A bit of background: the land was patiently assembled by Honest Ed Mirvish, piece by piece, over the course of 50+ years beginning in the late 1940s. In the end, only 3 hold-outs remain from the many lots comprising this entire city block.
As you can see in the orange outline above, the site goes far beyond the footprint of the Honest Ed's store itself. Also included are the row of smaller buildings stretching along Bathurst all the way south to Lennox (two hold-outs remain), and all but one of the stately homes along both sides of the historical stretch of Markham running from Lennox up to Bloor known as Mirvish Way (one hold-out remains).
The existing B.streets building at 783 Bathurst is outlined in blue, for a sense of scale.
Westbank - who purchased the parcel from the Mirvish family for $71 million last year - is a reputable developer based out of Vancouver. While they have a couple of other Toronto developments on the go, this will surely be their landmark Toronto project for years to come, and what they'll become known for. By making this a purely rental development (i.e. no condos), they are saying a lot about how much they value this location. Whereas a condo development requires a developer to make an investment commitment of about five years (pre-sales, construction, registration, cash out), a dedicated rental building means that Westbank is committing to this neighbourhood for decades and decades to come. This is good.
The full proposal can be viewed at bloorandbathurst.com, and they welcome comments. The proposal has not yet been submitted to the city, so if you live in the neighbourhood, now is the ideal time to make your thoughts known.
In my next post, I'll go over the particulars of the proposal and some of the things I'd like to see come from it. I live right at 783 Bathurst and so you know I'll be tracking this one closely over the coming months and years!