Do you have a strong opinion on the proposed 109OZ condo development? If so, you’ll want to stop by the project’s OMB hearing, which kicks off a week today. Concerns include the building’s height, its impact on the neighbourhood and traffic flow and the fact that it will include a single 12,000 sq. ft. retail space on the ground level.
The hearing will begin next Tuesday at 10 am at 655 Bay Street. While a week-and-a-half has been set aside to discuss the project, the Ossington Community Association is asking its supporters to be there on day one and then again the following week, when it presents its case (that exact day has not been decided on yet).
I will not be attending as my feelings on this project aren’t particularly strong or even clear. While I agree that the proposed building is about a storey too tall, I actually quite like the overall design and am okay with a condo building occupying that spot.
As for the concerns about one big retail spot on the bottom, well, that’s where I can’t make up my mind. I completely understand why some people don’t want a 12,000 sq. ft. store on Ossington however, if that store was a grocery store, I would be completely fine with it, and I think so would quite a few other people. I would also be happy if that 12,000 sq. ft. turned out to be say, a giant Fresh Collective or some sort of Ossington version of Artists and Fleas. But do I want an Old Navy or an Urban Outfitters there? Not really. (but would I still shop there? Probably.)
In My Ideal Toronto (MIT), the city would be able to put conditions on such spaces so that the developers could indeed offer a retail space that large but only to a grocery store (and a real grocery store, not a Shoppers) or an independent or small-chain company (technically Fresh Collective is a chain). Otherwise the developer would have to break the space up.
While I won’t be at the OMB hearing, I will be keeping an eye on it as I’m quite curious to see how this all plays out (my guess: The project has one storey cut off of it but is otherwise more-or-less approved).