Beer Store Redevelopment Public MeetingMarch 19, 2017
Oben Flats Development – 307 Sherbourne St.
The plan for a 13 story market rate apartment building at Sherbourne and Gerrard was the topic for discussion at a recent community planning meeting in January. Oben Flats development team gave a brief outline of the proposal to interested neighbours. To see the plan please click here. The city planner, heritage planner and Councillor McConnell then gave area residents an opportunity to voice their concerns, support and offer up suggestions about the proposal. City planner Jennifer Renaud advised that the plan is in its early stages and has not been approved. We were advised however that the site has been previously identified as a high building site by city planners. For information about tall building sites and the rationale in identifying such sites please click here. Heritage planner Paul Maka advised that the proposed building is subject to some heritage planning regulations due to its location across for Heritage Designated Allan Gardens and the heritage designated building on the south west corner adjacent to the vacant lot.
- Immediate neighbours voiced concerns about the size and the architectural style of the building. The concern about potential shading of Gerrard Street and Allan Gardens was also raised. The developer provided a shading study which did seem to indicate the shading of Allan Gardens is not an issue.
- Some neighbours indicated they liked the idea of market rate apartments,and liked the architectural design of the building and the need to redevelop the long vacant lot.
- Concerns were raised about the height and the look of the building and how the proposed building would impact on the heritage character of the neighbourhood. Area architects suggested that the podium height is inappropriate and needs to be reduced to a three storey podium to better connect with the surrounding buildings. Many area residents voiced the need for some commercial/retail space on the ground floor to help anchor retail mix along Gerrard Strreet. Other neighbours felt that although our area has not yet designated, the neighbourhood is slated under study as a Heritage Conservation District and any new development should be subject to height and design in keeping with the surrounding streetscape.
- There were also concerns about the lack of street parking in the area and that tenants and guests will further tax the availability of street parking in the area. Oben Flats representatives countered that parking reviews in the area indicated that most area buildings have an excess of parking spots and that most tenants will opt not to own a vehicle due to the walkability of the neighbourhood and proximity to the downtown core employment areas.
- Some area residents felt the increased density with new tenants able to pay market rent would help increase the economic development of retail and commercial buildings on Gerrard Street. Others felt the height of the building is in keeping with Sherbourne Streetscape and were relieved that a much taller building was not being proposed.
- The next steps will be for the City Planner to review the comments of the community and responding to the applicant. ObenFlats can either then revise their plans, or go to the OMB with the plans now on file. We will keep you abreast with any new developments regarding this proposal.
Further reading that might be of interest is a paper published by the Confederaton of Resident and Ratepayer Associations in Toronto (CORRA). They are reviewing a proposed Development Permit System which would be a fundamental shift in Toronto’s planning process to a “vision based neighbourhood scale” planning process. For more information please click here.