645 yonge toronto

Toronto pub is trying to stop a 76-storey tower claiming it will 'loom over' property

A local Toronto watering hole is fighting back against an imposing (albeit stunning) forthcoming condo tower that will rise 76 storeys above the block and, in the words of owners, "loom over" their property.

The skyscraper slated for 645 Yonge Street, at the corner of Isabella Street, would bring to the area 678 homes, an expansive and airy retail atrium, 425 square metres of community cultural space, and an amenity centre located under an impressive glass dome at the high-rise's tip.

But, as alluring and chic as the renderings for the immense development are, those at neighbouring pub the Artful Dodger, a mainstay of the neighbourhood at 10-12 Isabella, are decidedly not fans.

Owners have lawyered up in preparation to contend the complex, which they say fails to "adequately adapt to the context" of the streetscape, does not consider the site's relationship to surrounding properties, and "does not represent good urban design," among other concerns. 

A letter recently submitted to the City from the attorney representing the restaurateurs — who are seniors who have owned the Dodger, founded in 1989, for decades — note that their land "represents their major asset" whose value and future would be compromised by the aggressive development.

The communication expresses concerns about the height and other aspects of the design that don't appear to follow City regulations, the fact that the Heritage status of the Dodger (and its existence in general) was not taken into account plans, and that new legislation prevents residents and business owners from formally appealing the proposal.

"The proposal is premature. At the level of detailed land use and urban design, the proposal has numerous shortcomings," an urban planner consulted for the document writes.

"Its design does meet the policies of Torontos Tall Building Design Guidelines, reduces on-site amenity space considerably for all future residents, [and] severely limits the ability of the [Dodger] property to develop in accordance with the policies of the Toronto Official Plan and in conformity with the Toronto Zoning By-law."

They also notes the lack of space the development allots for affordable housing, which "does not address [relevant] policies at both the provincial and municipal level," and the fact that the tower would make any future sale of the bar property (for redevelopment of its own) extremely difficult.

The letter ends with a request for the proposal, as it stands now, to be deferred and for City staff to address the issues outlined, and leave room for potential appeal.

Meanwhile, a notice of intention to designate the 645 Yonge site itself under the Ontario Heritage Act was filed last year.

Lead photo by

AS+GG Architecture for KingSett Capital


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