Block 8 West Don LandsWho is involved: COBE Architects, architects—Alliance
Location: 125 Mill
Categories: History, Heritage, Affordable Housing
How it will change the city: Offering affordable housing options in one of the city’s remaining heritage districts
Block 8 is part of a larger revitalization project in the entire West Don Lands area, some of which has been a source of controversy for residents nearby. Block 8 is the site of a former industrial area, near the Distillery District, and the mixed-use development will be primarily turned into rental units along with some retail space. Project director Thomas Krarup from COBE says the team took design inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhoods. “What we tried to do was to have this series of stacked buildings, where we tried to make the layering of podiums, and took our cues from the warehouse topology from the adjacent Distillery District,” he says. “Then for the mid-rise component that helps form a street wall, that takes its cues from the Canary District.”
Krarup says that instead of creating a historic reinterpretation of the red-brick warehouses in the area, they did a contemporary interpretation. Of the 461 rental units, 30 per cent are designated affordable, which Krarup says are distributed evenly throughout all three buildings.
The project is an example of a private development that includes affordable housing. Sean Meagher, coordinator of the Housing Issues Network, says that while the inclusion of a small number of affordable units in these projects is an “inescapable approach” to increase the city’s affordable housing supply, he says more diverse approaches are needed. “An equally necessary component to addressing the housing crisis is governments, including municipal governments, using their own revenues to build affordable housing, and invest in the building of affordable housing as well,” he says. “Private developers aren’t going to build deeply affordable supportive housing, for example, because there’s no market mechanism that makes that work economically.”
Meagher adds the city is currently working on an inclusionary zoning bylaw, which would make it mandatory to dedicate a specific percentage of units in a development to affordable housing. He says that will be an important step, because currently, without any regulations, the city spends a fairly large amount of money in terms of subsidies and tax breaks to deliver those affordable housing units within private developments. “In fact, we spend on the units that are provided by the private market about twice as much as we spend for every year of affordability we get on units in the not-for-profit sector,” he says.
Elm? We can have elm trees again??Pics taken May 23rd, 2021:
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Bonus shots of 2 trees, across the street from this one.
This Elm is going like gangbusters:
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While just around the corner, this Oak is almost at the 4th floor of the building:
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The vast majority of trees planted here are doing very well; this area will be very green and lush in the years ahead.
Elm? We can have elm trees again??
We hang out here and in Corktown Common all the time. The splash pad, benches and restaurant patios here will be a true oasis in the summer. It's pretty windswept in the winter, but what in Toronto isn't?The vast majority of trees planted here are doing very well; this area will be very green and lush in the years ahead.