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Axe to fall on awful Queen & Gladstone condo project

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 27, 2014

toronto gladstone condoA whopping 26-storey proposed condominium at Queen and Gladstone looks destined to get the chop at next month's Toronto and East York Community Council meeting. Planning staff say the 90-metre wedge-shaped tower would be an "over-development" of the site, which is directly opposite the Gladstone Hotel.

"The height and scale of the building are not appropriate for the site," a city staff report says. "The density is too high, the relationship to the Gladstone Hotel is not appropriate." It reminds local councillors who will vote whether to toss the proposal out next month that the all of the development in the surrounding area is mid-rise.

The official local height limit is 16 metres.

And you thought the Bohemian Embassy was a shock to the neighbourhood.

The proposed density of the tower would be 10 times the area of the lot, much higher than any of the buildings approved in the vicinity. The height would also cast unacceptably large shadows on the neighbourhood. In spring, the building would block light as far east as Lisgar Street.

toronto gladstone condoAn eight-storey building was proposed for the same site in 2007. The planning application was appealed at the Ontario Municipal Board and eventually withdrawn in 2013. The site was sold to the current owners - "YOLO INC" (yeah, really) - shortly after and plans for an even taller 28-storey tower were presented at a public meeting last summer.

Reading through the report, there isn't much city staff like about this proposal at all. It's too tall, has too many units (but not enough with 3-bedrooms,) not enough parking or amenity space, and the unusual angular shape does not step back from the street as required.

In short, this one's destined for the scrap heap unless it gets a total overhaul.

toronto gladstone condoChris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: Kirkor Architects Inc.

Discussion

45 Comments

Sean / March 27, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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Finally, someone saw how ugly the condo is. If developers want to build someting unique, make the condos bigger. 9x9 bedrooms don't cut it anymore.
Mark / March 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm
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Vomited a little in my mouth. Thanks.
donut hole / March 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm
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rip gladstone cafe
Todd Toronto / March 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm
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Wait. Can YOLO go to the OMB?
Steph / March 27, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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Shameless. Liberty Village/WQW have been damaged beyond repair and there's no end in site.
no_not / March 27, 2014 at 01:09 pm
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This can't be serious. It's the most expensive troll ever. Either that or it's the perfect monument to current development - can't make up my mind. Maybe we deserve it.
RealityCheck / March 27, 2014 at 01:09 pm
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Question...Why do we have the word "awful" in this headline. I not disputing that it IS awful. It is... But then so are at least 3/4s of the condo projects profiled on this site.
iSkyscraper / March 27, 2014 at 01:34 pm
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Oh yes, let's limit all construction along one of the city's major transit arteries to 16 stories, forever. That's how it works in all big cities, right?
steve / March 27, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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Not understanding the connection between whopping and 26 stories. How is 26 stories whopping?
wheeee / March 27, 2014 at 01:51 pm
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YOLO!
Dogma replying to a comment from steve / March 27, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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It's a question of scale: 26 stories is "whopping" if everything else on that section of street is four or five stories. Lack of setback and space around the building matter too.
Collin / March 27, 2014 at 01:53 pm
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the article brought up a lot of valid points in terms of the building blocking out the sunlight, lack of infrastructure, but really...all they have to say is "this is one fucking ugly building"
Hamish Grant / March 27, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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I love how the sun is coming from the northwest for some reason in these images. In reality this monstrosity will block the sun to Queen St. for most of the afternoon.
YOLO / March 27, 2014 at 02:04 pm
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Drake (or his associates) is trolling the city.
sw replying to a comment from Steph / March 27, 2014 at 02:06 pm
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Liberty Village was a total slum before development.....
Ilgustavo / March 27, 2014 at 02:07 pm
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Build it for crying out loud. This city needs density not sprawl.
mike / March 27, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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This entire area is being developed high density, with absolutely no alterations to transit, walking, driving or cycling infrastructure. left turns are still allowed in front of streetcars, and the sidewalks are one umbrella wide. have fun kiddies!
Mike / March 27, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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Wow, ugly isn't even the word for it...
Michael / March 27, 2014 at 02:17 pm
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I'm inclined to be pro-development and pro-density, but this is a pretty dumb proposal.

Ballsy or amateurish...I can't decide which.
Dan / March 27, 2014 at 02:20 pm
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I like it, its a really unique building

BUILD IT!!!!
jameson / March 27, 2014 at 02:23 pm
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This looks a lot like those crumby condos on the Queensway at Windermere. At least those buildings have a 2 and 3 storey podium that stepbacks the tower from the street. This straight up from the street dominating built form sure does look a lot like that awful M5V building on King-Spadina by Streetcar.

You just can't have this amount of height on an Avenue in this location. There's nothing like this here. All the height is on side streets where it doesn't take away from the retail strip (at least I don't think the existing heights nearby take away from Queen, but I'm sure some do). To me, if they make the tower slender and create a better podium it would look alright. This is a pretty good spot for density with the rail lands to the south and no neighbor to the west.
I live down the street / March 27, 2014 at 02:27 pm
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... As someone who lives within a two-minute walk, I'm glad this is getting nixed.
Sean replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / March 27, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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Yes, they can go to the OMB if they wish.
Clever Pup replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 27, 2014 at 02:34 pm
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@ISKYSCRAPER - Yes, that's how it works - or less. Paris, Vienna, Munich - they seem to be cities that thrive.
Mike / March 27, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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Never mind all that, whenever I am hungover I walk to the Gladstone Cafe and get myself a nice juciy sloppy burger. Just like iSkyscraper's mother..juicy AND sloppy! YUM
Earth Angel / March 27, 2014 at 02:43 pm
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I agree that this is "overdevelopment" of the site, and not very attractive. Perhaps a petition should get started?
Cyn / March 27, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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that is generally what my jenga tower looks like before it falls down.
Sputech / March 27, 2014 at 02:54 pm
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As someone who lives just south of the tracks, the strip of condos from Gladstone to Abell is already 'dense' enough! I will miss eating at Hot Shawarma and the Gladstone Café.
steve replying to a comment from Dogma / March 27, 2014 at 03:57 pm
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I see what your saying. So that means buildings such as 1 King Street West, Commerce court North, the Permanent trust building, Royal York Hotel, king Edward Hotel, and many others should never have been built. They were out of context to the area of two to four story buildings and all built to the property lines, not setbacks.
Good thing Eatons never finished its College street store, actually it should never have been allowed to get as far as it did.
NotThatDave / March 27, 2014 at 04:00 pm
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The first seven stories arnt that bad...its the other 19 that ruin the development.
McRib replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 27, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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transit along Queen West can barely handle the influx of new residents as it is, and with no upgrades in sight we cannot just continuously pile more and more people in. Infrastructure needs to be built as well.

Besides, this is one fucking ugly building.
RexR replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / March 27, 2014 at 04:23 pm
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This is my question exactly. Death at council isn't death at all.
Jim replying to a comment from Steph / March 27, 2014 at 04:24 pm
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*Sight
RexR / March 27, 2014 at 04:34 pm
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I like the idea of 'family sized' condos in theory. Our future is building up, lots of Europeans and New Yorkers grow up in multi-unit buildings, and people will get used to raising kids downtown.

But I don't understand where the city thinks the market is for these 3-bedroom units they want built. New buildings are often selling at $800+ per sqft (a couple in the core are over $1000). This means a 3 bedroom unit is going to cost a million bucks. There are only so many young families who could afford that.

By the same token, as much as this building needs to be scaled back, we need to let buildings grow above the neighbourhood norm. More units = more housing supply = lower housing costs in the long run. But agree that this one is just too much.
steve replying to a comment from BILD Insider / March 27, 2014 at 06:51 pm
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What a load of crap. If you know there is corruption why have you not gone to the police? What you have made clear is you hatred and intolerance. Jerk.
christopeher / March 27, 2014 at 07:59 pm
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I just googled how many unsold condo units in Toronto. Almost 20,000 came up on two different sites. IF you put yourself in a bidding war for a condo you are a fool. This is the time to negotiate the price down. Too much inventory. We as consumers need to be more responsible.
Ohboy / March 27, 2014 at 08:30 pm
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That's a "fuck you building" , if I ever saw one.
NativeTorontonianAl / March 27, 2014 at 09:33 pm
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Toronto has been under attack for a couple of decades now, but even more in the past decade. The developers/condo industry is one of the parties, and the housing up in the suburbs and the 905 region cities, which is why there has been so much wasteland sprawl. Putting aside the greed and the building-but-not-creating-the-infrastructure factor, Toronto is Toronto and will never ever escape its real identity and nature, and that is how Toronto really was and is meant and built to be a smaller larger city or mid-sized city with a natural town-like layout and soul. This has been abused and interrupted. Joni Mitchell's line stands correct, that "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot".
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Clever Pup / March 27, 2014 at 09:45 pm
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A fair comment, and I was wondering if someone would defend the 16 story limit based on creating high density, midrise buildings along the avenue.

In theory, I agree with you. In practice, I don't see too many places in North America where they were able to pull that off. (Wash, DC would be an exception). Some hybrid of Vancouverism and New York-ese is what we can realistically work with, and I think we should be not be ashamed of height. Better quality streetscapes, more attractive, narrow floorplates, view corridors, shadow studies -- absolutely. But to rule out based on height should never happen (remember the Lopping Off of Minto Eglinton).

Queen St will not remain a 1940s streetcar forever. It will gradually evolve into a pretty decent LRT-streetcar hybrid once children are no longer serving as Mayor. It is a street that can handle higher density.
Friar Canuck / March 27, 2014 at 09:55 pm
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I'd rather see that strip mall be vacant for one hundred years than see that condo in the next fifty.

Plus the Gladstone Cafe is a great place for a late night bite.
zoom / March 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm
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Jameson comment on the M5V on King West is do right. I live near it and every day I think it just gets ruder and invasive.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / March 28, 2014 at 06:48 am
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Of course, we can always get rid of the car on Queen Street, or ban parking; that's done in Europe and Scandinavia, why not here in Canada?
Bobby / March 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm
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This one should be scaled down a tad. Maybe 18 storeys or so. Why don't you anti-development people fight developers rezoning farmland for low-density sprawl. That's a bigger sin than this development could ever be.
kn / March 30, 2014 at 05:07 pm
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The city planning dept is completely useless. They have a plan but they completely ignore it. No, sorry they don't ignore it, the councillors do. Before anybody steps in and says it's the OMB, people need to understand the power the councillors wield. The planning dept has absolutely no control over what the councillor wants to push through. Prime example is Adam Vaughan. In Alexandra park, 20 story building are ok. Why? Most of the homes in Alex park are rooming houses or public housing. The coop people want their own town homes rebuilt, their own community centre (Scadding court, one street away, doesn't cut it for them I suppose) and their own private daycare. So, Adam promises a deal without even consulting the public. What a clever deal, rebuilding a ghetto. Now, we have proposals for developments at Spadina and College and along Bathurst and Adam disapproves of because they are toooo tall. What happens? Development freeze!!

How can you develop a workable plan to develop a city when every councillor is pushing their own personal agenda and there isn't any continuity?? No wonder developers think they can do whatever they like and we still have the OMB. Who can trust a councillor to these issues when they haven't even committed to the most basic research or plan? Why are we building these massive structures in areas that have almost no public transit? (No a streetcar is not a substitute for a subway.)

Take a little trip around Toronto. There are huge areas in need of development, not just the downtown core. These buildings are severely skewing the demographics of the main part of the city. These condos only bring singles or couples without children. We need innovative solutions to keep each community diverse. More family units, smaller private coops, stacked town homes, intimate infill freehold style condo buildings like the cube on College. 6 stories with big apartments 1200-1500sq ft as more affordable alternatives to semi detached or detached homes. We need a council of architects that review the buildings being proposed not clown councillors pushing agendas.
ROGER / April 11, 2014 at 05:47 pm
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LOOK UP "AGENDA 21" A UNITED NATIONS AGENDA--ONLY ON THE INTERNET.

THE TINY NUMBER WHO ACTUALLY CONTROL THE PLANET ARE TAKING AWAY PROPERTY RIGHTS, VIA THIS PROPOSAL, WHICH PRETENDS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT. MANY UNDERHANDED TRICKS ARE BEING CARRIED OUT. THE PLAN IS FOR EVERYONE TO LIVE IN TINY STACK AND PACK APARTMENTS IN URBAN AREAS. ONLY THE TINY NUMBER OF WEALTHIEST WILL HAVE HOMES.

EXPO 1967 SHOWED THESE NEW HOME, CALLED "HABITAT FOR HUMANITY." PRIVATE PROPERTY WILL BE THE PRESERVE OF THE SUPER WEALTHY ONLY.

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