I have not said he actively degraded his buildings, just that the buildings have not been restored in step with the improvement of the neighbourhood - which in the last 10 years has evolved into one that could sustain high-rent tenants and could justify a loving restoration - assuming they were to be kept.
When has that ever been the Mirvish modus operandi? Hello....there has always been a very consistent level of minimal "restoration" to any Mirvish properties...be they here, or at Honest Eds/Mirvish Village.
In any event, blockbusting is a specific term, and it does not apply here.
I was the one who introduced the term blockbusting into the thread. It was not the correct term to use as pointed out by others who have given us the specific definition. What I meant was leveling a block for the purposes of re-development is still leveling a block for the purposes of re-development. Some may think I'm mad for not fawning over the inclusion of a famous architect or the institutional space being offered. I'm not against Gehry, or the institutional space, or really even the demolition or modification of any one specific building, I'm just not in favour of block leveling on this scale. A Gehry building, a condo, a gallery or OCAD space, on their own are fantastic projects. Put them all together and level the block and the sum is not the same as the constituent parts.
The richest and most meaningful architecture comes from constraints and context - it doesn't fall out of the sky. Treating this site as a clean slate is a lost opportunity but one necessitated by the sheer volume of parking required by the 3 massive condo towers. Every square inch of that block will be filled 4 levels deep with underground parking and without it this scheme would not be viable. That is the bottom line.
Taking the loss of the Princes of Wales and the historic buildings into consideration (including the wonderful Anderson Building), the greatest failure would be if the towers ended up looking like 8 Spruce Street in New York, so that after all that destruction, the cliche of Toronto as a city that "looks just like New York" could be significantly reinforced. The architecture has to be unique or similar but clearly superior to 8 Spruce Street perhaps by way of cladding or "awe-factor" in general. If we don't do things uniquely, we will never achieve the kind of profile we should have as a city. If everything looks like New York, then we're boosting New York by leaving people with a desire to see the "real thing".
The only time this block held any cache, was when it was the black & white, blinking signage carnival Mirvish created to augment the Royal Alex. That dissipated rather organically over a long period of time (rather than part of some dark conspiracy). Otherwise, Spadina, Adelaide or Richmond were the classic warehouse streetwall locations.
And if it were anywhere else except this particular King frontage location, the context would make tearing the block down a much more serious blow to the districts continuity....regardless of what is replacing it.