619 Yonge | 190.93m | 57s | YI Developments | Core Architects

DavidJamesTO

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In many ways losing a century-old building in Toronto is worse than in Europe. Most large European cities have at least one war as an excuse for losing old buildings; we haven't had that excuse for nearly two centuries.
 

adma

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Although...even without the "war" alibi, demolition of old fabric happens in Europe, too. Or New York. Or Montreal. As I like to say, it isn't as if the equivalent to this property elsewhere (in the more historic/enlightened metropolii of North America, if not in Europe) wouldn't be any less vulnerable to demolition.

But it's also no excuse for blanket dismissals, which almost seem to suggest that, say, the E.J. Lennox row across the street could be sacrificed for redevelopment as well...
 

AlbertC

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http://thetorontoblog.com/2012/10/11/40-storey-condo-proposed-for-yonge-isabella/

40-storey condo proposed for Yonge & Isabella

11 Oct 2012


On its own, the 625 Yonge property looks large enough to support redevelopment into a slender condo point tower. According to the local rumour mill, however, 625 Yonge is owned by a member of the family that operates the Rabba chain of food stores. And since there just happens to be a 24-hour Rabba Fine Foods outlet in the 2-storey building at 9 Isabella, right beside 625 Yonge, many people suspected that the development application must involve both properties combined. However, it would make sense for the owner to keep the store in place and build around it; after all, a 326-unit condo right next door would guarantee a steady source of business around the clock.

A person familiar with one of the tenant leases at 625 Yonge told me yesterday that both it and the Rabba store building to its east are indeed owned by the same person. However, he said the $6.95 million pricetag mentioned in the online real estate listing was for an “old” listing from several years ago; 625 Yonge was sold to its current owner much more recently for well over $10 million, he said. That’s in line with rumours I heard last summer to the effect that someone had purchased property on or adjacent to the corner of Yonge & Isabella for somewhere in the range of $12 to $14 million, with plans to build a condo tower on the site.

But also last year a variety of different stories circulated in the neighbourhood, each providing conflicting information about who the property owner was, and exactly which buildings were involved in the transaction.

One version claimed that three adjacent buildings — 9 Isabella, 625-637 Yonge and the 2-story retail and office building at 619-623 Yonge — had all been acquired by one individual or company planning to assemble the combined lands and redevelop them into a condominium complex. Yesterday I telephoned the city planner responsible for the 625 Yonge file, Mark Chlon, to seek clarification on the full extent of the development site. However, his voice mail message said he is away from the office until next week, so I wasn’t able to obtain further information.

Another rumour said the entire north half of the block was owned by the same company that is currently seeking City approval to build a 34-storey condo tower on the south end of the same block, at the corner of Yonge and Gloucester Streets. (The original development application for 2-8 Gloucester proposed a 211-unit, 29 storey condo tower; however, the project entry on the City’s development information website now indicates a revised plan for a 232-unit condo with five additional floors instead).
 

balenciaga

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After taking a look at 625-627 Isabella as as well as 619-623, I think it is more likely to be good news than bad.

Is anyone here actually arguing those 5 particularly buildings are "heritage" and should be preserved? They may be a century old, but that doesn't mean they are valuable. It is more like a mistake made a century ago. Sometime people confuse "heritage" with "just being old" on this forum.

On the other hand, if those nice row houses (664-680 Yonge) on the other side of Yonge are being torn down, that's destruction of our heritage. On the east side of Yonge, not so much. Let's not let our regret for having few old buildings prevent us from building a better, more lively city.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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I'd argue it's more about how they contribute to the charactor of the street. If they were all given a stripping to reveal the brick beneath they could continue to serve the street very well for many decades to come.
I always hoped that once Fly closes (condos going up there too) they could possibly relocate to the space above there which has served as dance clubs through the 70's & 80's, perhaps even before that. There's very little residential around there so late night noise wouldn't be a problem plus it's close to the Village.
 

balenciaga

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I'd argue it's more about how they contribute to the charactor of the street. If they were all given a stripping to reveal the brick beneath they could continue to serve the street very well for many decades to come.
I always hoped that once Fly closes (condos going up there too) they could possibly relocate to the space above there which has served as dance clubs through the 70's & 80's, perhaps even before that. There's very little residential around there so late night noise wouldn't be a problem plus it's close to the Village.

You have to consider the fact that these sites are sitting on top of the main and busiest subway line in the very core of a city with 6M people. It is unrealistic to expect that the street will maintain its low rise character forever.

Do you think it is better for such a prime location to serve as a small business which employs probably 10 people in total, without bringing much revenue for the city, or a well designed highrise that can bring a lot more vibrancy and taxes to the core? Ideally I would want to have more larger retail on Yonge, but that probably won't happen.

The key issue is, two story small business mom and pop stores don't make economic sense there, either for the owner of the land, or for the city. Maybe in east York it does, but not on downtown Yonge. Believe it or not, after Yonge is transformed, it will spread to Church and Jarvis st. Yes heritage buildings should and will be protected, but the core will most likely become a lot taller down the road. It is basic economics and not what you and me can help to avoid.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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You have to consider the fact that these sites are sitting on top of the main and busiest subway line in the very core of a city with 6M people. It is unrealistic to expect that the street will maintain its low rise character forever.

Big tall buildings should be built all along Bloor, Danforth, Sheppard and Eglinton too then, wait until you hear the outcry over that! The downtown infrastructure is past being overloaded now - hydro, water, sewage, transit, hospitals, police, EMS - it's a crisis and the city can't keep up but developers just keep on building because they don't care about any of that, they just want to build big tall ugly buildings everywhere possible to make lots of money. OK, so they're not all ugly and it's it's a good problem that our local economy can still support all these units and the jobs that come with them but it's got to slow down to play catchup with the downtown's infrastructure. Do you know that the south-west area of downtown has seen a nearly 450% population increase in just the past five years? Have police, hospital beds, EMS etc. been increased by 450% for that area? Nope. Just an example.

Do you think it is better for such a prime location to serve as a small business which employs probably 10 people in total, without bringing much revenue for the city, or a well designed highrise that can bring a lot more vibrancy and taxes to the core? Ideally I would want to have more larger retail on Yonge, but that probably won't happen.

The key issue is, two story small business mom and pop stores don't make economic sense there, either for the owner of the land, or for the city. Maybe in east York it does, but not on downtown Yonge. Believe it or not, after Yonge is transformed, it will spread to Church and Jarvis st. Yes heritage buildings should and will be protected, but the core will most likely become a lot taller down the road. It is basic economics and not what you and me can help to avoid.

We have a great big mall downtown called the Eaton Centre, no one can convince me that we need more foreign chain stores littering every street downtown. I like the mom and pop shops - whatever they sell and I'll buy from there whenever I can before going to a retail chain, but that's just me. If your suggesting that the whole city gets swallowed up by nothing but chain stores you should re-think our future wish very carefully, it's a dark one.
 

innsertnamehere

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First, calm down.

Lets face it, this development is inevitable. For the first time in 90 years, the downtown core is seen as a desirable place to live. That means we will go through very rapid downtown growth, as well as a strain on infrastructure. That's why you see new hospitals like the bridge point health centre. And new electrical substations like at the roundhouse. Mega cities in North America have large skyscrapers in them, that's how we plan our cities. Get used to 30 story high rises a block from a subway line, right in the downtown core. In sorry, but if you want small quiet neighbourhoods, tyou might have to move. As the smaller quiter neighbourhoods near the downtown core get swallowed up by the downtown core, smaller neighbourhoods rise on the edge of the city. Thus is the nature of things. Get used to it. You, at least in my mind, are quickly becoming a straight up nimby. You seem to be opposed to every single new development in this city currently.

Sorry about any spelling mistakes, it's rather difficult to type on my phone.
 

jje1000

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Intensification on Yonge will and should happen. However, I think people are fearing how exactly this development will proceed- right now, everyone wants to avoid a repeat of Bay Street and the fragmentation of the urban and heritage fabric, but it feels like the proper policies and protection needed aren't in place for the rapid number of proposals coming up. That, and the fact that a large number of property owners on Yonge seem to be just looking for a quick buck over caring about the nature of Yonge worries people.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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Thanks AG :)

First, calm down.

Lets face it, this development is inevitable. For the first time in 90 years, the downtown core is seen as a desirable place to live. That means we will go through very rapid downtown growth, as well as a strain on infrastructure. That's why you see new hospitals like the bridge point health centre. And new electrical substations like at the roundhouse. Mega cities in North America have large skyscrapers in them, that's how we plan our cities. Get used to 30 story high rises a block from a subway line, right in the downtown core. In sorry, but if you want small quiet neighbourhoods, tyou might have to move. As the smaller quiter neighbourhoods near the downtown core get swallowed up by the downtown core, smaller neighbourhoods rise on the edge of the city. Thus is the nature of things. Get used to it. You, at least in my mind, are quickly becoming a straight up nimby. You seem to be opposed to every single new development in this city currently.

Sorry about any spelling mistakes, it's rather difficult to type on my phone.

Sometimes I do question if I'm becoming NIMBY-minded but I really don't think that I am, I think through and judge every project with care - not that I'm necessarily right! Ride the Yonge subway every day or the Queen/King streetcar and tell me if I'm wrong. Listen, I'm all for good planning and development in appropriate locations, talking about downtown Yonge here in keeping with the thread subject, and what I know best which is Bloor to the lake. One Bloor should be good (sad we lost two great buildings there though), whatever is happening above Holt's (and especially that Cumberland Terrace mall!), FIVE, Aura, Nicholas Residences, Massey Tower, Karma - all terrific - and some I don't support because of heritage issues, loss of vibrant streetscapes and poor placement. Of course probably some or most of it is inevitable but that doesn't make it right and it certainly doesn't make it better.
Living downtown was very desirable when I moved here in the early 80's, but it was just a well kept secret for people who chose to live closer to the action or to their work. If anything it's become less desirable as patios now have to close at 11pm, crowds to plow through on almost every street, more traffic noise, super crowded subways and streetcars, cycling has never been more dangerous and the cost to live here has gone through the roof. I still wouldn't live anywhere else and I'm just passionate about what is happening to the city downtown because I don't think it's "better" just because a hundred condos have gone up with probably close to another hundred are in the planning stages. This, is yet another example of bad planning along with several others just a few blocks away, IMO.
 

marsh

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There is no planning - builders build whatever they want because the City has no guidance and no resources and builders can out spend local community groups. You can call me a nimby but I want to preserve the low rise walkability of Yonge Street. I have seen no convincing argument that building highrise condo towers will not turn Yonge Street into Bay. I too like the mom and pop stores and I think they contribute a lot to the economy of the city. I agree with the prior post our resources are over stretched. I can't get on the Yonge/Bloor Subway on rush hour - without at least letting 2 to 3 trains go by. In fact the subway is busy pretty much all of the time. The Bay Bus isn't much better. There was an article in the Globe on the weekend about our emergency rooms are at over capacity. The City keeps promising these infrastructure changes are coming but I have yet to see any improvement in my day to day life. We need a moratorium on development so we can give our infrastructure time to catch up with the demands being put on it; to develop an effective historic preservation policy and to develop a coherent vision of what downtown Toronto should be. Of course the city will change, but to continue on the path of unbridled development these last few years is not good.
 

innsertnamehere

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You can't simply stop all development for a decade. The city is currently making 300,000,000 from the land transfer tax, which is contingent on new development. While I do take concern with new projects, all we know about this project so far is that it is 40 floors high. We don't know what it looks like, we don't know how much retail it will have, we don't know if it will be bad for the neighbourhood. At least wait for the line drawings before deciding whether you approve a project or not.
 

supercilious

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Sometimes I do question if I'm becoming NIMBY-minded but I really don't think that I am

Living downtown was very desirable when I moved here in the early 80's, but it was just a well kept secret for people who chose to live closer to the action or to their work. If anything it's become less desirable as patios now have to close at 11pm, crowds to plow through on almost every street, more traffic noise, super crowded subways and streetcars, cycling has never been more dangerous and the cost to live here has gone through the roof.

Sounds NIMBY to me tbh.

Cities grow... Especially desirable ones.
 

ThomasJ

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DT is far from being a nimby, he is very passionate about that neighbourhood and doesnt want that charm of Yonge street just to fade away into hi-rises


actually, i just checked and can confirm that the dictionary entry of "NIMBY" features an illustrated photo spread of DT.
 

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