Notting Hill condo development coming to Eglinton.

Plant World in May last year. From google.com

Remember Plant World, that sprawling 2-hectare garden centre on Eglinton with rather high prices but some spectacular and unusual horticultural specimens? It was operated in various guises by the Delworth-Reeves family from 1889  when, “Cornelius Delworth purchased a parcel of land on Richview Side Road (now Eglinton Avenue) in the outlying farming community of Weston, as an expansion of his downtown nursery operation.”.

Many green-fingered folk were dealt a crushing blow when the last customers were ushered out last September having been sold several years earlier. Yes, you could say their lives were uprooted.

The site from the air (marked in yellow). From google.com. Click to enlarge.

The large site was a tempting one for developers and the owners were probably made an offer too good to resist. In December 2015, purchasers Lanterra Developments submitted a site proposal for 5 condo towers on the site ranging in height from 18 – 33 stories with 1900 apartments and townhomes. The project was grandly named ‘Notting Hill Condominiums’ but don’t expect to see Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts anytime soon.

Lanterra’s 2015 proposal went over like the proverbial lead balloon with the Planning Department and people attending the community consultation in May 2016. Issues such as, density, school capacity, shadow and traffic concerns and compatibility with the neighbourhood (despite already being dotted with 16-20 storey apartment towers) were some of the objections raised. The developer was told by Etobicoke York Community Council to tone it down, sharpen their erasers and try again.

Later in 2016, Lanterra invoked the Ontario Municipal Board’s appeals process  (an appointed body that prior to having its wings clipped by Premier Wynne was accused of rubber-stamping developers’ excesses). The developer wanted an OMB intervention claiming that Council was dragging its feet.

Instead of bringing judgement from on high and picking a winner, the newly relevant OMB mediated an agreement released in 2018 between all parties and the result was lower overall podium and tower heights, no townhomes, revised setbacks, lower density and a reduction to 1360 apartments. In addition, 25% of the apartments were mandated to be 2 or 3 bedrooms; the developer was to pay $3.8 million in (Section 37) community benefits including up to $800,000 in public art (oh dear lord).

 

According to Urban Toronto, the latest plan submitted in June has the number of dwellings at 1275 but Lanterra’s website says 1320. The OMB has reserved the right to step in again if needed but so far everyone seems happy. Ontario Liberals might call it a Wynne Win.

Artist impression looking south-west towards Eglinton Avenue West. From Lanterradevelopments.com

The mediated agreement was approved by Toronto City Council in 2018.

More details from Urban Toronto here.

View the condo sales pitch here.

Scarlett Heights Academy to close.

From Wikipedia.

Last June, the Toronto District School Board voted to close the Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy. The school sits just across the Humber, on Trehorne, near the Royal York Plaza and will usher out its last student next June. With only 221 students and room for 843, the school was only 26% utilized and had become an expensive hobby for TDSB. Even elementary schools would struggle to cope with such a tiny population and high schools are unable to provide a decent variety of courses with an average of only 55 students per grade. Students south of Eglinton will move to Richview C.I. while those to the north will will transfer to Kipling C.I.

The school’s closure might be a tad premature because Plant World on Eglinton sold for squillions to Lanterra Developments and a large influx of new students might have materialized once the 1900 proposed homes are built on the property. (Five, 18-33-storey towers are proposed for the site – subject to an OMB appeal by the City).

No matter, the kids will be moving and as a result of the Scarlett Heights influx, Kipling C.I. is exploring changing its name to reflect the two school communities.

Richview Collegiate, former high school of Beatles impersonator, Stephen Harper…not so much.

Suggestions for Kipling C.I.’s new name can be submitted using this link.