Construction may begin this year, finally, on a massive multi-tower residential development on the site of the former London Mews.
City politicians Monday approved a heritage alteration permit for 195 Dundas St., over the objections of a heritage advisory group that wanted the matter deferred for more study.
The approval may get the ball rolling on a $300-million, three-tower development that has been before city hall since 2014. The proposed development between Dundas and King streets at Clarence Street would boast more than 600 units with parking garages on site.
“We will finally see this underway. We will finally get site plan approval and apply for a building permit,” said Greg Priamo, a partner in Zelinka-Priamo, a private planning firm representing the owner, Ayerswood Developments.
“It will be a real asset.”
The matter before council’s planning and environment committee was for the first phase of the building, a $45 million, 25-storey, 140-unit tower at 195 Dundas St. The other two phases will see additional towers with about 230 and 250 units in each, built in what is now a parking lot between Dundas and King, said Priamo.
The first phase tower will be set back 30 metres from Dundas Street, with a designed area in front meant to integrate with the Dundas Place streetscape. That setback would be allowed with a heritage alteration permit.
“We envision an entry to it as part of Dundas street,” said Priamo. “We worked with staff on lighting, surface, so it is a seamless extension of Dundas Place.”
The London advisory committee on heritage opposes the setback and the permit, saying it doesn’t like the gap-tooth appearance the setback will give the streetscape, and wants to see a heritage impact study as well as renderings of the streetscape, said Maggie Whalley, heritage activist and group representative.
“It’s not the best outcome. It would be nice to see a continuous streetscape on Dundas Street. Historically, that is what it would have looked like,” said Whalley.
The setback is needed because it is a narrow space and more room is needed for the tower, said Priamo.
“They (LACH) wanted the building to connect to Dundas Street and we could not do it. It is very narrow and we have a tall building.”
The development also was part of a $53-million lawsuit filed by Ayerswood and its owner Tony Graat against city hall claiming a proposed bus rapid transit hub adjacent to the development harmed the development. The city moved the hub, one block away. The action was dismissed last year.
The heritage alteration permit still has to be approved at city council.
The committee also lifted a holding provision for the proposed tower at 131 King St. by York Developments, so it also can proceed. York also has applied for site plan approval and once granted, can begin construction. However, work already has begun on the site, clearing the area and removing asphalt for construction.