126 Avenue road, Yorkville, condo

Yorkville’s flower shop row to be razed for new condo

A proposal for a mid-rise condo in Yorkville, midtown Toronto, has been revised and resubmitted for rezoning. But a neighbourhood fixture is still at risk under the new plan.

Taheri Development is looking to develop an 11-storey, mixed-use residential mid-rise condo building at 126 Avenue Rd., which will include 60 residential units (11 of which are replacement rental units).

The property is located at Avenue Road and Davenport Road, near the northwest corner of Avenue and Bernard Avenue, on the edge of the city’s historic Annex neighbourhood. 

The site is located within the East Annex Heritage Conservation District. Although the city hasn’t designated the property as having heritage significance, the developers have noted that the heritage elements at the site will be retained and incorporated into the overall design.

However, of importance to the community, the project could see the end to the beloved row of flower shops that characterize the area.

“I haven’t been briefed yet on the new proposal,” said city councillor Dianne Saxe. “I get briefed and make a decision. And I’m not at that point yet.” 

Expressing optimism tempered with practical concerns, Saxe remarked on the beloved flower shops.

“I certainly am very hopeful that the flower shops will be able to return if they wish. I have made sure that there is going to be commercial space at grade,” she said. 

However, Saxe acknowledged the challenges faced by small businesses, having run one herself for 25 years.

“What I don’t know is whether that’s in the best interest of the flower shops,” said Saxe. “Moving is immensely disruptive and expensive. And doing it twice is not appealing.”

Avenue Road condo rendering

Speaking to the potential disruptions posed by relocation, Saxe highlighted the risks faced by businesses during periods of transition.

“They can’t reasonably expect to shut down for the period of construction and then get back to business: you lose all the momentum that you’ve built up in your entire career,” Saxe explained.

Saxe empathized with the challenges confronting small businesses, particularly those in rented premises. 

“This is a nightmare scenario,” she said. “But it’s not within the city’s power. I reinforced with the planning staff that I’m very interested in having appropriate spaces for the flower shops to come back. I can’t do any more than that.”

According to a March 21 letter submitted to the City of Toronto by Taheri’s planning consultants, the revised building height will reach 34.17 metres, exclusive of the mechanical penthouse.

It will feature a total gross floor area of 4,133.2 square metres with 219.30 square metres set aside for retail use 

Of the 60 residential units, 21 will be studios, 17 will be one-bedrooms, 17 will be two-bedrooms, and five will be three-bedrooms.

Developers are planning for 120 square metres of indoor amenity space (on the third floor along the southern face of the building) and 83 square metres of outdoor amenity space, which will be linked together. There will be 18 residential parking spots (increased from the 13 proposed last year), contained within two underground parking levels, as well as 60 bike spaces located on the ground and first underground levels.

A public meeting will be scheduled by City of Toronto Planning, to gather input from the community.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO