Glam de­vel­oper pur­chases ag­ing plaza

Plans are to build a mixed-use highrise on site of Yorkville North

Richmond Hill Post - - News - –– Ge­orge Redak

Yorkville North, lo­cated at 100 Stee­les Ave. W., is a sprawl­ing and crum­bling plaza built around a Thorn­hill park­ing lot. It’s home to a num­ber of Korean, Viet­namese and Chi­nese restau­rants, a State Farm agency, a Per­sian bak­ery, the Toronto Home of Au­dio­phile and a smat­ter­ing of other busi­nesses.

In the sum­mer it was an­nounced that Mizrahi De­vel­op­ments (who is cur­rently build­ing One Bloor West which will be one of Canada’s most ex­pen­sive con­dos), Dream Un­lim­ited and West­dale Prop­er­ties are plan­ning to sub­mit a plan for a highrise, mixed-use devel­op­ment at Yorkville North. In West­dale’s quar­terly re­port, re­leased at the end of March, it stated that it, along with Dream Un­lim­ited, had pur­chased a 33.3 per cent lease hold in­ter­est in the plaza for $7.8 mil­lion. The prop­erty was billed as a “re­tail shop­ping cen­tre and res­i­den­tial mixed-use devel­op­ment in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.”

“This area is suited for this kind of in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion,” said Alan Shef­man, Vaughan coun­cil­lor for Ward 5. “The plazas them­selves are pretty old, beat up, and they are not re­flect­ing what we want to see in that area in the fu­ture,” he said.

The de­vel­op­ers have not made an of­fi­cial pro­posal yet to the city, but have been in close con­tact with both the coun­cil­lor’s of­fice as well as the lo­cal ratepay­ers as­so­ci­a­tion when it comes to de­sign­ing this devel­op­ment.

“They have been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing,” said Pam Tara­day-Levy, pres­i­dent of the SpringFarm Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. “[The de­vel­oper] told us that [they have] pur­chased the site and that there will be a devel­op­ment of a live-work space, but no spe­cific de­tails were given.”

Toronto Home of Au­dio­phile, lo­cated at Unit 22 in Yorkville North is one of the old­est ten­ants in the plaza. It closed its down­town lo­ca­tion and moved to Thorn­hill af­ter notic­ing a mi­gra­tion of higher in­come fam­i­lies to Thorn­hill. Since then, it has seen the plaza shift from pri­mar­ily Chi­nese restau­rants to new Korean busi­nesses. It has also seen the prop­erty change hands sev­eral times from land­lord to land­lord and was un­aware of the changes com­ing to the plaza.

“I’m a ten­ant here, so I don’t want it to be re­de­vel­oped,” said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Toronto Home of Au­dio­phile, who did not want to be named. He wor­ried that the new plans for Yorkville North would mean his lease would be ter­mi­nated. And if the own­ers re­newed his lease, he said it would be hard to weather the tran­si­tion.

“We could not stop our busi­ness for a cou­ple of years to wait [for the con­struc­tion to be over],” he said. “I think they would have to com­pen­sate all the ten­ants.”

There’s lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty, as well, over whether the new own­ers are done pur­chas­ing prop­er­ties for this devel­op­ment.

“My land­lord told me that the de­vel­oper who pur­chased [ Yorkville North at] 100 Stee­les pro­posed to buy 180 Stee­les as well,” said Chris Kim, owner of Seoul House Bar­beque restau­rant in the next plaza over at 180 Stee­les Ave. W. “He is not go­ing to sell.”

How­ever, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Toronto Home of Au­dio­phile re­mained skep­ti­cal about how the new own­ers would be able to build over Yorkville North alone. “It’s not a big area,” he said. The land around the plaza has been iden­ti­fied by the prov­ince as a growth node for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion.

This Septem­ber, the Gupta Group pro­posed three highrise tow­ers to be built across the street from Cen­ter­point Mall.

A Yonge Street ex­ten­sion sub­way line is cur­rently in pre­lim­i­nary stages. It will run 7.4 kilo­me­tres north from Finch sta­tion, with a stop at Stee­les and Yonge.

“There will be a sub­way sta­tion there in the fu­ture. It will be well served by tran­sit,” said Shef­man. “It’s an area that we have iden­ti­fied for a com­bi­na­tion of res­i­dence, of­fice and re­tail in that area.”

For now, the re­tail­ers who will be the most im­pacted from this change have been left in the dark. Mizrahi, Dream and West­dale will con­tinue to con­sult with lo­cal res­i­dents be­fore sub­mit­ting their pro­posal. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Mizrahi De­vel­op­ments did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment.

The plazas them­selves are pretty old, beat up, and they are not re­flect­ing what we want to see in that area.”

The cur­rent plaza at 100 Stee­les Ave. W.

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