Nine year application process now approved
Family of respected optometrists to expand clinic into mixed-use building by George Redak
A new development at 180 Sheppard Ave. E. has been approved following nine years in the application process, which involved opposition from the local councillor and residents as well as numerous proposal resubmissions.
The Salsberg family took over the existing Eyes on Sheppard optometry clinic in 1989, along with two other residential buildings that were on the same property. Stan Salsberg continued to operate the small practice, initially renting out two of the buildings to residents. Over time, as the practice grew, more space was required to operate in order to allow for an increasing number of doctors and staff. This led to the removal of the residential units, as Salsberg turned the whole property into the current optometry clinic with nine doctors and 25 staff members.
In May 2013, a zoning bylaw amendment application was submitted to accommodate a six-storey, mixed-use building with 22 residential units. Due to the unique architectural design, which is triangular in shape and encased in glass, and the number of units proposed for the building, the city refused these applications for being out of character with the neighbourhood.
“We had a little bit of resistance with some of the designs from the certain community members,” said Kerry Salsburg, Stan’s son, who also works at the clinic as an optometrist. “We had several meetings with the city as well, and they made it known that they wanted certain design elements to be followed.”
The final proposal was created through a collaboration between Stan Salsberg, the city and the neighbours at 170 Sheppard Ave. W. The result is a six-storey, mixed-use building, with two floors of retail, parking spaces on the ground floor and a total of eight residential units available for rent.
“In our opinion, the proposed redevelopment of the subject property will intensify an underutilized site,” said Jane McFarlane, an associate with Weston Consulting, the planners hired to assess the proposal. “The property is well suited for mixed-use intensification given its proximity to transit and other municipal infrastructure.”
Now that an agreement has been reached between the owners of both 170 and 180 Sheppard Ave. W., and with the city’s approval, Stan Salsberg can finally move forward with the development.
Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2019, with Eye on Sheppard planning to reopen in the summer of 2020.
“They made it known that they wanted certain design elements to be followed.”