The site of the former Catholic Children's Aid building on Maitland Street will see a tower of 41 storeys, the result of a negotiated settlement between the developer Plaza Corp. and the City, after the developer appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
PlazaCorp proposed a 45-storey condominium tower in October 2019. In March 2020, before the City had made a decision, PlazaCorp appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
The City's many objections to the proposal included inconsistencies with provincial planning policies, the Toronto Official Plan and area specific planning policies. The overall height and massing of the tower and the significant shadow it would cast on neighbouring areas were the major objections. City Councillor Wong-Tam made her concerns and objections clear throughout the process, and does not believe the development fits into the neighbourhood.
The negotiated settlement reduces the height of the tower by 16 metres or 4 storeys.
The settlement provides for almost $8 million in Section 37 community benefits:
A very small slice on the west side of the property will be dedicated to parkland, very likely to be incorporated into a much larger future park replacing the Wellesley Green P surface parking lot.
Had the City taken its objections to a full LPAT hearing, it is highly likely that the resulting LPAT ruling would have been less favourable. According to Tyler Johnson, Ward 13 Constituency Rep. for the Church Wellesley Village:
... in recent years, the City has negotiated settlements with developers at the OMB/LPAT so that they could at least secure some concessions on behalf of local residents as well as community benefits. Through experience, we have learned that when the City doesn't negotiate a settlement, we get developments that are even further out of context to the local neighbourhood than they would have otherwise been.
The single tower proposal came about after talks with Plazacorp for a more ambitious project led nowhere. According to Johnson:
Over the past 2+ years, the Councillor and City Planning have made numerous attempts to partner with Plazacorp to develop affordable housing as part of their condo development by expanding their development footprint to use part of the Green P Parking lot to the west and utilize the other portion of the parking lot for public parkland. Those negotiations deteriorated as Plazacorp wasn't interested in that model. So now, they are proceeding with their own application and the city will proceed with our own plans for the Green P lot.
The community will still have input on street level details through a Site Plan Working Group.
City Reports and Supporting Documents
City Council Decision on Settlement Offer (March 10, 2021)
LPAT Hearing Order (Oct. 28, 2020)
City Council Decision on Direction Report (Oct. 27, 2020)
Toronto Staff Request for Direction Report (Sept. 21, 2020)
Toronto Staff Preliminary Report (Dec. 11, 2019)
Development Application Information Centre