According to Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, there may be a movement of commercial offices to the downtown core and that this is coming at the cost of the suburbs. One can only assume that the long commute times are responsible for this trend.
“Previously thriving suburban office parks are now experiencing double digit vacancy rates and declining rents, as employers flock downtown.”
Looking at commercial properties for sale in Weston, there is currently only one office property on offer:
When it comes to retail stores however, there is no shortage of properties for sale, some of them very well known to Westonians.
The City of Toronto gathers and publishes data when officers attend and verify that a by-law infraction has occurred in an apartment building.¹
Now, I present to you the fruit of a sleepless night: the first-ever map of building infractions in Weston and Mount Dennis, using that data.²
Every landlord on Jane and Weston who received a visit from the Municipal Licensing and Standards is on the list. The majority of buildings receive only one or two visits in a year.
The infractions range from the minor (fallen branches) to the severe (unsafe conditions). Which infractions apply to which building is somewhat difficult to determine, though I’m working on it. (Any Excel masters want to pitch in?)
Buildings with 1–2 visits received a star. 3–6 visits are coded green. 7–12 visits are coded yellow, and 13–24 are pinkish. More than 24 are coded with a caution sign.
There are at least four good reasons to be careful before saying that more visits is worse:
First, a large building will get more visits
The severity of the infractions is not coded (and I’d worry more about, say, a hole in the roof than junk on the lot).
Buildings change and improve. Landlords fix problems.
It’s possible‚ even likely, that the data or I am in error
Still, the buildings with a caution sign received more visits than 97.5% of the rest of the community, for one reason or another.
¹ The city is amazing at open data, at least compared to the province and the feds, which really pale in comparison.
² I was inspired by Landlordwatch, who are working on a similar project. They, however, are rather political, and their data has a few flaws.
Frances Nunziata had a meeting tonight to discuss the future of the Christian Brothers warehouse site at 30–46 Rosemount. In her flyer, Nunziata says that the new owners, the Varone Group, are asking to develop office and retail space, as well as a daycare.
The last institutional daycare in Weston closed in 2013.
Your correspondent was not able to attend (bedtime), but I would love to hear news from the meeting.
According to an article in the Globe and Mail, between the December quarters of 2014 and 2015, Toronto home prices increased by 9.04%. During that same period, the price of homes sold in the Weston M9N postal code jumped from an average of $367,045 in the quarter ending December 2014 to $464,958, a startling increase of 26.7%. The M6M code to the west which includes part of Mount Dennis has done even better with an average increase of 33.2%.
What does this mean? Weston and Mount Dennis are among the last few relatively affordable areas left in Toronto. Compared to the rest of the city, prices are low and people are desperate to get into the housing market. Homes are being snapped up before they become out of reach.
The Mount Dennis newsletter has a lot of great stuff, including, bestill my heart, a disputation on bicycles. The MDCA is asking the city staff to build a “Railpath North” from downtown through the Junction to Mount Dennis, among other things.
The Railpath, if you haven’t had the pleasure, is a bike highway that along the tracks in the downtown west end. It’s fantastic. Extending it would be an enormous benefit to us. Right now, getting to the west end safely is impossible; to ride on Jane is to hate life. Yet,
A dedicated rail‐side multi‐use path [could] be built from Ray Ave. to Rogers Road. This will allow cyclists to avoid the hill as well as the dangerous Weston / Black Creek intersection… With some creative engineering, it could connect through the Junction to the existing Railpath.
The MDCA says they have also got an agreement from Metrolinx that the new bridge over Eglinton will “safely accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians…with full separation from the busy bus‐way”
But why stop there? Weston and Mount Dennis are bike barren, and they needn’t be. York, where I work, is almost an easy bike commute, and our neighbourhood is an ideal community for employees: there’s an express bus to campus (where parking is a fortune) and we nearly have the infrastructure in place; all it would take is a safe route along Wilson—which, according to the city’s plans, we may get.
Tie it together with a safe route along Albion, and we are in business: a bike commuter’s paradise, with a short ride to Humber, York, the Junction and downtown.
The Satin Finish Company owners are hoping to build 99 three-storey townhouses on the site. They were rebuffed in their initial—and, honestly, quite reasonable—request to change the zoning to allow residential development. They’re now taking their case to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The Satin Finish subdivision as proposed has problems:
It doesn’t have enough shared green space
It has only one playground
It’s poorly connected to the rest of the neighbourhood, with only one street entrance
There is little effort to preserve the beautiful buildings
That said, it’s hard to argue that these should remain employment lands; homes have already popped up all around them, and a new factory in their midst would be disruptive.