Humber Odeon Theatre Update

Application for 10-story condo to go ahead without major changes.

At a public meeting held September 20th at St. Pius X school, the BWVRA Executive presented its objections to the 10-storey condominium tower (see image) proposed for the site.

The BWVRA presentation (PDF, 1.6Mb) included a series of proposed design changes which were developed with the help of the Office of Urbanism, and were based on what the Urban Design Study (PDF, 9.5 Mb) recomends for this highly visible “gateway” location in the Village.

Objections/suggestions included that the upper floors be moved back from the front property line on Bloor to make it less dominant, and that it not be built right to the side lot lines, which would present blank facades up and down Bloor Street (see image).

The City Planning Department representative expressed his appreciation for the positive contribution, while the developer Paul Wynn was uncommittal.

However, Wynn subsequently agree to meet with representatives of the BWVRA and Office for Urbanism to discuss their concerns.

Architect David Pontarini and Mr. Wynn did so on October the 7th. It was repeated that the proposal fails to meet almost all of the criteria set out in the Urban Design Study. It was made clear that our efforts were to make it a better and more successful building, as well as one that would be more acceptable to the community.

Mr. Wynn committed only to reviewing the proposals.

Two weeks later, Mr. Wynn stated that it would be too difficult to carry out the suggested design changes. He stated that only cosmetic adjustments would be made to the building’s sides.

The Developer said he would submit the proposal for the required zoning changes (for height and density increases) at the January meeting of the Community Council.

The BWVRA Executive plans to meet again with Ward 13 Councillor Bill Saundercook to discuss the application. Options include making a presentation to the Community Council to oppose the developer’s request for re-zoning. We will post another update after our meeting with Councillor Saundercook.

More pictures of the proposed building, and the illustrations of how it exceeds allowed zoning in the submission are available in the presentation from the BWVRA and Office for Urbanism (also linked above — PDF, 1.6Mb).

Member feedback is most welcome:

1 thought on “Humber Odeon Theatre Update

  1. Hi Greg et al.

    As I mentioned to you last week, I believe the Urban Design Study will be used as a guideline but will not be the only criteria to ultimately decide what gets built here. The larger policies will more likely prevail and this location, at a subway station, is clearly targeted for greater density. I would not be one bit surprised to see the height and density approved if this goes to the OMB, which seem likely. It’s only 2 extra storeys above what was recommended in the study after all. I believe beauty is more important than height in this instance and so I would strongly recommend that you try to gain greater concessions from the developer on the exterior appearance. He’s already conceded once on this and I suspect he could move some more. He will be very reluctant to give up valuable floor space and he will have good planning support for what he has proposed.

    The support of the BWVRA would be quite important to the developer if he could get it. Are you willing to negotiate, which may entail making some compromises from what is recommended in the study? I think we’d all be better off if you do because if you don’t we could very well end up with a tall AND ugly building marking the gateway to our community.

    Just reiterating my thoughts, some of which come from being on the developer side, and winning side, of a recent OMB case. I’d be happy to discuss this with you further if you wish. Rob

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