We recently attended the public meeting between the Bloor West Village community and North Drive Investments, the owners of the 2114 Bloor St. W. development. Sarah Doucette, City Councillor for Ward 13, moderated the meeting, and the Quadrangle Architects team and city planner Philip Carvalino explained their vision for the neighbourhood.
Brian Curtner, a principal and co-founder of Quadrangle, kicked things off by explaining that sustainable design is a priority for this project.
“We designed this building to comply with what’s called Tier 2 City of Toronto Green Guidelines, which is quite expensive. It means that they are LEED certifiable,” Curtner said. “They’ll have green roofs, and water cisterns to store storm-water runoff. The Tier 2 guidelines are being met in these proposals.”
The fact that the builder is striving to meet Tier 2 guidelines is commendable, but it’s not what the local residents were there to discuss. All of the typical issues that come with developing a high-rise in an established neighbourhood arose. Height, shadowing of parks, lack of parking, street safety and traffic were all mentioned. However, what most people seemed concerned about was how the high-rise would affect the vibe of Bloor West Village as a whole.
“What we’re proposing is that we have a grey brick, a large masonry unit that is more horizontal than a normal brick shape on the lower floors. That is then modulated with wood panels and white panels to create this mélange of different textures within the building,” said Curtner about the building’s appearance. “We are proposing a lot of greenery on the balconies, and the building, as it ‘wedding cakes’ up to the top, gets lighter and the materials get lighter.”
The ground floor of the proposed 10-storey development will feature 4,500 square feet of retail space, while the rest will consist of 110 residential units and amenity space. We believe it is a very modest design and would probably complement the street nicely. But the main point is that our city is growing, and we need to start meeting the demand for residential space.
“Growth for the sake of growth is not a policy,” Carvalino said. “We have policies saying growth is fine, so long as it fits and it can be accommodated on the site…The city has to have a long-term vision to accommodate its growth, and Bloor Street is part of that vision.”
Most of the local residents seemed to understand that intensification is going to happen, and were simply concerned that it won’t be done in a manner that maintains the unique personality of their neighbourhood. That’s exactly why meetings like this are held. We are confident Quadrangle and North Drive will take what they heard at this meeting into consideration and deliver a product that pleases the majority.