queen and coxwell

Toronto neighbourhood divided over big new condo project meant to revitalize area

A major development project set to revitalize multiple properties on Queen Street East will bring new, much-needed affordable housing to the area, but it seems the neighbourhood is divided over the size of the project.

News of the Queen Coxwell Revitalization project was released about four months ago by the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Context Development.

They announced that the major revitalization of TCHC's Don Summerville Apartments at 1555 and 1575 Queen St. East would replace the 120 rent-geared-to-income TCHC units currently on site, as well as add 100 new affordable rental apartments (with rents set at no more than 80 per cent of Toronto's average market rent), 180 rental apartments at market rates and 350 condominiums.

All in all, the total number of housing units on the existing property will increase from 120 to 750 — but some residents think that's simply too many.

One resident of the area, Cathy Moxey, expressed her concerns in the I am a Leslievillian! Facebook group earlier this week after attending a meeting about the project. 

"Many of the residents that attended were unhappy with the project," she wrote online before outlining several of her concerns. 

The first, she wrote, is density. She said the size of the project is simply too big, and that there would be far too many units and residents for just three acres of land.

She also said the proposed heights of the buildings (10 stories, 15 stories, 17 stories) are of concern. 

"Does this open up the area for other developers to build large towers," she wrote. "I think our community is unique and the design of this complex does not match the area. Queen Street is allocated for no larger than 8 stories however they got around this by specifying that the building is on Eastern Ave."

Moxey also wrote that she and other residents are concerned about the proposed entrances to the buildings, the lack of bike lanes and green space, an oversized (and ugly) proposed parking lot and whether the design of the project matches the rest of the area. 

"Not sure if anything can be done at this point to decrease the size of this monstrosity. I did get the attention of a consultant for the developer and the City of Toronto assured 'us' that they would take concerns into consideration and make recommendations. I ask for your support and as many residents in the area as possible to hopefully make some changes to this development," she concluded. 

But some of the comments on her post, of which there are 128, tell a different story. 

Many Leslieville residents are on board with the revitalization project, despite its massive size. 

"I've been a fan of this project because they're preserving the number of TCHC units while adding cheap rental units," one Facebook user wrote

"We're already getting high density along queen. I think we're going to have to get used to that. My issue with this project has been that they aren't doing as much as they can to up the number of affordable units."

"There is efficiency in density," wrote another. "You can build more units if you make it taller, adding more affordable housing. This is low/mid density in the big picture of Toronto condo developments. There are many 90 + story buildings going in downtown."

Another meeting for the project is set to be held in June before ideally going to city council in September for approval. 

At the time of the original announcement, Mayor John Tory said he hopes to see the project completed by some point in 2023. 

"This revitalization is about more than just bricks and mortar, it’s about creating a new community, where renters and TCHC tenants and condo owners live side by side," he tweeted at the time.

"Above all else, this project is about addressing the many levels of housing affordability needs in this city."

Lead photo by

Toronto Community Housing

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