affordable housing 931 yonge st.

A new 21-storey condo with affordable housing pegged for upscale neighbourhood

Last summer, the city and the federal government announced a plan to redevelop the government offices at 931 Yonge St. into a new residential building with affordable housing. Now, a development application has been submitted detailing the proposal.

Developed under a city program dubbed ModernTO, if the development application is approved, the site will be home to a 21-storey mixed-use building with 165 residential units. The development will include affordable ownership units in the upscale neighbourhood bordering Bloor-Yorkville and Rosedale.

Currently, the home of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), the site has been identified as one of eight municipal properties to be “modernized” by the city.

“It’s a pretty easy site to develop,” said former city councillor Mike Layton when the plan was first announced. “It’s currently not the highest and best use of the site.”

Layton pointed out that the site is close to the Rosedale subway station and a public park, which also makes it appealing for housing.

Last summer, Greater Yorkville Residents’ Association (GYRA) board member Paul Bedford said there hasn’t been any community consultation yet and without concrete plans of what the building may look like, it is too early to comment on the idea.

“A key objective of this program is to reduce office-related expenditures by consolidating city-owned or leased office locations,” wrote community planning firm Bousfields Inc., in a cover letter contained in the development application. “CreateTO, City Planning, and other City agencies have determined that the Site will be repurposed as one of the ModernTO “portfolio of sites”. These sites will be redeveloped for city-building purposes such as the provision of affordable housing.”

Other sites under the ModernTO program include the following city-owned properties:

  • 610 Bay Street
  • 277 Victoria Street
  • 33 Queen Street E.
  • 75 Elizabeth Street
  • 1900 Yonge Street
  • 18 Dyas Road
  • 95 The Esplanade

“ModernTO saves millions of taxpayers’ dollars on an ongoing basis, it opens up some properties for different uses including affordable housing, and the modernized spaces will allow for more jobs to be located in city-owned buildings as opposed to expensive leased space,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement when the program was announced. “This is exactly what people expect us to do here at City Hall – find sensible ways to do things in the most efficient way possible, reducing costs so as to keep our city operations affordable, and creating more opportunities for top priorities like affordable housing.”

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO