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Sage Condominiums II | ?m | 25 fl | U/C
#76
(04-05-2016, 11:08 PM)mpd618 Wrote: [quote='MidTowner' pid='19079' dateline='1459877736']
I think this line of reasoning is kind of crazy. There are no current commercial amenities there - commercial zoning does not mean that such uses will appear, because ultimately it's also subject to market demand. In Northdale in particular, the city listened to the reasoning that the zoning should be a lot more flexible with commercial uses on the ground floor along streets other than big arterials. And not only does the zoning have that, it also requires convertible frontages along some side-streets, so that commercial uses in the future are not precluded. There's a lot of possible commercial spaces.

Which is to say that the flip side of flexible mixed-use zoning is that it can (and should, IMHO) have multiple uses depending on the actual market demands in the neighbourhood. Right now there's a fair number of empty, new ground-floor commercial spaces in and near Northdale, plus more coming with the Sage development at Hickory/Lester, among others. There is not a clear municipal rationale for forcing spaces to remain commercial-only if there are more in-demand uses for them.

You’re right when you say “There are no current commercial amenities there - commercial zoning does not mean that such uses will appear, because ultimately it's also subject to market demand.” Commercial zoning doesn’t necessarily mean that commercial spaces will be built, but in this case a development was approved at least in small part due its very mixed-use. If the City approves developments that meet its planning goals but might not bear any relation to market realities*, and then promptly approves an application to have some or all of the commercial component switched to residential, we can guess what proposals will look like and what the finished products’ uses will be.

You’re not wrong that there is commercial space in the area, and I’m not sure what concessions if any were made to the developer here, but I think if the City approves something, it should stay that way in extreme cases. It’s clear in this area that to some extent municipal goals of a sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood conflict with the developer’s best bottom line, which would probably be best-served by high-density residential-only. If the original approval struck a balance between those in the view of city planners, I think there needs to be an extremely strong rationale why a change should be approved. Has there really been a material change in market conditions since the original approval? I can’t say, but I think there needs to be thorough documentation of that.

*I am not suggesting that this developer was duplicitous or disingenuous when submitting their application for the development. I am saying that, without requiring a strong rationale for changes, it’s easy to imagine developers getting approved for strong mixed-usage without due diligence on market demand, then after construction has started saying “turns out there was no demand- we want to switch the commercial to more apartments.”
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#77
(04-06-2016, 07:30 AM)MidTowner Wrote: Commercial zoning doesn’t necessarily mean that commercial spaces will be built, but in this case a development was approved at least in small part due its very mixed-use.
I think that's the crux of your point, but it's not obvious to me that mixed-use was a reason for development approval here. Can you elaborate on why you think it was?
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#78
(04-06-2016, 09:13 PM)mpd618 Wrote: I think that's the crux of your point, but it's not obvious to me that mixed-use was a reason for development approval here. Can you elaborate on why you think it was?

Yes, it’s fair to say that’s the crux. And I assume that mixed-usage was a reason for the approval since it is a goal of the neighbourhood plan, the city plan, Places to Grow, and so on. Whether the second-floor commercial was a reason, well, probably not much of one, but I can’t know. Almost by definition, it was a consideration since it was part of the application.

My bottom line is this: mixed-use is desirable generally and particularly in this neighbourhood, and that has been identified in various plans; the development as approved included strong mixed-use components. Given that, the municipality should be diligent in assessing that there really is no market for these approved commercial units, and make sure it is not just a case of the developer preferring residential units which are simply more easily marketable.
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#79
An update on the second story conversion to residential.

http://m.therecord.com/news-story/675025...reet-condo
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#80
(07-04-2016, 05:19 AM)rangersfan Wrote: An update on the second story conversion to residential.

http://m.therecord.com/news-story/675025...reet-condo

Not exactly "breaking news" timing by The Record. This was decided a week ago.

Any thoughts as to why office space in a quality building in Northdale was unmarketable?
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#81
Other than medical offices that could serve the student population, I would have trouble seeing that area as an attractive option, especially with all the alternatives under development to the north.
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#82
Well, for retail and food related businesses, there's already a lot of ground floor space opening up in nearby developments which will have better discoverability.
One Columbia has gotten the neighbourhood medical centre for their retail component.

If they were looking specifically for offices it's quite possible that the rental rates they were going to charge were simply too high for the market to bear. A lot of office space is coming online on Philip St, so there's more competition there too.
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