New Revelations: Dufferin Mall proposal, December, 2018
Primaris Management Inc., has made a proposal that would turn all the parking lots at Dufferin Mall into apartment towers.
A newsletter from City counsellor Ana Bailão was the first indication for the broader community of this new development proposal.
In the second item in her Dec. 4 newsletter, City Councillor Ana Bailão said public participation in decisions about the proposed Dufferin Mall development is: “crucial” and continued “I am bringing this to your attention as soon as I became aware to ensure you have an opportunity to get involved.”
There is some indication plans have been ongoing. Developer friendly news site Buzzbuzzhome.com reported on Dec. 5 that high-powered firms “Quadrangle Architects and Urban Strategies are handling the architecture and planning of the project.”
Reporter Ryan McGovern wrote: “Primaris is currently working with the redevelopment team and city officials on preparing an official development application, which should come some time in 2019.”
BBBD, a neighbourhood coalition, has long advocated for housing, parks, community space and a new, robust high school on the South-West corner of Bloor and Dufferin. Three TDSB school properties that occupy the site are slated to be sold for development.
There is a public meeting, hosted by Primaries scheduled for Bloor Collegiate Institute cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. on January 21st, 2019.
Please make an effort to attend.
What’s the Problem: The School lands at Bloor and Dufferin?
The TDSB-owned land at Bloor/Dufferin:
- has served as an important multi-use community asset for generations of local families,
- has been paid for by taxpayer dollars already,
- is one of the last remaining large parcels of public land on the Bloor subway line, and;
- is located in a community where real estate is too expensive at fair market value for many non-profits, arts groups and potential residents.
In 2017, 1,300 Toronto residents petitioned to ask that the sale of the public land at Bloor/Dufferin take into account the multiple needs of the local community and the area that surrounds it. This petition came after a decade of community dialogue regarding future use of these lands. It is now broadly understood in our community that these needs include: a robust community hub; deeply affordable housing; adequate green space; significant reinvestment in Bloor Collegiate Institute; and other tangible community benefits.
Unfortunately, the process through which the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) sold this land did not take these community needs into account. Provincial regulation required only top market value for the land and the provincial funds currently allotted for a “community hub” at the site are woefully inadequate. We are aware that the TLC has been working toward a more open and publicly-minded community process at other sites, having learned from this flawed process in our community, but that leaves a significant gap here at Bloor and Dufferin.
The Toronto Lands Corporation is a wholly owned subsidy of the Toronto District School Board and should be able to respond to community needs.
What are we asking for?
The community wants to resolve this issue. If the sale of the TDSB land at Bloor/Dufferin cannot be stopped, the province and the City of Toronto can still ensure that the deal does not leave community needs unmet. With the $121 million sale of this land and the community asset that it represents, the community needs $48.5 million in additional funds reinvested in the site to help ensure that redevelopment of this public land will include a robust community hub and daycare, adequate public green space, affordable housing, and a sufficient rebuild of Bloor Collegiate.
Specifically, the reinvestment in the community should include:
- Additional finished space and at least $16.5 million for a community hub of 70,000 square feet as envisioned by the multi-stakeholder 18-member Community Hub Visioning Group who consulted with approximately 450 diverse local residents over a 10-month period. These funds must be additional to the $7 million already allocated to the hub by the previous provincial government.
- Additional land (minimum additional 0.5 acre, which we estimate is valued at approximately $7 million) for public green space to relieve current and future overuse pressures on Dufferin Grove Park and the loss of well-used public tennis courts and basketball courts on the site.
- Land for a 200-unit building of deeply affordable and supportive housing (estimated value $15 million). This would be in addition to the required minimum 10% of affordable housing units that should be integrated into the proposed buildings.
- Additional funds of at least $10 million for the rebuild of Bloor Collegiate to ensure the school will adequately serve future students and will remain a resource for community celebrations, public meetings, and showcases of student efforts. We agree with the local school community that current enrollment projections do not account for the massive residential growth in our area. Current provincial funding formula does not provide sufficient funds to build a school of adequate size for our growing population. The Province has not committed adequate funding for the rebuild.
The estimated cost of these community assets is $48.5 million, which is less than half the $121 million sale price of these public lands.
As you can imagine, a project of this scale consists of several stakeholders: the community, the Toronto District School Board, the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Developers. All stakeholders need to work together to ensure transparent and appropriate development of the site. We want people to contact any of the key players to voice your thoughts, concerns and opinions about any aspect of the site’s development—the new school, the proposed community hub or the development itself—as it evolves.
Building a Better Bloordale is an independent community network invested in making the Bloor-Dufferin Development the best possible for Bloordale, Bloorcourt and Toronto.
We are a group of volunteers—residents, businesses, parents—who care about our neighbourhood. We are vocal about the planning and design process; the building of 2,000 condo and rental units on the site, and; the absolute need for a rebuilt Bloor Collegiate, a cultural and social community hub, as well as other amenities. We strive to provide information about the development of the nine-acre on the south-west corner of Bloor and Dufferin Streets. We are working to build relationships and lines of communication with the various stakeholders to ensure that your voice is heard.
THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the owner of the Bloor-Dufferin school lands which included: Kent Senior Public School (closed in 2012), Bloor Collegiate Institute and Brockton High School (closed in 1995), along with the green spaces used by these schools and the local community. It was via the Toronto Lands Corporation, a subsidiary of the TDSB that the lands were sold to the Developer.
THE CITY OF TORONTO
The City of Toronto will naturally be heavily involved with respect to planning approvals. However, the City has also mandated that a licensed child care centre be included as part of the development process and will be watching closely to ensure that this commitment is kept and met by the Developer.
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
Under the previous government, the Province partnered with the TDSB on the new school and committed $20 million to support the construction of a new high school (replacing Bloor Collegiate Institute and Alpha II). Also, as part of it’s general Community Hub mandate, the province promised up to 30,000 square feet dedicated to community hub use.
The June 7 election of a Progressive Conservative Government throws the whole funding formula into question. Further, Premier Doug Ford’s passage of a bill to cut the number of councillors in the City of Toronto from 47 to 25 has made the situation even more difficult. These changes will also affect Toronto District School Board ward boundaries.
Your voice will be even more important in this municipal chaos. Ask questions about our community and how the development of Bloor Dufferin can help preserve our educational assets, social diversity and cultural heritage.
The developer is Capital Developments. According to the TDSB’s press release in December, 2016: “Capital Developments is a recipient of Project of the Year at the 2016 BILD awards, the industry’s highest project level distinction, for the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos, a 650 unit development with 80,000 square feet of retail in the Yonge & Eglinton area. Capital Developments has partnered with Timbercreek Asset Management and Metropia to provide an in-depth and experienced multi-faceted approach to developing the Bloor- Dufferin site. Capital Developments’s core team includes Hariri Pontarini (architect), Bousfields (urban planner) and Savira Cultural + Capital Projects (cultural consultant).”
According to Metropia’s website, they are “a privately owned and highly respected real estate developer creating authentic Communities in both the Greater Toronto Area and Calgary. Metropia focuses on community building, urban renewal and design innovation. Our communities offer a wide range of housing options with an emphasis on affordability and an abiding responsibility to the environment.”
A dedicated website to the Bloor-Dufferin development has been posted by the developer: A World Class Destination.
A more extensive, and unhyped, version of the development proposal can be found at the City of Toronto’s Development Applications web page. This clunky, interactive, map details development applications in the city. Search for 90 Croatia St., which is the planning address for the Bloor/Dufferin development. Spend a few minutes looking at the other developments proposed and built in our neighbourhood.
We are facing rapid growth with 10,000 new townhouses, condos and rental apartments proposed, or built, in the last few years.
(current as of Nov. 10/18)
TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
Stephanie Donaldson, trustee
Although elected in the October election, Donaldson will not take office as a trustee until Dec. 1/18. She may acquire a new addresses for emails, Facebook, Twitter and telephone about that time. Got to the TDSB website for updated information.
Alexis Dawson – Ward 9 Trustee (Davenport): 416.395.8787
(Dawson was appointed trustee after the election of Marit Styles as MPP for Davenport riding. Dawson did not run for trustee in the municipal election on October 22, 2018.)
She still remains trustee until her retirement on the appointment of Stephanie Donaldson.
email: Mike Gallagher
John Malloy – Director of Education 416-397-3190
CITY OF TORONTO
Bailao won the Oct. 22 municipal election with as large majority. She has been supportive and recognizes the need for community space in any development.
Lynda Macdonald – Manager, City Planning Division: email@example.com or 416-392-7618 or @cityplanto
Kirk Hatcher – Planner, Community Planning: Kirk.Hatcher@toronto.ca or 416.392.0481 or @cityplanto
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
Marit Stiles, (Davenport, NDP) MStiles-QP@ndp.on.ca 416-326-7202
Formerly TDSB trustee for the Davenport area, Stiles was elected MPP in the June, 2018, provincial election. She has been supportive and recognizes the need for community space in any development.
Lisa Thompson – Minister of Education, (Huron-Bruce)
Lisa McLeod – Minister of Community and Social Services, (Nepean), firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-325-5225
Raymond Cho – Minister for seniors and accessibility, (Scarborough North,) email@example.com, 416-325-9100
Steve Clark – Minister of municipal affairs and housing, (Leeds Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes) 416-585-7000
Matt Young – Capital Developments, VP Development: firstname.lastname@example.org