The OMB will decide about redevelopment of 698 Spadina after all. Since 2014, HVRA and other neighbours have been engaged in discussions with the University of Toronto and Daniels Corporation about plans to demolish the buildings at the northwest corner of Spadina and Sussex in order to build a 23-storey residence with beds for 549 students. The plans have been controversial from the start, as outlined in the timeline given below and in our continuously updated webpage Proposal for Spadina-Sussex Student Residence.
- On May 28, 2017, we learned that U of T and Daniels had taken their application for rezoning to the OMB, prior to its proposed reform by the provincial government (see our note about that reform). They are allowed to do so as the city did not respond to the application within the requisite time frame. This comes after nearly three years of meetings with neighbours, including HVRA members and representatives.
- On May 3, 2017, HVRA learned that the University of Toronto had appealed the Toronto City Council decision to include the Ten Editions Bookstore building at 698 Spadina on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register (Item TE22.19). This designation would provide significant protection for the building. The appeal will be heard by the Conservation Review Board (CRB), which functions as part of the Ontario Land Tribunal system. While it is part of a parallel process to the OMB, it differs in that its rulings are not binding. City Council would have the final say. City Council has already directed staff to attend the CRB in case of appeal. Heritage Preservation and Planning will work with the City Solicitor on this file. HVRA will seek status to testify. Dates have not yet been set, but watch here for more information.
- Meetings between the public and U of T, and between HVRA and U of T, began in 2014. For an account of the planning process so far and HVRA’s participation in it, see our webpage Proposal for Spadina-Sussex Residence.)
- On Jan. 26, 2017, the Ten Editions Bookstore building at the corner of Sussex and Spadina received unanimous approval for heritage designation from the Toronto Heritage Preservation Board (HPB). This designation will be considered next by Toronto and East York Community Council, then City Council. Letters from HVRA and a number of Harbord Village residents provided evidence of community support for this designation.
- At the Feb. 22 meeting of Toronto East York Community Council, Norman Track, Sue Dexter, Melissa Duff (of the bookstore family), and Bob Barnett spoke about the site’s cultural importance as well as the value of its physical form. Councillor Joe Cressy supported them and moved the motion.