toronto college residence

Controversial student residence coming to College St.

The Ontario Municipal Board has made another controversial decision in favour of a Toronto developer. A proposal for a substantial student residence at College and Spadina is getting the go-ahead despite vocal opposition from local residents and city staff.

The 25-storey building will be built at 245-251 College, a few buildings west of Lillian H. Smith Library on the south side of the street. The original proposal called for a 45-storey block but, through the course of negotiations, the height was reduced by close to half.

As it stands, the student residence will stand about 80 metres with 230 units and 759 beds. The developers do not plan to include any vehicle parking and instead plan to install some 300 bike parking spaces.

The current density restrictions for College, east of Spadina, limits buildings to 2.5 times the square footage of the lot. The building plans approved by the OMB green light 12.1 times density, significantly more than the recommended limit.

"The proposed density would result in a development that does not respect and reinforce the existing physical character of the neighbourhood," a City of Toronto report said prior to the decision. "The proposed density of 12.1 times the lot area represents an overdevelopment of the site ... the proposed density is not appropriate for this site."

Last week, the board, which has authority over the City of Toronto's own planning department, approved 109OZ, a controversial mid-rise Ossington Ave. condo locals feared would give big box retailers a foothold on the strip. The OMB cut the height and divided up the ground floor retail space into sections no larger than 500 square metres, but the decision still left a bad taste for some Ossington area residents.

The College Street decision could also have an effect on other student buildings currently in the planning stage. A proposal to demolish the Hotel Waverly and relocate the Silver Dollar on Spadina Ave. for a 22-storey tower is currently the subject of an OMB hearing.

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

Image: Diamond Schmitt Architects


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