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Two New Condo Projects Rejected Based on Height

Rejected Condo Projects in Toronto

The City’s love/hate affair with tall buildings continues. Toronto is one of most high-rise friendly cities in the world, with more projects proposed, under construction, or recently completed than just about every city in the developed world. Still, developers face an uphill battle when looking to build ‘up’. Last week, two condo project proposals were rejected based primarily on the fact that the proposed towers were too tall.

Giraffe Condos at Bloor and Dundas (27 Storeys, TAS DesignBuild) had their project rejected at the OMB, and Theatre Park at King and University (45 Storeys, Brad Lamb) had their project rejected by City Hall. Both decisions were focused on the height of the buildings making them ‘out of context’ for the area they would occupy.

On the surface, the news for Giraffe is potentially worse than for Theatre Park, as once a project is rejected at the OMB level, there is no higher authority for developers to appeal the decision in front of. Brad Lamb can and likely will take their case directly to the OMB as the city is unlikely to concede what they are seeking (45 storeys).

No word yet on what will happen to purchasers at Giraffe, or whether TAS will appeal the OMB’s decision. The future of what would have been a landmark condo tower and potential neighbourhood changer is definitely in doubt. Giraffe has been selling units for about 2 years. Theatre Park has not opened a sales office or started marketing the project in any way, but word on the street is they have been selling units to insiders since the fall.

While I am by definition in favour of more high-rise development downtown, and especially on the subway lines, I believe there is a case to be made for ensuring our condo towers fit into the context of their surroundings and do not adversely affect the street life at the ground level.

To follow some of the discussions on Giraffe or Theatre Park, check out the message boards.

Questions or comments on these projects? Leave a comment or email me directly.

5 Responses to “Two New Condo Projects Rejected Based on Height”

  1. Brad J.

    1 – Bloor & Dundas has seen some intensification lately – slightly surprised this didn’t go through but the neighbourhood is mostly low and mid rise.

    2 – King & University seems like a perfect spot for a 40+ storey condo, given there are so many other 20-40+ stoery office towers in the area (most recently the RBC Dexia building just a block southwest). This is practically the financial district! Andrew, don’t you agree it would have fit in just fine?

  2. Peter

    Brad Lamb is that you?

  3. Andrew la Fleur

    @Brad J
    I think both projects made sense on a macro (neighbourhood) level, but the city is always concerned with the micro level (street level) and how these buildings will impact life for the pedestrian. I can see the developer’s side saying basically that there are plenty of tall buildings around the area so why not another one. Conversely I can see the city saying, yes there are tall buildings but not all of them are good and adding another one to that specific piece of sidewalk will have a huge impact on streetlife.

  4. Brad J.

    No, I’m not Brad Lamb (wouldn’t that be Brad L.?).

    Fair enough, I have no idea how these particular would have interfaced with the street. Some buildings do a great job at ground level – EAST at King & Princess is a good example, and the Streetcar buildings in Corktown and on Queen East are other examples. Others can be pretty bad, especially Cityplace/Queen’s Quay and the 1980s condo canyon on Bay between Gerrard and Bloor.

    We can all dig good design.

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