In a new announcement yesterday, Mayor John Tory says the city plans to revitalize the TCHC’s Don Summerville Apartments, located at 1555 and 1575 Queen St. E. The mixed-use property will house condos but also rental units within the building.
The teardown promises to be a dramatic one as over 120 rent-geared-to-income units occupy the two aging buildings. Tory’s plan offers an alternative to fixing multiple repairs that left the building plagued by “critical” conditions.
This is just one step among many in Mayor Tory’s affordable housing game plan. Once the project is complete, the new development will host 103 TCHC rent-geared-to-income units, 17 rent-geared-to-income apartments operated by a non-profit partner, 100 affordable rental apartments, 180 rental apartments at market rental rates, and 350 condos.
Rent will sit relatively cheaper at just 80 per cent of the average market rent. The building will also allow for greater infrastructure and services to its residents with over 16,000 of square feet of retail space below.
“This revitalization is about more than bricks and mortar. It is about creating a new community where renters and TCHC tenants and condo owners live side-by-side,” Tory told reporters on Monday. “It will bring new vitality to a stretch of Queen Street.”
The project is being carried out in collaboration with the city’s private sector partner Context Development.
“We and our partners RioCan and The City of Toronto are excited to be working with Teeple Architects on the design of this programmatically complex mixed use redevelopment,” said Craig Taylor, the Director of Design and Marketing at Context. “The great thing about this project is that it will feature a mix of housing types including Rent-Geared-To-Income (RGI), Affordable Rental, Market Rental and Condominiums in addition to new Queen Street retail along the entire northern edge of the site.”
The site is approximately 3.3 acres and currently houses 120 RGI units and once redeveloped will see 750 new homes in the community. The rental units total 400 and the condominiums are at 350.
“It’s also really affordable for the City of Toronto,” says Taylor. “This is already their land, so they are really just improving it to optimize its potential by bringing together public and private sectors.”
The Toronto Star in an editorial Tuesday praised the innovative approach being taken by all involved.
Mayor Tory says he’s excited about this revitalization happening given the extreme housing shortage faced by the city.
“It is a great example of what can happen when we partner together… to tackle the key issue that is facing the city at this moment in time,” Tory said.
Councillor Paula Fletcher, a member of the TCHC board, said the buildings’ proximity to transit and green space make them a particularly suitable site for the revitalization.
“In the coming weeks we will hold open houses to hear from the local community and we are working closely with tenants to ensure their needs are met through the construction phase,” she said in a written statement.
Tenants currently living in the two TCHC buildings will be relocated to other TCHC properties and eligible tenants will have the right to return to the community once the project is complete.
With a completion date set for 2023, current residents have a new home to look forward to and remain housed in the meantime.
That’s a win-win for everyone.