In June of this year, an announcement by Ontario premier Doug Ford left Torontonians and those working in the city wondering what the future landscapes of midtown and downtown Toronto will look like. In a move that trumps the initial strategy for this area proposed by the city in an initiative titled, “Midtown in Focus,” new development proposals have been given the green light, much to the dismay of those who have been working to organize and control development opportunities in this area.
What Defines Midtown Toronto?
Midtown Toronto affectionately describes the area of Yonge and Eglinton and six square kilometres around the area. Midtown is a unique space that includes “tower neighbourhoods, tree-lined streets side streets, local businesses, regional transit connections, historic main streets and expansive open spaces.”
Why Change Midtown’s Future?
The provincial government has given the allowances to entertain construction in Toronto’s midtown area, as a way to “increase the city’s housing supply and boost affordability.” It comes as no surprise that rental properties and homes in the Toronto region are highly sought-after due to the city’s diverse culture and the vast array of jobs that it offers. With real estate companies predicting an uncertain future for the Toronto market due to high costs fueled by high demand, it only seems reasonable to increase the amount of housing available in the area.
Since late 2015, Toronto has been working to implement “Midtown in Focus,” a comprehensive review of the area and it’s future to allow for gradual development that influences the success of the area. The city’s previous development laws under the “Midtown in Focus” proposals, which also align with the “TOcore project,” prohibited developments that exceeded eight storeys. It also worked to ensure that development would not compromise green spaces, schools, or childcare centres in the process. The goal was to continue to develop the area while maintaining its integrity to the communities that call it home. With the revisions made by the province, however, additional focus is being placed on increasing building heights to a maximum of thirty-five stories, with development taking place around key transit hubs as a way to leverage the expansion that transit in the area has seen over the past few years.
Now that the province has proposed an increase in development, it is being described as the “Wild West” for developers. No longer do they have to limit construction to a reduced area or height restriction, but they can establish plans for larger buildings in a space once blocked off. We have been keeping an eye on this space, with much of Toronto, to determine the extent of development and the types of buildings that will break ground.
Since the announcement was made, the positive and negative outcomes of this endeavour have been weighed. Unfortunately, fully determining how this move of the provincial government will impact midtown Toronto is one that we may not see for a few years as developers propose plans and construction begins.