A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘condos

[URBAN NOTE] On a goodbye in Yonge and Eglinton to an unloved shopping plaza

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Joshua Errett’s CBC News article does a great job of explaining how an ugly shopping complex on Yonge north of Eglinton, badly designed and filled with unmemorable stores and restaurants, has become the target of nostalgia since news came of condos.

Lloyd Alter spent more than three decades hating the split-level shopping plaza that took up half a city block on Yonge Street, a few blocks north of Eglinton Avenue.

“For years, I would avoid driving up Yonge Street because of that place,” said Alter. “I couldn’t look at it.”

Alter’s relationship with the building goes way back to the early 1980s, when he designed it as an architect. But when the building opened in 1984, and businesses put up mismatched awnings and signage, he immediately regretted it.

So this week, when it was announced the despised plaza would be demolished, Alter could finally rejoice.

But the demise of the building he so hated brought a range of feelings, including the sinking feeling his shopping plaza provided a venue — albeit an ugly one — for small retailers who gave the area an urban character.

“It’s getting to be a monoculture of big stores,” he said of Yonge and Eglinton, citing condos, big banks, drug stores like Shoppers Drug Mart and chain retailers.”You can’t find a place that has a little store anymore.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes the expansion of condo development further east on the waterfront.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes theropod dinosaurs were also good scavengers.
  • Language Hat shares translator jokes.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the relocation of some refugees on Chios to a camp.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a report suggesting that the misallocation of labour during the bubble is responsible for the slow recovery.
  • The NYRB Daily suggests the AfD marks the reintroduction of nationalism into German politics.
  • pollotenchegg maps demographic change in Ukraine in 2013.
  • Torontoist examines pioneering dentist John G.C. Adams.
  • Transit Toronto notes Bombardier’s delivery of the seventeenth streetcar.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi points out, looking to North Carolina, that of course boycotts are supposed to hurt.
  • Window on Eurasia speculates that a Russian dissolution would not follow current political frontiers, and examines politics in the Republic of Karelia.

[URBAN NOTE] “City considers requiring more space between tall buildings”

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Yonge Street Media’s Paul Gallant describes something that makes perfect sense. Many of the new towers in the downtown are simply far too close to each other. Planning is clearly needed.

As part of TOcore, a three-year study by City Planning into how to positively manage growth in Toronto’s downtown, the city held a meeting to talk about tower separation. That is, how far tall buildings should be set back from property lines and how much space there should be between two towers on a single site to avoid excessive shadowing, pedestrian-level wind and blocked views.

Recommendations that came into effect in 2013 suggests that there should be a setback of 12.5 metres or greater for all tall building towers from the side and rear property lines or centre line of an abutting lane, and for more than one tower on the same site, the setback should be 25 metres or greater. But the current zoning, which requires a setback of only 5.5 metres, is considered outdated amidst Toronto’s current avalanche of 40-plus-storey towers.

Proposed changes to the official plan would require base building height for tall building development to be consistent with the existing streetwall of the block. The new plan might also restrict tall buildings from being built on small sites. The City Planning department would also like more widespread use of “block planning” where numerous tall buildings are proposed, or where the individual lots are too small to accommodate the required setbacks. “These plans take into consideration where towers could possibly be located on any given block to ensure appropriate tower placement, massing, scale and setbacks,” states the slides presented at the consultation.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Foreign buyers want newer condos in Toronto, Vancouver: CMHC”

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The Toronto Star carried Alexandra Posadzki’s Canadian Press article. This is compatible with the idea that foreign investors are also looking to invest, but also compatible with the idea that they want new, little-depreciated units.

Foreign buyers are more interested in snatching up newer condos in Toronto and Vancouver than they are in buying older units, according to a new report from the federal housing agency.

The report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says that while overall rates of foreign ownership in the Toronto and Vancouver condo markets are low — 3.3 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively — they spike when it comes to newer buildings.

CMHC says less than two per cent of Toronto condos built before the year 2000 are foreign-owned.

But for Toronto condos built after 2010, foreign ownership climbs to higher than seven per cent.

Newer buildings in certain parts of the city are even more desirable to foreign buyers, says CMHC.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • blogTO notes that a strip of stores just north of Yonge and Eglinton will be demolished for, naturally, condos.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares her thoughts about the theatre.
  • Joe. My. God. shares new music from Tegan and Sara.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on an open letter sent out by economists to Iran talking about how the country can prosper.
  • The NYR Daily hosts an essay by George Soros proposing how the European Union can handle refugees.
  • Savage Minds considers the awkward position of anthropology, as an ignored subaltern of a discipline.
  • Window on Eurasia notes controversy over a Joseph Conrad statue in the Russian city of Vologda and notes Russian-Iranian discussion about a canal connecting the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf.

[URBAN NOTE] “Torontonians are paying the highest price to live the urban dream”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee writes about Toronto’s long history of out-of-control real estate costs.

In 1898, the Toronto Publishing Company put out a social study of the youngish city by the lake. In Of Toronto the Good: The Queen City of Canada As It Is, author C.S. Clark marvels at the extravagant price being asked for a house on Charles Street. It was “not by any means a new house,” then fetching just $16 a month in rent; yet, a real estate agent had the temerity to demand $3,200 for it. The carrying cost of a mortgage on such an expensive property would be ruinous, “and your chances of profit are only contained in the remote contingency of the property increasing in value.”

It’s hard not to wonder what that house would be worth now if it survived (Two million? Three? Four?), and what C.S. Clark would think about the stupid prices agents are demanding for a place to rest your head in the feverish April of 2016.

House prices have been climbing steadily in Toronto since 2000. The average price of a detached house passed $1-million last year, economic jitters be damned. An eight-foot-wide Victorian went on sale for three-quarters of a million.

This season, things are reaching a whole new level of nutty. As the spring real-estate rush gathers pace, there is a giddy (if you’re a seller), desperate (if you’re a buyer) feeling in the air. Quite ordinary houses are going for $100,000, $200,000 over the asking price. Bidding wars are commonplace. So are bully offers – when buyers come in early with a high bid that they hope will blow everyone else away.

As The Globe reported this week, “sales vaulted ahead 15.8 per cent in the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year. The frenzy pushed the average selling price up 13.6 per cent in the quarter compared with the first quarter of 2015.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2016 at 7:46 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes the spread of condos along the western waterfront of Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of planetary cloaks.
  • Crooked Timber considers strategic voting in the American context.
  • Dangerous Minds notes, with photos, two nuns in California who grow medical marijuana.
  • The Dragon’s Tales note evidence of invasive species introduced to the Caribbean by native peoples.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers protests in Air France over wearing headscarves.
  • The LRB Blog considers anti-Arab sentiment in France and in the southern city of Béziers.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the economic costs of a flu pandemic.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is profoundly skeptical of Trump’s plan to force Mexico to pay for a border wall.
  • Savage Minds considers the complexities of ethnography in tense, even violent, situations.
  • Towleroad notes a transgender teen who was run down in California for no reason apart from gender identity.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the restive Talysh of the Iran-Azerbaijan border.

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