Since the announcement in 2015 that Elad Canada and Freed Developments had purchased the Galleria mall and were planning a redevelopment of the site, the Toronto Storeys team has been eagerly awaiting our first look at the developers’ plans and renderings to illustrate their vision.
But we had to wait, as Elad and Freed took a different approach to filing a redevelopment application; a slower, more thoughtful approach.
Together with their consultants—including the global urban design and planning consultancy, Urban Strategies, and the award winning firm of Hariri Pontarini Architects—the developers didn’t just push ahead with their own vision for the site, but engaged in a robust and determined consultation process with key stakeholders.
Through community open houses, stakeholder dialogue and a working group process, Elad and Freed sought to see their new site through the eyes of the local community, and committed to using this process of community engagement to shape their development vision.
The result of this unique approach was clear today, with the filing of the developers’ application to the City (as was reported in today’s Globe and Mail, by Jeff Gray).
While no doubt some of the proposed features of the development plan—including the tower heights—were driven by the developers, we can’t help but believe the addition of a large park, a dynamic new community centre, and the commitment to pedestrian-friendly streets and small, grade-related retail storefronts reflect the input of the community.
And whatever you think of the ultimate proposal, Elad and Freed deserve credit for the process they pursued. We hope more developers with large redevelopment plans will pursue this model of engagement.
The following is a statement that was provided today to Toronto Storeys, from the development team:
“Galleria Developments filed an application with the City of Toronto today to redevelop the Galleria mall site at Dupont and Dufferin.
A joint venture between Elad Canada and Freed Developments, Galleria Developments has pursued an unprecedented community engagement program with local stakeholders, since acquiring the site in late 2015, in an effort to better inform the proposed vision for the site. Following multiple community open houses, dialogue with neighbourhood residents, and a working group process with key stakeholders, today’s filing proposes a world-class mixed-use urban development that includes commercial, office and residential uses, the creation of a larger urban park, and a dynamic new community centre.
While today’s filing follows a lengthy and robust visioning exercise with local stakeholders, and is a milestone in our desire to redevelop this amazing site, we recognize that this is just the first formal step in the process, and we anticipate (and welcome) further discussions with city officials and community members.”
Development Director, Galleria Developments