50 Bloor Street West
by Chris Tyler
The Holt Renfrew Outlet at Bay and Bloor may be in for a renovation. An 83-storey renovation, in fact. Now before you get too excited at the concept of nearly a hundred floors of designer couture, the renovation would involve placing a large set of condominiums on top of the luxury store. A condo building so large it would actually be Canada’s tallest residential tower. If the owners have their way, 50 Bloor St. West will soon be the site of a 277-meter skyscraper. The building will feature 8-storeys of office space, topped by 600 residential units.
The development, however, is being opposed by the ward’s councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. The National Post reports Ms. Wong-Tam met with the development team to discuss the project in March. After their discussion, however, the team submitted their rezoning application without implementing the changes requested by the councillor. She was very clear in her statement to The Post that “no one is ready to approve this project. It’s got a long way to go.”
City Planning Concerned
According to The City of Toronto’s Zoning By-law, the area in which the tower would be erected has a height limit of 61-meters – putting the proposed building a grand total of 216-meters outside the limit. According to Urban Toronto, however, the City has a history of being accommodating in situations where the infrastructure is present to support such a development. The fact 50 Bloor St. West lies on the subway line may work in the developers’ favor. But councillor Wong-Tam has concerns that the driveway would hinder the flow of pedestrians along Bloor Street’s walkway. There are also concerns that a skyscraper of that magnitude could cast an undesirable shadow over nearby parks.
Ultimately, such a project will require extensive rezoning which could take well over half a year to complete. Opinions will be sought from city planning staff, community members and several city departments before a decision is made. So, no 83-storey skyscraper at Bay and Bloor for now, but at this time next year – who knows?