Toronto 522 University | 232.92m | 62s | Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc | WZMH

Some ⚡might even argue the heritage value of the original Regent Park social housing stock.

In its place... what's been built so far, is being built and will be built (final Gerrard Street phase)... is simply miraculous imo.
Some ⚡might even argue the heritage value of the original Regent Park social housing stock.

In its place... what's been built so far, is being built and will be built (final Gerrard Street phase)... is simply miraculous imo.
There were arguments for some of the high-rise Regent Park buildings, but unfortunately they interfered with the new streets.
Of course we're not going to agree - I don't think anyone here is suggesting we will.

That said, there's the objective reality that there are places where we can absolutley clear cut single family homes for larger, multi-unit buildings. @condovo is parroting the old Diamond / Meyers line about how bad St. Jamestown was / is, and there is some truth to that, but there's also truth to the fact that there are *thousands* of homes there now where previously there were fewer than 200. We also shouldn't judge things like St. Jamestown without focusing on what was truly problematic - it wasn't the loss of homes, it's not the architecture it's the urbanism - we know now that removing streets and creating anonymous superblocks isn't the right way to do things, so we don't really do it anymore.

In fairness, if you were to substitute St. Jamestown with City Place, many people would argue that much more contemporary build hasn't worked either; many would, however, argue for the St. Lawrence neighbourhood (I would be one of those).

It's possible to densify, and to preserve the character people appreciate.I would argue that the interior of Cabbagetown isn't suited to strong intensification, that you would have to take out the mature trees, widen the roads, rebuild the sewers etc etc.

I'm far more open, however, to higher density on Parliament or Gerrard, right at the edge.

But I would still suggest retaining the best parts of the character, while adding that density. (facade retention for some buildings, full preservation for some others, and generally setting any towers back a few metres from the road, allowing traditional roof lines in the 3-5s range to dominate from the perspective of someone walking by....


But at any rate, the point is simply that if you were to ask people where they would prefer intensification, and which buildings they would prefer to save, this building would come out the loser to a near-certainty vs anything Victorian in Cabbagetown.
That doesn't mean we ought to freeze them in Amber, nor recklessly tear this down w/o some consideration. As I said, I don't see why there can't be a happy medium, except when people disagree in near-absolutes, then there's no compromise to be had.

I'm not a big Parkin fan, modernism is my least favourite style after brutalism. Like many here, I prefer brick, timber, stone, etc. I'm open to modern glazing choices, but I don't want them everywhere, and I do want them done well, no spandrel, no mullions, nice colour/tint etc etc. But that said, I recognize some of what you and some others value here; and I appreciate architectural diversity, and I'm happy enough, then to advocate for substantially retaining what you value here, with such tweaks as may be necessary (accessibility) or could, by consensus, better animate the at-grade experience w/o harming the building's best features.

For me, the soffit is the most interesting bit; but I also like the window-style/pattern simply for being different than much of what exists now and most of what is being built.

There's much to fix in St. Jamestown, yes, but the classic, classist, Toronto-armchair-urbanist opinion, that we were right to encase the rest of the city in amber while saying "but look over there" in blood-curdling tones is just as myopic as some of the 2020, nouveau-YIMBY, nonsense about it being perfectly fine.

I think you're over-selling a bit here.

We need to start from the premise that Condovo, is a long-time poster who has been a consistent proponent of many proposals and intensification in general. He simply conditionalizes that, as do I,
by saying not everywhere, not all the time, not at any scale/style.

Then we can move on to ask whether your diagnosis of St. Jamestown is fulsome.

I agree, as far as you've gone, that the closure of streets through the community was a crucial planning/design mistake.
But if we could reopen one or two would that suddenly make the area desirable? I would argue otherwise.

St. Jamestown was built to be middle-income rental housing, catering to singles and new/small families who were expected, at the time, to transition to SFH as their families grew.
Despite initially attracting tenants in line w/that plan.......things deteriorated with remarkable haste, and I think that's difficult to place on street configuration alone.
Clearly, several private landlords, in addition to TCHC have not been stellar at maintaining the housing stock. We've had at least two large-scale fires in buildings here, that required mass evacuations. Why?
Without getting into the weeds, as the demographics of tenants shifted to lower income, landlords's sped the trendline up cutting services (closing the large outdoor pool); by allowing large retail to go vacant, by reducing routine maintenance, etc.

But that begs the question, why did the ball start rolling? One could look at the area income split, but St. Lawrence is very much a mixed income community and didn't see the same issues emerge, if anything St. Lawrence has picked up steam over the years.

I would suggest the difference isn't just street grid. It's scale, it's co-ops vs TCHC, it's also perceived architectural desirability by people with choice. White-brick monoliths are not all the rage, nor are towers-in-the park and people love that in much of St. Lawrence preserved history is mixed in with the new, and often the new blends relatively seamlessly with the old.

No one speaks that way of St.Jamestown.


The argument is not one of density vs tabula rasa; nor preserving modernism vs victorians.

It's one of preserving the best of everything and preserving the character people appreciate while achieving the density we need.
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From a conversational view ... or perhaps that of people engaging on forums only, the existing grade level has some cool elements. That said, this building at grade is completely invisible when you walk past it in real life. It has no engagement. It is normally empty, dark, and irrelevant. And personally, once you get past the interesting design elements such as the ceiling, it feels oppresive and slightly claustrophobic imo. Interesting yes. Engaging in real life? No.

That said, I acknowledge that the renders for the new building at grade level are no peach either. Just pointing out that the existing design is far from 'working well' in its current iteration ...
Strongly agree. I pass by this building quite often and it's definitely a negative as far as street engagement is concerned and the new building will be better (largely because of retail at grade).

My kids would disagree with me as they use the space to parkour. They will have grown out of that phase by the time this is torn down and won't care by that point :p
It's far more engaging than a blank wall of glass though. There are some valid criticisms about the lack of life of the current building, but there's a lot to work with. All those interesting visual elements could be brought to life with a little sprucing up and some retail, or it could be a great space for a restaurant with a big patio protected from the elements. It's a very sculptural and interesting type of space that's lacking in most modern builds; instead we'll a big wall of expressionless sheet glass.
/\ 100%.

I don't think any of the defenders of the current building would argue it's flawless, just that it's a million times more engaging than a flat wall of glass (as @egotrippin notes above). But 'interest', 'procession' and 'experience' don't make money in 2022, hence we have a glassed in retail space and a couple of lobbies. Hurrah capitalism...

Toronto Model 09-01-22 522 University.png
I'm surprised it's worth it to demolish a 15 story office building in what seems to be decent condition. Is it really that difficult to build the same tower a few streets over?