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The decay of downtown Queen Street East

CanadianNational

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The Maxwell Meighen shelter is an intense, built-in deterrent to any development at the Queen/Sherbourne corner. If it goes - presumably made obsolete by the Salvation Army's new garrison on Jarvis - I'm betting development would finally begin to take off on this stretch of Queen. The buildings immediately east of the intersection on the north side of Queen rival many of the more beautiful ones on Queen West. But right now the one-two punch of dire poverty and the blank stretches are too much for the street.

I agree with Agroflaneur. As much as I'm glad a revitalization is going ahead for the Moss Park greenspace, Queen would really benefit from a newly built strip of retail along the street here. Also, I don't see why the backs of the Moss Park buildings couldn't be usefully built out to the street, or a shown in some proposals, have townhomes and residences placed on then, with the parking just underground.
Looking at what happened to the Dickinson towers at Regents Park, that they couldn't be saved because they couldn't be brought up to code...I wonder what the interiors of the Moss Park buildings are like. They're not of the architectural interest or caliber that the Dickinson buildings were, and I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't just be better to demolish them and redo the street grid and whole area.
 
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adma

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They're not of the architectural interest or caliber that the Dickinson buildings were,
Yet paradoxically, that might be their "saving grace", such as it is--in the rawest terms, being more ordinary than Dickinson might well render them less technically dysfunctional than Dickinson. Which could also explain why there hasn't been the Regent/Alexandra Park-type "push" to rebuild--not that there couldn't be, of course; though there've been schemes going back to John Sewell for remediating Moss Park's archi-socio-urban sins in one way or another...
 

jozl

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Moss Park is a textbook case of the worst type of urban design (or lack there of) and architecture. It effectively destroys the street life on adjacent Shuter Street, Parliament Street and Queen East, which is a half city block south of the towers. It's almost as effective as a neutron bomb. Fixing up the green space that borders the north side of Queen St East will give some cosmetic relief but will do nothing to mitigate the downward spiral. That green space would be better used as infill development with a small urban park included. I don't see a way to fix the area without demolishing or, at least, severely remodeling Moss Park. The good news is that it's a huge parcel of land which could be sold to help fund the building of new mixed use, rent geared to income accommodation and for the relocation of existing tenants. Regent park has, so far, been a success. It may be the paradigm needed to fix Moss Park. If that happens and the Maxwell Meighen men's shelter is closed down the floodgates will open and create the momentum needed to develop the rest of the street. Then again, as I stated earlier, I've never made a dime on my predictions.
 

adma

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The irony is: Moss Park compares, or would have compared, favourably to a lot of contemporary US projects, even architecturally with the pinwheelish plan and all--though that may be because the comparison point's so awful...
 

3Dementia

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The north side of the street is deadened by a huge ugly parking lot at Queen E and Mutual Street.
For some insight into the "parking lot for 28 years and counting", see my thread in TORONTO ISSUES called PIAZZA CONCEPT.
 

jozl

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I revived this thread because of all of the recent news about new projects slated for for the east side of downtown. None of the new proposals are located on Queen street between Church and Parliament streets aka "The Dead Zone". I don't think anything significant will happen along Queen East (or Shutter Street) until Moss Park is demolished or rebuilt the way Regent Park is.
King Street East, Richmond East and Adelaide East are all getting developed but nothing will happen on Queen East until the two aforementioned disasters have been dealt with.
Has anyone heard anything that might indicate plans for rebuilding or moving Moss Park or its evil twin, The Maxwell Meighen shelter at Queen and Sherbourne? Will this part of downtown just continue to rot while the rest of downtown gets major improvements?
 
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Stupidandshallow

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I don't think the moss park projects themselves is what is holding back this area from flourishing... if anything it's the transient crowd.. Also, it doesn't help that the majority of commercial areas in this part of town are really run down. Parliament south of Dundas is a hot mess.
 

jozl

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Certainly the Maxwell Meighen shelter at Queen and Sherbourne is probably the biggest impediment to economic health in the area but Moss Park also plays a significant role. The result of warehousing hundreds or thousands of low income people into a specified area is the same in any city where it occurs. There is just not enough economic activity to support local commercial enterprise. The Regent Park makeover has, so far, been a big success. I suspect it will be a paradigm that will eventually be applied to Moss Park and other decrepit social housing projects in the city. It's just that Queen Street East (and Dundas E and Gerrard E and Shutter Street) are so conspicuously rotten when compared to the dynamic makeover that has occured over so much of downtown that some major coordinated effort to fix the area seems imminent… I just haven't heard of any plans to do so.
 

Stupidandshallow

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OMG, forgive the hyperbole... The other day I found myself in Little India and decided to walk along Gerrard to Cabbagetown and oh wow what a mess. I couldn't believe my eyes. There really are parts of Toronto that border on developing country.
 

Skeezix

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I think this was discussed in the Moss Park thread, but the challenge with the redevelopment of Moss Park versus other social housing sites is that places like Regent Park, Alexandria Park, Lawrence Heights, even Don Mount, had potential for significantly higher densities to help pay for the redevelopment. Moss Park already has relatively tall buildings and high densities. Maybe I am wrong, given the surrounding surface parking, but I would guess that it would be difficult to rebuild Moss Park with a significant market component, while maintaining the same number of RGI units and an appropriate amount of open space. Has anyone ever looked at this?
 

anonymous0024

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...None of the new proposals are located on Queen street between Church and Parliament streets aka "The Dead Zone". I don't think anything significant will happen along Queen East (or Shutter Street)...
Shuter street is already seeing development, with Regent Park's revitalization (next market rate condo to be launched at Shuter and Sackville), Core Condos imminent construction, and O2 nearing completion.

You also have the Berkley Church redevelopment directly on Queen East.

Not to necessarily disagree with your broader point, but just to add some more context (which doesn't count the eastward spread of destination retail/restaurants along Queen East; with Carbon Bar as a recent example, on Queen, just west of Jarvis).
 
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