10 Wilby sales going well

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

The Humber, a 22-storey condo under construction at 10 Wilby is now 40% sold according to Options For Homes’ latest newsletter. Demand for parking spaces has exceeded supply (from the original 131) and OFH is planning to add another level of underground parking in response. This entirely non-smoking, (vaping allowed), building should be ready by 2021 or 2022.

OFH is offering a $500 reward to anyone referring someone who goes on to purchase a home in The Humber. Find out more here or in the latest OFH newsletter here.

Incidentally, OFH has some great information on their site about the amenities here in Weston.

In praise of gentrification

Me, I’d delight in a little gentrification in Weston.

Riley says that gentrification is “the displacement of longtime residents of a neighbourhood”.

I disagree. Gentrification doesn’t have to result in the displacement of long-time residents, if ‘gentrification’ means an increase in average incomes within a neighbourhood through migration. Gentrification can open more services and shops, and bring employment opportunities, while doing absolutely no harm.

For a thorough explanation, have a look at The Economist article that changed my mind. In short, though: things can get better for everyone without getting worse for anyone—as long as the development is taking up slack.

Here’s how it works: new buildings go up in vacant spaces, and new shops open in empty storefronts. Nobody loses and everybody wins. Average rents might go up, certainly—but that is because there are more high-rent units, not because the low-rent units got more expensive. Average income will go up—because more high-income people are moving in, not because low-income people are moving out.

This is exactly what I think is happening now in Weston.

Does Weston have vacant spaces? It does, and all the recent developments I can think  of are on formerly vacant land. Do we have empty storefronts? We certainly do. A few bank storefronts come to mind. I’d love to see an art gallery, a childcare, or brew pub go in one. If it means I can stumble home after a three pints of IPA and a pork-belly sandwich, gentrify on, my good man!

Everybody wins with this kind of gentrification. New residents live close to where they work, new businesses provide services where people live. Neighbourhoods become vibrant, more pedestrian friendly, more integrated and more self-sufficient. This sounds just great to me.

But it gets better: Even those who live in affordable homes benefit. Crime falls in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Tax collection rises, so public services can improve. The concentration of poverty “which a mountain of economic and sociological literature has linked to all manner of poor outcomes, including teenage pregnancy, incarceration and early death” declines.

Could rising rents result in people leaving Weston? Certainly it could, if the increase comes not from rising average rents but from rising rents at the lower end. I think, though, that we remain some way from that.

In the meantime, I’m entirely in favour.

 

 

Jennifer Keesmat in Weston

Jennifer Keesmat, mayoral candidate and Toronto’s former city planner, visited Weston this weekend, and hung out with our NDP MPP Faisal Hassan. She also met Chiara Padovani, who hopes to become our city councillor.

Keesmat with Hassan and Padovani

Is this the start of an allegiance? I’m tempted to enquire, but it’s one of those questions I don’t really want an answer to.

Your correspondent has heretofore not been a Keesmat supporter, because he has a long memory and will not forgive her for shoehorning a 29-storey tower into 22 John St, and (incorrectly) papering the decision with the tall building guidelines.

But this is an enchanting possibility: a sharp left turn, a unified front, and a clean break. I’m not yet in favour, but I could be.

Council pauses gas bar at 1391 Weston

City Council has temporarily refused the building permit for 1391 Weston Road. The owners of the property are asking to build a gas bar on the site, and to knock down the odd, round building.

Staff said they needed to investigate and negotiate:

  • “The appropriateness of the proposed use in this location;
  • Traffic impacts of the proposed development;
  • The design of the proposed commercial kiosk…
  • The loss of trees and limited amount of landscaping proposed;
  • Whether there is adequate space to accommodate internal vehicle movements.”

 

 

2346 Weston Road affordable rentals ‘open house’.

The 2346 Weston Road site. From architect’s plans.

Toronto with a vacancy rate of 1.1% needs lots more rental apartments, especially affordable ones.  Very few have been built in recent years thanks to rent controls keeping margins low and there being much more money in building and selling condos. City incentives are in place to encourage new rental buildings. I attended an ‘open house’ last night held at 1901 Weston regarding an application to build an affordable rental building at 2346 Weston Road.

Quite a few people attended but there was no presentation made, organizers choosing to scatter their people around the room and answer questions one at a time. Councillor Nunziata was on hand too.

A typical floor layout proposed for 2346 Weston Road. Click to enlarge.

The development will be a 15 storey building; the typical floor having 11 apartments as in the floor plan above; rents will not exceed the amounts posted below – 2018 numbers:

  • 1 studio apartment – 280 square feet – $922 monthly
  • 6 – 1 bedroom apartments – 409 – 473 square feet – $1,097 monthly
  • 3 – 2 bedroom apartments – 570 – 635 square feet – $1,284 monthly
  • 1 – 3 bedroom apartment – 807 square feet. – $1,477 monthly
  • No balconies
  • Each apartment will have one bathroom only.
  • The building will have one elevator.
  • There will be 52 underground parking spaces.
  • Heating will be forced-air gas and the building will not be air conditioned.
  • Tenants will pay their own utilities
  • Residents may install their own window air conditioners.
  • Rents will be controlled / held to inflation for 25 years.
  • The building owner will get property tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Comments: If we are trying to keep low income people in one area, this building will do the job and fit quite nicely into the current stock of accommodations along Weston Road. In fact, it may even be more bare-bones and certainly less roomy than others along the strip. It’s great that affordable rentals are being built but does Weston have to roll over and be grateful for what is just a modern-day continuation of the awful apartments of the 70s? The place won’t even be air conditioned – in 2018.

52 parking spaces would be admirable for a downtown building with 157 apartments. In Weston, not so much.

The fact that there will be one elevator serving 157 apartments and two levels of underground parking will be a serious issue when it inevitably fails and vulnerable tenants are stuck on upper floors.

Can we not do better than this?

For comparison, the renovated rental building next door has a spacious 2-bedroom 1-bathroom apartment with balcony going for $1300 monthly. Utilities included.

Read the complete set of application documents here.

There was a form handed out at the meeting requesting comments on the proposal. The application reference number is: 18 120119WET 11 OZ.  Email Councillor Nunziata with your comments at: [email protected]

The true measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Gandhi.

Upcoming events

There will be two important meetings this week about developments in the community:

Tomorrow, April 23rd, there will be an open house  for the proposed development at 2346 Weston Road.

Apartment building
From UrbanToronto.ca
Apartment building
From UrbanToronto.ca

The new owners are proposing a 15-storey, 157-unit, affordable apartment building with 15 bachelors, 84 one-bedrooms, 43 two-bedrooms, and 15 three-bedroom units.

To meet the city’s criteria for affordablity (and receive the fee waivers), the rents must be between $960 and $1550.

The open house will be between 7 and 8:30 pm at the 1901 Weston Road.


On April 30th, there will be meeting about the Oldstonehenge development at 1705-1707 Weston Rd.

The developers are proposing a 25 storey, 240-unit rental building.  The meeting will be 7 pm at 1901 Weston Road.

The Weston Farmers’ Market will open on Saturday, May 12, says the BIA.


Annual Jane’s Walk

The Weston Historical Society will be having their annual Jane’s Walk on May 5.  They are looking for “organizations, societies, churches, individuals, companies, schools, businesses, etc. who would like to participate.”


Annual Weston Heritage Weekend

The Weston Historical Society would also like to host a first-annual Weston Heritage Weekend on September 22 and 23rd. They’re “looking for people to join a committee to come up with ideas and to help organize the event. The first meeting will be Monday April 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the Weston Historical Society (1901 Weston Road).”


 

 UrbanArts has announced their spring lineup, which includes yoga, dance, comedy, outdoor education, and cooking. You can register for their programs online.



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CityTV report on 1730 and 1736 Weston Road

A screen shot from the CityTV article.

If there was evidence needed of gentrification in Weston, this next item might provide some.

CityTV did a story on Thursday, March 29 about the building at 1730 Weston Road where it seems the landlord, Westhaven Property Management Inc., has issued 60-day notice to tenants, many of whom are on year-to-year leases. There are apparently no plans to renovate or demolish and replace 1730 Weston Road.

The building right next door at 1736 Weston Road is home to Grace Restoration Ministries and has a notice in the front window stating that the site will be redeveloped.

Councillor Nunziata makes an appearance at the end of the news segment but provides little comfort to tenants, basically saying that if the building does get redeveloped, the new one must have retail on the ground floor or else she won’t support it.

Watch the video here.