Plan for five condo tow­ers and park

New­ton­brook Plaza re­de­vel­op­ment con­cerns some res­i­dents

Bayview Post - - News -

The New­ton­brook Plaza, lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion of Yonge Street and Cum­mer Av­enue will soon be a thing of the past. At least that is the plan of de­vel­oper Aoyuan Prop­erty Hold­ings.

The plaza it­self is get­ting old, and al­though many of the area’s res­i­dents are tied to the 60-yearold his­tory of the space, many be­lieve a ren­o­va­tion is des­per­ately needed.

“The whole place is so run­down,” said Pe­dram Rah­bari, pres­i­dent of the Yonge Cor­ri­dor Con­do­minium As­so­ci­a­tion (YCCA). “If you de­velop it again and make a mod­ern plaza out of it, maybe we can con­sider it, but in the cur­rent shape, it is an eye­sore.”

Aoyuan bought the prop­erty in Novem­ber of 2017 and is in the fi­nal stages of ap­proval for five new res­i­den­tial condo tow­ers, 180,000 square feet of of­fice and re­tail space, a day­care, a com­mu­nity cen­tre and a pub­lic park.

The name of the de­vel­op­ment is the M2M Con­dos.

“There is no way this is not go­ing to af­fect us ad­versely,” said Anne Brooke, of the Sil­verview Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion.

“The noise, dirt and con­ges­tion of the con­struc­tion will go on for years, and ev­ery­thing will be that much more crowded when the con­struc­tion is fin­ished.”

On Sept. 29 and 30, Aoyuan held a block party in the park­ing lot of the New­ton­brook Plaza to show­case the fu­ture 1.5-acre park that will be a per­ma­nent fix­ture once de­vel­op­ment is com­plete.

More than 500 res­i­dents at­tended the event. It was also a time for res­i­dents to meet rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Aoyuan and to en­joy free food and events such as Tai Chi and yoga classes.

“Best-case sce­nario, they de­liver all the things they are promis­ing,” said Rah­bari. How­ever, he is not with­out his own reser­va­tions.

“What hap­pens to the roads, what hap­pens to the traf­fic, pub­lic trans­porta­tion, con­ges­tion?,” he said.

Rah­bari and Brooke have seen condo de­vel­op­ment af­ter condo de­vel­op­ment be­ing ap­proved in their neigh­bour­hood, with in­fra­struc­ture be­ing an af­ter­thought.

Al­though most of the New­ton­brook plaza is now closed, the Food Ba­sics that is still open rep­re­sents a go-to store for many of the area’s res­i­dents, who sim­ply walk there.

“In meet­ings with smaller groups in the com­mu­nity, what is coming across is that they want to have that gro­cery store back, that re­tail space, as soon as we can,” said Vince Santino, se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of de­vel­op­ment Eastern Canada for Aoyuan.

“We are cer­tainly look­ing forward to de­liv­er­ing that.”

But that is not all that the com­mu­nity needs. Aoyuan is promis­ing that this de­vel­op­ment will be mixed use, mean­ing res­i­den­tial, re­tail and of­fice space.

Along with some of the in­fra­struc­ture short­com­ings in the area, res­i­dents still have plenty of ques­tions.

“In­fra­struc­ture is num­ber one, ab­so­lutely. Schools and also elec­tric­ity and wa­ter,” said Rah­bari. “But on top of that, it is a mat­ter of bal­ance of uses.”

The Sil­verview Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, lo­cated right be­hind New­ton­brook Plaza, is also seek­ing a tem­po­rary path­way from their neigh­bour­hood onto Yonge Street.

The plaza’s park­ing lot has pro­vided this path­way, but with con­struc­tion set to be­gin in early 2019, with­out a plan in place to re­place this, Sil­verview res­i­dents feel left out.

“One of the sore points with me is that the city and the de­vel­oper have been ne­go­ti­at­ing with­out any com­mu­nity in­put,” said Brooke.

“There has been no up­date for the com­mu­nity about their dis­cus­sions, let alone ask­ing us for our opin­ion.”

With one more meet­ing set at the Lo­cal Plan­ning Ap­peal Tri­bunal (LPAT) for Fe­bru­ary of 2019, Aoyuan is hope­ful con­struc­tion can be­gin later in 2019. Pur­chasers and retailers are ex­pected to be brought in by mid2022.

“There is no way this is not go­ing to af­fect us ad­versely. The noise, dirt and con­ges­tion of the con­struc­tion will go on for years. ”

Res­i­dents do­ing tai chi dur­ing a block party hosted by Aoyuan on the fu­ture site of their pro­posed 1.5-acre park

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