Iconic downtown Toronto hotel permanently closing to become housing for those in need
A long-established hotel that is part of the landmark Chinatown Centre in downtown Toronto is officially shutting down after being purchased by the city this week.
The Super 8 by Wyndham at 222 Spadina Ave. near Dundas was one of two buildings selected for a new affordable housing initiative, and was bought out for $22.3 million of federal funds to be turned into studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for residents in need.
It will provide 84 units, along with integrated supports like employment assistance and connections to certain programs, while a second location at 877 Yonge St. just south of Belmont will provide another 250 single-occupancy units.
Both buildings will be dedicated to vulnerable populations who are also in financial need, like Indigenous residents and other racialized groups, seniors, those living with disabilities, those at risk of homelessness and women.
The acquisitions are part of a new $200-million federal rapid housing initiative for Toronto, meaning that they will be converted for long-term residency extremely quickly, within one year. They will also serve the purpose of much-needed affordable housing in the community for a minimum of 99 years.
222 Spadina commercial units frequently appeared on the city’s list of properties in property tax arrears. Owed the city millions. Weird building. Good to see it becoming something more useful: supportive affordable housing. https://t.co/1w94VOCBW0 pic.twitter.com/nhNbIWW0Xh— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) April 15, 2021
The Super 8, a modest two-star hotel for travellers, has been used as temporary shelter space for organizations such as Covenant House for the past year amid the pandemic as travel has dwindled and the need for shelter beds has skyrocketed.
A qualified non-profit owner/operator for the location has not yet been selected, but the city expects to begin renovations this June and move new residents in by December.
Given the timeframe, no major construction or demolition work on the building is expected. The below and adjacent businesses in Chinatown Centre will remain as is, with only the three floors comprising the hotel now technically owned by the city.
This is how we tackle affordable housing: we invest in our residents, our community, and our city. I want to thank the Federal Government for their investment, and all our partners for this announcement today. https://t.co/YNzshqKdXa— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) April 15, 2021
Existing shelter residents on the site will be moved to another temporary shelter location at 92 Peter Street while the hotel is closed down and revamped for its new use.
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