109 Ossington

Ossington to get the condo it doesn't want

109OZ, a condo project that's proved the source of much tension between the developer and Ossington area residents, has been approved by the Ontario Municipal Board. When first proposed, 109OZ seemed to serve immediately as the focal point for a series of hard questions related to gentrification on Ossington. While development along the strip (and certainly the restaurant boom) was already well underway, the neighbourhood was very concerned about the proposed condo project, mostly on account of its height, the added traffic it would bring to the lower end of the street, and the possibility of corporate retail at ground level.

Thanks to the fact that the developer needed a zoning amendment to build anything higher than 14 metres, a heated community consultation process ensued, the result of which was that the project was ultimately sent to the OMB for a final decision. Neighbourhood residents didn't lose out entirely here. Although the building will remain at six storeys, the height has been reduced slightly from 21.5 to 20 metres (not a big deal) and the ground level retail space has been restricted to 500 square metres (a bigger deal). The initial concern was that a single retailer might occupy roughly 1000 square metres of space, but at half that size, the tenant won't be able to realize any big box-type plans.

One imagines that much of the concern over 109OZ has to do with precedence. As the first condo to be planned mid street (rather than at Queen as you have with 2 Ossington Lofts), neighbourhood residents rightly wanted to voice their concerns over a building that despite its modest six storey height is also twice as tall as anything else along the stretch. On the other hand, mid-rise condos like this on streets like Ossington are a great way to reduce sprawl. It remains to be seen what retailer occupies the ground floor, but the street's character is already in flux (goodbye galleries, hello high end fashion), so it's hard to speak of Ossington as a place that has a fixed identity.

What do you think? Will 109OZ prove a good or bad thing for the neighbourhood?


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