Proposed high-rise development on the Danforth sparking debate

"It's like a giant 'Screw you'," one resident said.

The proposed site for a 49-storey development, at 654-658 Danforth Ave. 

A proposal to build a 49-storey condo tower at Pape and Danforth avenues is generating debate among residents.

The proposal, from Toronto developer Del Boca Vista, features a design from architects Studio JCI, and the building would be adjacent to Pape station and on a future Ontario Line stop, at 654-658 Danforth Avenue.

Some East York residents are unhappy with Del Boca Vista’s vision for their neighbourhood.

“What we are talking about is densification which is grossly exceeding the most basic elementary necessary infrastructure,” John Hartley said. “We don’t have the sewers to support these developments. We don’t have schools.

“This is Planning 101.”

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The site is currently a medical office building with the new building being a mix of retail and office spaces, along with 469 condominium units. The site was formerly the Palace Movie theatre, which originally opened in 1924.

Proposal is densification in the wrong way, residents say

One of the goals of the proposed building is to help with the densification of the Danforth. According to the Danforth Planning study, the majority of community members are supportive of introducing density through mid-rise developments.

In a letter, addressed to Toronto and East York Community Council, Fasken, a law firm on behalf of Del Boca Vista Properties Inc. called out Danforth Avenue Planning, claiming that, “it does not represent good planning and the sites should be considered now for increased intensification.”

Height debate

Another reason that sparked the debate is the height of the proposed building, which exceeds the urban planning guidelines of a mid-rise and contrasts the current absence of high rises in the Danforth.

Photo Credit: Urban Toronto

Despite the public’s opinion of the building proposal, East York Community planning manager, Carly Bowman, said planners will consider the height of the building against the characteristics of the general mid-rise of the Danforth, and it is something they will be looking at closely.

Community member Chris Allen did not shy away from voicing displeasure about the proposed project.

“It’s like a giant ‘Screw you,’” Allen said.

Other residents are welcoming of the proposed development, with former journalist Michael Hainsworth calling for the need for more housing.

“We need more of these types of developments to not only fuel the much-needed housing market, but to also build an economy,” Hainsworth said.

City staff are currently reviewing the submitted proposal, which was made in August. If a decision is made, a formal community consultation meeting will be held at a later date.

About this article

Posted: Sep 23 2022 5:00 pm
Filed under: Homes and Real Estate Housing News