Massey Tower Condos | 206.95m | 60s | MOD Developments | Hariri Pontarini

AlvinofDiaspar

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I'm not sure why we must have blank walls facing lots lines anyway. I'd rather have a window or balcony than drywall.

Because the owner of the lot south of yours might decide to build to the property line, besides the fact that the building code mandates a minimum distance of a window to another building. You can't premptively restrict the developability of someone elses' property just because you're the first to propose a structure on your own.

AoD
 

HDLtd

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Unfortunately that would destroy the architectural design of the tower. I'm not sure why we must have blank walls facing lots lines anyway. I'd rather have a window or balcony than drywall.

When the lot to the south proposes a development with windows and balconies facing north on the lot line you will have a condition with balconies flush with each other. Obviously this isn't acceptable. If the city approves Massey Tower with that condition, on what basis could the city or OMB turn it down with respect to the neighbour? This is the heart of the issue.
 

HDLtd

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Makes sense, but then why does the Heintzman Building have windows on the north side? Isn't that the lot line?

When these buildings were built, they didn't think about these types of issues. So you have lots of older buildings with windows on lot lines that are grandfathered but would never be allowed again. In the case of the heintzman building, these windows would likely be blocked in the redevelopment, and the city would probably support it.
 

HDLtd

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When these buildings were built, they didn't think about these types of issues. So you have lots of older buildings with windows on lot lines that are grandfathered but would never be allowed again. In the case of the heintzman building, these windows would likely be blocked in the redevelopment, and the city would probably support it.

I meant to say Massey tower would probably block these windows with a zero setback for a podium with no windows or balconies in the case of the project being developed. It is above the podium that there is a concern about setbacks.
 

Ramako

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I'm assuming that the Massey Tower agreements of purchase and sale contain a clause allowing the developer to modify the size of the units if, say, the size of the tower floorplate was reduced in order to accommodate setbacks, but I wonder how economical it would be to build a tower that tall and slender.
 

HDLtd

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I'm assuming that the Massey Tower agreements of purchase and sale contain a clause allowing the developer to modify the size of the units if, say, the size of the tower floorplate was reduced in order to accommodate setbacks, but I wonder how economical it would be to build a tower that tall and slender.

It would likely be considered a material change and would allow purchasers to get out of their contracts... It would also likely be uneconomical from a development perspective as well.
 

Ramako

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It would likely be considered a material change and would allow purchasers to get out of their contracts... It would also likely be uneconomical from a development perspective as well.

That's too bad. The policy on setbacks seems pretty clear here, so I can't imagine on what basis MOD could win at the OMB. I take it that unless Council overrules staff, which happens relatively rarely, this project is effectively dead in the water.

If and when this project is canned, we'll get to have the joy of having 197 Yonge and 205 Yonge on deathwatch again. What a treat.
 

DtTO

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How can the Tall Buildings Study lower height limits when as you say, the existing zoning policies are completely irrelevant (i.e. code word for low) to begin with? Are you suggesting the study actually lowered those height limits to below what's currently on the books?

And since we're on this topic and noticing that you're at Cityplace - what do you think of the Block 31 social housing proposal and the rezoning for that (now dead) project?

AoD

The Tall Buildings Study is irrelevant, but the city still uses it as a reference point. Even when it isn't applicable, our ridiculously forward thinking city council/planning department use current built form as a way of dictating what can be built in certain areas. Isn't that what's already done everywhere else in the city? Downtown should be an exception. I can't help but think that our wise planning department would've rejected Absolute if they had been in charge of Mississauga. Sadly, even Mississauga's city hall has more vision for their city than ours does.

As for Block 31, from what I recall, it was an issue of lack of funding. TCHC couldn't simultaneously develop Blocks 18AB, 31, 32, and 36, and the contract stated that construction had to be started within a certain time frame. It's a sad fate for something that would've really benefitted the community, but I don't see how it is different from other austerity measures.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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DtTO:

The Tall Buildings Study is irrelevant, but the city still uses it as a reference point. Even when it isn't applicable, our ridiculously forward thinking city council/planning department use current built form as a way of dictating what can be built in certain areas. Isn't that what's already done everywhere else in the city? Downtown should be an exception. I can't help but think that our wise planning department would've rejected Absolute if they had been in charge of Mississauga. Sadly, even Mississauga's city hall has more vision for their city than ours does).

How is the TBS "irrelevant", exactly? And yes, considering the number of towers whose height is comparable to Absolute approved, under construction and built in downtown, making the claim that the planning department will reject a similar proposal is, for the lack of a better word, ludicrous. And swinging back to Mississauga for a second - are you claiming that somehow the plan around MCC has been a "free for all" in terms of height and density; that there was no consideration towards transitioning, height and appropriateness of built form? That there was no boundaries applied to said areas? If so, then you clearly haven't been following that process at all.

AoD
 
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Automation Gallery

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DtTO:
considering the number of towers whose height is comparable to Absolute approved, under construction and built in downtown, making the claim that the planning department will reject a similar proposal is, for the lack of a better word, ludicrous.AoD

I think DtTO is talking more about design than height, which from what i understand Toronto City Planning couldnt care less:eek:

I can't help but think that our wise planning department would've rejected Absolute if they had been in charge of Mississauga. .
 

DtTO

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How is the TBS "irrelevant", exactly?

It is irrelevant, because it assumes that height limits are beneficial to a city. Tell that to NYC, Chicago, etc.
Height limits should be viewed in a case by case basis, not through a generalized, blanket approach covering huge parts of downtown in ridiculous height restrictions to avoid "shadowing issues" and maintain "view vistas." If one were to relocate downtown, do you really think that they care much about sunshine on a sidewalk? I can already hear the "but NYC has setback laws" excuse being cued. I have no problem with setbacks! NYC did not impose height limits, nor are their streets as sun washed as some people here like to believe. They also allow towers to be built touching each other. Yes, I know they have a lot more population, but Chicago does this as well; what's the excuse for that? If I want to feel like I'm surrounded by a forest of tall buildings in downtown, that's my preference. Who is city staff to tell people like me that even in downtown, buildings can't be built this way? Why are they so obsessed with sun anyways, considering low-rise neighbourhoods and huge parks are no longer than a 5 minute walk from any location in downtown?

And yes, considering the number of towers whose height is comparable to Absolute approved, under construction and built in downtown, making the claim that the planning department will reject a similar proposal is, for the lack of a better word, ludicrous.

Read my comment more carefully. The ridiculousness is that they base their restrictions on current built form. Toronto's built form is vastly different from Mississauga's, which's why I said "had they been in charge of Mississauga," not "had Absolute been proposed in Toronto."

And swinging back to Mississauga for a second - are you claiming that somehow the plan around MCC has been a "free for all" in terms of height and density; that there was no consideration towards transitioning, height and appropriateness of built form? That there was no boundaries applied to said areas?

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying is that Mississauga was wise enough to consider heights on a case by case basis. They allowed Absolute to go up based on its design merits, something our city couldn't care less for. They also made unbiased, non arbitrary decisions, vastly different from the random decision making that our city employs. Case in point is the rejection of Massey, a project that has offered so much to the city, only to be rejected. Forget height precedents, what other precedent is being set by rejecting this proposal? Are we telling developers that no matter what incentives they offer for approval, they will suffer the same fate as any other project that isn't built to the city's preferred massing/height? That's a much more dangerous precedent to set than some silly height issues, unless you have a sever fear of heights like city council.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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It is irrelevant, because it assumes that height limits are beneficial to a city. Tell that to NYC, Chicago, etc.
Height limits should be viewed in a case by case basis, not through a generalized, blanket approach covering huge parts of downtown in ridiculous height restrictions to avoid "shadowing issues" and maintain "view vistas." If one were to relocate downtown, do you really think that they care much about sunshine on a sidewalk? I can already hear the "but NYC has setback laws" excuse being cued. I have no problem with setbacks! NYC did not impose height limits, nor are their streets as sun washed as some people here like to believe. They also allow towers to be built touching each other.

Are you sure NYC doesn't have height limits? Have a read of how the bonusing system works there:
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/03/28/new_york_planning_chief_offers_tips.html

How is it significantly different from what we have in Toronto?

As to this:

Yes, I know they have a lot more population, but Chicago does this as well; what's the excuse for that? If I want to feel like I'm surrounded by a forest of tall buildings in downtown, that's my preference. Who is city staff to tell people like me that even in downtown, buildings can't be built this way? Why are they so obsessed with sun anyways, considering low-rise neighbourhoods and huge parks are no longer than a 5 minute walk from any location in downtown?

Let me flip the question back to you - who is city staff to to tell people that height is by default the most desirable characteristic?

Read my comment more carefully. The ridiculousness is that they base their restrictions on current built form. Toronto's built form is vastly different from Mississauga's, which's why I said "had they been in charge of Mississauga," not "had Absolute been proposed in Toronto."

Just what is the built form around the Absolute site prior to the site being developed exactly? And tell me how is that similar to this particular example, and we shall talk.

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying is that Mississauga was wise enough to consider heights on a case by case basis. They allowed Absolute to go up based on its design merits, something our city couldn't care less for. They also made unbiased, non arbitrary decisions, vastly different from the random decision making that our city employs. Case in point is the rejection of Massey, a project that has offered so much to the city, only to be rejected. Forget height precedents, what other precedent is being set by rejecting this proposal? Are we telling developers that no matter what incentives they offer for approval, they will suffer the same fate as any other project that isn't built to the city's preferred massing/height? That's a much more dangerous precedent to set than some silly height issues, unless you have a sever fear of heights like cit

So you have one potential case of special treatment (mainly because a certain individual at the city hall wanted an icon), and you are extending it to the entire city saying that it is their modus operandi in the planning realm, and that the case isn't "unbiased", "non arbitrary". Really?

AoD
 
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gristle

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Look anywhere else in North America: NIMBYs and the politicians that rely on their votes. People seem to have be a natural resistance to change. Infill projects get attention and are shot down. Development on the fringe of town is much easier to go through approvals because there is no opposition and there are no traffic concerns on the local road network.

The OMB forces the politicians to work with planners and developers to get the best possible development with the alternative being a wildcard at the OMB.

I'm always amazed at those that rally against the OMB. Toronto is one of the greatest cities in North America. We study you in our schools and governments. You guys are doing something right, don't you think? Would you rather copy an American city? The grass isn't always greener.

Nowhere else in North America is there a body with the extensive range and power of the OMB. You fail to acknowledge that. You also fail to acknowledge that there are very critical elements of planning that the OMB does not involve itself in. The tendency is to focus on envelope and virtually nothing else. Your reference to NIMBY's, as typical, diminishes the fact that these are the human beings who populate this city, and not some reducible element that can be done away with by way of a derisive title. Also, your assumption of an either/or scenario when it comes to criticism of a development shows quite conclusively that you haven't been involved in much of the development debate for the King-Spadina area of the city - as you make zero reference to any nuance of that multi-year debate (since you directed your response to that thread over here). The portrayal of it as being some sort of nimby-directed efforts or councilor-enforced action is glib and uninformed.

With respect to the OMB, the politician and planners, the OMB does quite the reverse. It disallows any exeptionalism on the part of either planning or development. Rather than enforcing portions of planning provisions, it almost exclusively grants allowances based on precedents (and often its own precedent-setting decisions). In doing so, it hamstrings flexibility in city planning, and enables the undermining of the city plan on the basis of any exception that the city may allow. Furthermore, the city plan, and the secondary plans, are products of democracy in that these instruments are passed by council. They can be thoroughly eroded by a single OMB appointee who typically has no background in planning, and change the built form character of an entire neighbourhood. That essentially gives the OMB dictatorial powers. That you would choose to diminish professional city planners, public interaction, the work of elected councilors and the democratic process in favour of an out-of-date tribunal system suggests to me a belief in unbridled development and the unimpeded interests of developers. You seem to allude to Toronto being a great North American city because of the OMB. If this is the case, the only response is laughter.

Regarding my opposition to the OMB, there is nothing to be amazed by. I've attended its hearings and read the reports, and I'm not terribly impressed. Why should I be? I think the city should have this appeals board within its jurisdiction and actually make it speak to all aspects of planning, not merely being so stuck on building envelope. I think Toronto should have more effective control over its planning and should generate a more mature planning process because it is a mature city. But this can't happen if the process is under the paternalistic smack-down of an unelected body staffed by appointees who may not even be from Toronto. They do not do planning. Why would anyone want them to in the position of constantly making planning decisions?
 

Xray_Crystal_Junkie

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As much as it pains me to bring up this topic, now buried two pages back...

When I feel the need to defend her against inflammatory posts and inaccurate information, I'll be the first one there. The fact that you flagged my post on KWT here says something too!

The fact that you elicited a response, the intention of your post, by bring up her name is proof that people are criticizing her on things she doesn't deserve to be criticized for? Huh?

You may see people as attacking her purely out of ideological reasons, but you defend her in the same manner. I'm willing to bet you would defend most anything she supported/demonized because it's her.

Put another way: I imagine if Rob Ford was "alarmed" at the loss of a parking structure to development, you would criticize him for his backward thinking and obsession with the car.
 
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