A source tells me that a company by the name of Weston Asset Management Inc. has bought a couple of properties near its recently acquired Greenland Farm property at 1966 and 1956 Weston Road. These are the people who have proposed a 28-storey apartment building with retail at the base. In addition to #1956, the parking and laneway to Lawrence Avenue that comes with Greenland Farm, Weston Asset seems to have acquired 1952 (next to P&Ms) and 1980 Weston Road.
Attempts to find out anything about Weston Asset Management have proved to be futile as the company seems to have no web presence. Any web sleuths out there?
Let’s hope that they will be more forthcoming about who they are and their plans at the next community consultation meeting which should happen this spring.
The Greenland Food Market property has been sold and the business was recently put up for sale. What will become of food shopping in the walkable areas of Weston? The GF supermarket building is large – it once housed a Loblaws and has an excellent selection of produce and ethnic foods and spices. It serves hundreds of people within walking distance. The next nearest supermarket is the Loblaws Superstore at Weston and the 401 which is a considerable way when carrying groceries. The term ‘food desert‘ has been applied to areas in the U.S. where there is a lack of a healthy variety and selection of food. Weston may be in grave danger of becoming a food desert when Greenland Farm closes.
The GF site owner and developer has shown some attractive artist renderings indicating that a food retailer may be occupying the ground floor of the proposed high-rise. The bottom line is that the attractive drawings are done purely to attract support for the project. The actual building may be completely different. Without a legal requirement, the developer has neither wish nor obligation to specify the businesses that may lease space in their building.
Let’s hope that our councillor is working to ensure that vibrant and varied food sources are available in the densely populated parts of Weston and Mount Dennis.
Thanks to a lapse in memory, I wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting to hear plans by the owner of 1965 Weston Road. Marion at Weston’s BIA, helped out by getting me in touch with Grenville Dungey who was there and kindly shared his impressions. Here are some of Gren’s take-aways of the proposal.
The proposal is in its very earliest stages. There was a conceptual drawing but nothing else. The basic idea is for a 6-story podium building with 4 floors residential and 2 floors of retail. On top of the podium would be a residential tower that would have a smaller footprint taking the height up to 28 storeys. Residential units would be mainly one and two-bedroom with some bachelor apartments. The owner said that wind tunnel tests would be performed on models of the tower to make sure that the building didn’t create undue wind patterns.
Gren got the impression that the owner is very keen to have community input but the owner also said that if the numbers don’t work, it won’t get built. (I’m interpreting that to mean the height of the building). There would be underground parking for residents which would be accessed from the Lawrence Avenue entrance to the site.
The next meeting with more concrete ideas will be sometime next spring. If building starts it will possibly be around 2020 before anything gets started and the construction might take between 30 and 36 months.
What does the City of Toronto say about that part of Weston?
Back in 2004, the City put into place guidelines for Weston, designed (among many other things) to stop further deterioration of Weston Road into a high-rise corridor. It stipulated that new buildings along the Weston Road Corridor where the GF building now stands, should be limited to a maximum of 8 storeys. Reading the guidelines almost makes one despair at the lost opportunities as they have been totally ignored in the intervening years.
No doubt the current owner bought the site for the purpose of making money by developing to a height far beyond the guidelines. When people spend money on a property, they perform some due diligence to make sure that their plans are achievable. It seems there must be high confidence that 28 stories will pass muster at council.
Incidentally, the Greenland Farm people no longer own the building and have put the business up for sale.
At one time, Loblaws had a supermarket in ‘downtown’ Weston near Weston and Lawrence. Loblaws moved aside years ago and eventually opened its Superstore at the Crossroads Plaza. In its place we have Greenland Farms Supermarket. Some people don’t use GFS because it contains lots of ethnic foods and doesn’t quite have the glitz (or high prices) of a chain supermarket. On the other hand, many use GFS for precisely that reason.
You can’t use Air Miles or coupons and one of their checkout lines is exclusively for cash. While the place occasionally smells of fish (they have large sections dedicated to a wide variety of fresh and frozen seafood), it’s clean and well staffed.
GFS is a fascinating place that is fun to explore and the go to place for people who appreciate foods from around the world. If you like spicy sauces and seasonings South America, the Caribbean, Vietnam or elsewhere, GFS has you covered. I even found large jars of Marmite (it’s the Brit version of Vegemite).
In addition, prices are low. For example, Campbells Chunky Soups are $5.00 for two.
GFS has a large produce section with lots of fresh and dried fruits and vegetables. Some of these are quite exotic and it’s fun to try some that you’ll never see in the big chains.
With its location being so central for many people, it provides a daily walk for those who like to combine exercise with small amounts of shopping. For a big shop, GFS has a convenient parking lot beside the store, accessible from Lawrence or Weston Road.
GFS, stubbornly refused my entreaties to do an interview for this article, however, this place is just too good to ignore. It’s open almost every day of the year (yes, even Christmas Day) and besides, you’ll get big karma points for shopping locally.