$200M from Feds to Boost Affordable Rentals at Former Honest Ed’s Site

affordable rentals
Rendering via Henriquez Partners

Thursday was a “historic” day for Toronto’s Mirvish Village development.

It was announced the federal government would be committing $200 million for affordable rentals at the Toronto site where the city’s beloved Honest Ed’s was once housed.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen delivered the news alongside Mayor John Tory, saying the project will help address the rental shortage in Toronto by creating hundreds of affordable rentals for families.

Mirvish Village will be comprised of six buildings that will include 916 rental units — 366 of which will be designated affordable, costing at or below 30% of the median Toronto income.

Of the 366 affordable units, 100 will be secured at 80% of Average Market Rent for the City of Toronto. These affordable units will be scattered throughout the project and will be of the same quality and design as market rent units, according to city councillor Mike Layton, Ward 11 University-Rosedale.

“Investing in affordable housing is the most important thing we can do to build a liveable city,” said Layton, adding, “My hope is that today’s announcement shows what is possible for new developments in Toronto when we come together to work for what is best for people in our city.”

READ: More Than 283,000 Families Are On An Affordable Housing Waitlist

The project will see 4.5 acres of downtown Toronto transform into a “comprehensive purpose-built community for rental apartments and innovative retail, inspired by the small building floorplate densification of Tokyo,” said the architect firm behind the project, Henriquez Partners.

Mirvish Village will be comprised of 32 micro buildings and will eventually be home to over 2,000 Torontonians. The buildings will be broken into small towers and streetwall buildings with retail at the ground plane to “preserve the rhythm of the existing streetscape.”

Rendering via Henriquez Partners
Rendering via Henriquez Partners

READ: Witness A Moment Of History As Last Of Honest Ed’s Is Torn Down (Video)

According to the architects, Mirvish Village will preserve and honour the site’s heritage and history, which served as a landmark discount store for the people of Toronto for nearly 70 years.

The architects say Mirvish Village will include a mix of uses, including Honest Ed’s Alley, an incubator space for start-up retailers that gives a nod to the landmark store, and vibrantly programmed outdoor spaces.

The heritage houses that formed part of the original Markham Street Art Colony will be restored, bringing life back to these houses with the addition of new restaurants and cafes to enliven the streetscape.

Real estate developer Westbank Corp. bought the Honest Ed’s land from the Mirvish family in 2013, and the discount store closed its doors soon after in 2017.

Toronto Storeys reached out to David Mirvish for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication. 

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