Plans for renovation of historic Regent Theatre take shape with new development application

It’s been in the works for a while, but Terra Bruce Productions has finally submitted its application to develop the historic Regent Theatre at 551 Mount Pleasant Rd. And, it looks pretty fantastic — no condos, preservation of the historic facade and the makings of a great addition to midtown Toronto.

The cover letter submitted with the application by engineering firm NORR on behalf of Terra Bruce Productions outlines the plans for the theatre, originally constructed in 1927.

The plan is to “substantially replacing the existing lobby, auditorium, and stage to create a modern, state-of-the-art live theatre and performance venue. It adds a third-storey lobby and balcony seating area (approximate 230 square meters), and a three-storey, 1,078-square meter addition to the rear of the building that will contain back-of-house uses, mechanical spaces, and a community rehearsal space. The north and south (side) walls and east (rear) wall will be replaced, while the historic west façade fronting Mt. Pleasant Rd will be preserved.”

Parking spaces at the rear of the building will be removed and not replaced, but bicycle parking will be added.

The Regent Theatre was designated a heritage property last November.

“Everybody involved recognizes that it has significant heritage value both for the community and the City of Toronto,” said Bob Hallett, Terra Bruce’s chief operating officer, at the time. “And that maintaining as much of the various heritage aspects as we can is desirable.”

Local city councillor Jaye Robinson has been working behind the scenes on the project.

“Midtown lacks arts and culture desperately — it’s all downtown. And midtown is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Robinson, last fall ahead of the heritage nod. “We need amenities and we need infrastructure, and part of the amenities is some arts and culture in this area. We want the theatre, so we’re going to push them [Terra Bruce] and keep them on the straight and narrow on it.”

Here is a look at the Regent project renderings included with the application.