The Ontario Muncipal Board decision on Cityzen's 154 Front St. East condominium proposal has been released, and it's a good one for the developer. Proposed for the site of the former Greyhound Bus Parcel Express depot, now a parking lot, the original design by Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance consisted of two mixed-use towers, 34 and 24 storeys tall, on top of a 5-7 storey podium. After rejection by the City, Cityzen submitted a revised proposal in November 2011 of 26 and 22-storey towers, separated by 20 metres, with a 4-storey "bridge" connecting the two at the top, covered with a green roof.
154 Front St. East is located within the Old Town of York special identity area, a part of the King-Parliament Secondary Plan, an area considered the birthplace of Toronto. The City took issue with the proposals mainly due to their height—an incompatability with this area—disrespecting the neighbourhood's built heritage of a 4 to 10 storey norm, the massing, and a lack of "block" design.
Local residents also expressed concerns with the proposal at the OMB hearing, though all agreed that the site needs some sort of residential redevelopment. Many felt that the height and massing would overwhelm the streetscape and wouldn't fit the urban landscape of low and mid-rise buildings. Some criticized the fact that of the 477 proposed residential units, none would be 3 or more bedrooms.
The OMB mostly agreed with Cityzen's arguments, looking at the larger King-Adelaide area as a whole and using developments such as Vu Condos to justify the proposed 26 storeys. It found that the redevelopment conformed to the goals of the provincial Places To Grow plan and Toronto's Official Plan; however, it also raised concerns about the lack of 3-bedroom units and amenity space within the building. 154 Front St. East has been provisionally approved, contingent upon Cityzen addressing the remaining issues at final hearings before the board. The full repost can be read here.
Want to see more renderings? The UrbanToronto dataBase page for the project has them, linked below. Want to get in on the conversation? Choose the associated Forum thread link or leave a comment here!