to a shared common space, none of which would be equipped with a kitchen. With only a marginal say as to how the private entity operates the residence, the university would be unable to exercise the same degree of control it does in its existing properties; a lack of control that critics maintain could allow the project to devolve into an unregulated rooming house. A worry compounded by the city's admission that it lacks the legal framework to regulate an off-campus residence of this size.

The city's refusal of the rezoning application, however, does not mean that the project is dead. Knightstone has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with a hearing scheduled for the fall.

To learn more about the project, a link to a direction report produced by the planning department can be found here.