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New condo set to shake up Queen and Greenwood

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 18, 2014

toronto queen greenwoodQueen Street East at Greenwood has (so far) been mostly overlooked by the recent popularity of Leslieville and the Beaches, perhaps because the stretch doesn't quite feel like it's part of either neighbourhood.

But that could all be about to change with the arrival of an 8-storey, mixed-use condo on the south side of the street, just west of Greenwood. Where there are currently three semi-detached homes that date back to before 1913, developers are planning a new mid-rise residential building with room for four stores.

The building, as it's currently proposed, would include 110 residential units, split roughly 60-40 between 1- and 2-bedrooms, and a total of 685 square metres of retail. The architects' drawings show the building flush against the sidewalk, then stepping back a metres above the fourth floor. On Memory Lane, which runs directly behind the property, developers Rockport Inc. want 14 "stacked" townhomes with tiny (1.5 square metre) front yards.

toronto queen streetIn the planning rationale document on file with the city, the developers say the building is "appropriate and desirable" for this stretch of Queen East. Several other buildings are in the works nearby, too. At 1249-1251 Queen, which, just east of Leslie, includes Queen Street Variety, Noble HVAC, and union offices for Unifor, there's a proposal for a 6-storey building. The vacant lot next to Stratengers and a disused brick building at 1075 Queen are also targets for development.

Retail is currently sporadic beyond Alton Avenue on Queen until the Beaches picks up beyond Coxwell. The strip is a mix of detached homes - a reminder of the old residential make-up of the area - low-rise apartment complexes, and the occasional cluster of stores, including one near the Russell streetcar yard that includes a butcher, pizza restaurant, and the east-end location of the Film Buff movie rental store.

toronto queen eastAs it stands, buildings on the property are capped at 12 metres, just over a third of what's proposed. The six homes that are due to be knocked down do not have heritage protection, so that's one less hurdle to overcome.

Nobel Auto Service and Blue Sky Autobody, two worn out car repair shops on the corner of Knox Avenue, and the semi-detached home next door are not included in Rockport's plans.

What do you think?


TYPE: Condo
HEIGHT: 30.15 metres (8 storeys)
UNITS: 110 (67 1-bedroom, 41 2-bedroom, which include the 14 townhomes)
TOTAL RESIDENTIAL SPACE: 9,568 square metres
TOTAL RETAIL SPACE: 685 sq. m. (4 stores)
PARKING SPACES: 106 (basement)
LOADING DOCKS: 1 (at rear)

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: Rockport Inc., Chris Bateman/blogTO



toronto dude / April 18, 2014 at 01:24 pm
It has non-offensive architecture, mixed use, seems like the appropriate density for the area and with a streetcar right outside the door; approved!....although the people that will live in the townhouses on memory lane will be looking out their front windows at a series of ramshackle garages directly across the lane from them.....
ell / April 18, 2014 at 01:26 pm
Hmmm...maybe it should be moved to Queen and Pape.

There is a property there for sale that is - er - already a half built condo!

Maybe by 2020...
Tracey replying to a comment from toronto dude / April 18, 2014 at 01:48 pm
You seem to be in favour .... do you live in the 'hood'?
Falcon / April 18, 2014 at 07:01 pm
I'm sad we're losing this stretch of houses, their large front lawns, the trees and their huge backyards. A lot of privately-owned green space will be replaced with bricks and mortar. Too bad the developer chose this site, as there are a lot of really ugly properties on Queen that should be redeveloped instead. Given that the properties have been sold and some kind of development is a done deal, I join the many others who are protesting the height, which will interfere with sunlight on the northern side of the street.
innsertn\ / April 18, 2014 at 07:43 pm
ah, the horrors of intensification! oh no,what do you mean the new building will be taller than the building it replaces? thats bad!
me / April 18, 2014 at 08:39 pm
i dig it. we need more stores in the hood. i like the mix use.
Paul / April 19, 2014 at 11:41 am
This is good. If we want to protect our residential streets and neighborhoods, we need to make better use of this land. There should be a mix of work space as well.
KARIN WYMAN / April 19, 2014 at 01:37 pm
Condos don't make a neighbourhood. Smaller family homes are beneficial to the community.
I hope the old trees will be left to stand.
jv / April 19, 2014 at 03:19 pm
This seems better than what's there; however the design seems truly uninspired. Sorta has a public housing vibe. In fact the Regent Park buildings are a lot more interesting than this box.
dawna henderson / April 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm
Butt up against the street? Looks like a cheap and uninteresting bldg. How come the east aways is a dumping ground for crap like this?
Bill P / April 20, 2014 at 01:54 pm
Sad to see the lovely duplexes go. I can't imagine why 1337/1339 would sell. They are gorgeous, and it looks like they invested a tone of money in their front hard/softscaping.

In any development, I’d like to see sidewalk widening, with optional patio spaces out front, and step back from floor two, so the sidewalk and half the road doesn’t live in shade.
MK / April 21, 2014 at 10:07 am
As a nearby neighbour, 8 stories is way too tall! I suspect the developer(s) are kicking tires to see if they can start going higher than the old rules of 4 (5) stories of development. There is nothing that high in all of Leslieville/Riverdale all the way to the Beach(es). The highest is 4-5 stories. It also would be nice (if not financially probable for a developer) if they could target properties that are not attractive. It should also be noted that at least one of the older picturesque houses on this proposal is part of a housing co-operative.
Karen / April 21, 2014 at 01:05 pm
This is absolutely unacceptable. The condo builders have turned a once beautiful city into a dark, shaded and ugly mass of tall, cold buildings.

If you want to build a condo, you better have a brilliant plan. One that exceeds expectation! The condo must adhere to current neighbourhood trends and design, and must have architectural details of interest. Say no to brick and mortar monstrosities. And never, ever should they be allowed to build butt up against the street.

As usual this city is caught up in current building with an absolute lack of forethought for the future.
trevor bond / April 21, 2014 at 05:13 pm
Guilty as charged. My client's and I started this land assembly two years back and as a realtor and as a home owner on Queen Street (with my family), I am an ardent supporter of the city's plan. Big green private lawns are best served on side streets. The life-blood of our city is along the "avenues" and Queen and Greenwood is a 'grey zone' with under-utilized spaces, major gaps in retail and little mixed use. I was brought up in the 'burbs and watched incredible farm land be consumed by 'tiny little boxes', to preserve the green belt, to elevate traffic congestion, to encourage cycling and to provide small shop spaces for entrepreneurs these mid rise condos must be encouraged. Checked, but encouraged. This isn't some cheap glass tower, this is a reputable builder with good intentions and a fine record. I welcome their investment in our area. On a further note, many folks here commenting are making incorrect statements detailing the properties involved. Please respect the decisions of your neighbours, they were informed and carefully considered.
Elaine / April 21, 2014 at 09:03 pm
I find this proposal horrifying and deeply sad. What kind of person looks at a row of beautifully maintained century homes and thinks, hmmm let's knock them down. There are plenty of neglected buildings in this part of town that could benefit from a good bulldozing but these houses are not in that category. Leslieville does not need or want this kind of development in this area. Please look at the example on the corner of Queen and Pape, or the one at Queen and Hastings that never got off the ground. Even more disturbing is that it does not include the autoshops on the corner.So the proposal is to destroy the green space, block out the sun but keep the eyesores.
Ailene / April 22, 2014 at 03:43 pm
Just FYI the building being sold that belongs to the co-op is the co-op's office space, it is not used as housing.
MAX / April 24, 2014 at 06:12 am
I'm in favour of the project. I think it's in keeping with the city's plans of mid-rise densification along arterials. It'll give a solid boost to the rather spotty retail that exists between Leslie and Coxwell. While I will miss the quiet elegance of the old homes currently there, I think it's worth the trade-off - my immediate neighbourhood will have more vitality and street presence. Those ratty old autobody shops will not hold out forever, either... soon enough they'll go.
Carol Deacon / April 24, 2014 at 09:22 am
You’ll find very few people in Leslieville support suburban sprawl as a sound planning scheme for the City of Toronto. We understand and accept intensification along our main corridors like Queen Street. Most people would and do welcome vibrant, high quality, mixed use development in our area. We want the retail businesses to thrive between Coxwell and Leslie streets. So, let’s not pretend that when we oppose the 1327 – 1339 Queen Street (Queen & Laing) development that we don’t understand the bigger picture or support development in Leslieville. The Queen & Laing development is eight (8) storeys, 110 units, and 106 parking spaces. That is simply too high and too dense. The parking and traffic issues will be a nightmare for all concerned. It far exceeds the 14 metre zoning under the Official Plan and is completely out-of-keeping with the rhythm of the street and the community. This is not development; this is over-development.
Katy / April 24, 2014 at 10:18 am
This proposed eight storey building is simply too high, but I am all for well built interesting architecture within urban spaces that will help re-vitalize this little strip of Queen. Developers along with the city also need to create a well thought out traffic plan: street calming, parking, cycling lanes, one way streets, better transit, to keep up with the increase in overall density.

The last worst completed project in this neighbourhood was the Canadian Tire complex at Lakeshore/Leslie. It's dark, gloomy and smelly at all the individual shop access points, with it's fake facade/north facing window/doorways and terrible main floor layout that usually includes a roped off Canadian Tire patio furniture 'no seating allowed' display.
John / April 24, 2014 at 02:02 pm
This building development is too big for this neighborhood! Why does it require underground parking when it is right on the TTC line?. Horrible design!!!
Bill / May 2, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Count me with those who oppose this (over)development. These developers are just profiting from all the hard work people have done over the past 20 years to fix up the old houses and industrial buildings and make Leslieville a fabulous community. When they wouldn't have invested a dime 20 years ago, now they swoop in to build these highrises. And the argument that these condos enhance retail is nonsense. Look at Main and Danforth - highest density and worst retail on the Danforth. If Lesieville wants to become a truly desirable neighbourhood, we will push for reasonable (4 storey max), high quality development along Queen, with retail at grade. If our politicians keep allowing these highrises, we are going to become swamped by downtown and end up an extension of Moss Park.
scott replying to a comment from trevor bond / March 18, 2015 at 07:34 pm
excellent comments trevor - sensible, valuable and well connected. sounds like the development itself!
paul / December 22, 2015 at 07:54 pm
Why in gods name would you need variable buildings and architecture in a city. This is totally out of place.
Most of people who agree with this are the condo people who moved into the area when it became Leslieville.

I get you a million dollar this is being done by Streetcar development. They have littered the area with ugly buildings that dont look any better than public housing/ coops that were built in the late 90's
paul / December 22, 2015 at 08:09 pm
Trevor make sure you help them get every drop of blood they can from that lands space, since you seems to know so much about green belt and ttc accessibility. (effing pretentious parrot if you ask me

Make sure they fill up the lot as much as they can, have the gas meters hanging on the sidewalks, and windows right on the sidewalk, like some of these supposedly "small scale" condo buildings that were slammed into the gas stations lots (yes that's what they were empty gas station lots) that were on Queen east prior to 2007.

Why would anyone who lives in a city need a patch of green, around where they live.
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