15-storey Crosstown proposal angers Eglinton West residents

Developer says he's open to changes, though height likely to remain an issue

Developer Michael Goldberg says his controversial development close to the Avenue Road Crosstown LRT station is a “work in progress” and promises to collaborate with the community to address their concerns.

He was responding to criticisms raised by about 70 residents at a community consultation last month against the Goldberg Group’s application for a 15-storey, 112-unit, mixed-use building at 346–356 Eglinton Avenue West. Most residents complained  the development being too tall and too dense.

“We hear them,” Goldberg said. “We are actively engaging with Metrolinx to see if there’s an opportunity to extend the project onto the corner site, which I think will have a beneficial effect on lowering the height.”

Ward 16 councillor Christin Carmichael Greb said the meeting “wasn’t hostile by any means,” but the residents wanted to make sure they articulated their concerns.

“Even though there will be an LRT there, the residents feel [the proposal] is just too tall for Avenue Road and Eglinton — which I agree with,” she said.

Other issues included the amount of traffic to be generated by the proposed entrance at Burnaby Boulevard, which Carmichael Greb said is already frequently congested despite turning restrictions, and the proposal’s current design, a glass building that doesn’t fit the neighbourhood’s character, particularly the historic Eglinton Grande theatre next door, she said.

“With traffic, there were no real answers as to how it would work,” Carmichael Greb said. “They said they were still in the preliminary stages, and I think their traffic specialist said they didn’t really know where the entrance would be.”

Goldberg declined to send the Town Crier a rendering of the current proposal, saying it was “very conceptual” and “100 percent going to change,” though he implied the building would be higher than permitted by the area’s current zoning bylaws, given the future presence of the Crosstown.

“There are a lot of communities that don’t have height that receive height because of where they are and the infrastructure located there,” he said. “It’s not uncommon that the first one in will be given the roughest road.”

Carmichael Greb said that she understands the Goldberg Group’s reasoning for proposing a 15-storey building – which, she noted, would exceed the Eglinton Connects guidelines which recommend midrise buildings of up to 11 storeys along the Crosstown. But “it’s still a residential neighbourhood and they need to respect that.”

She said there were lots of good suggestions at the meeting and hopefully the developers will listen and take another crack at it.

The city’s final report on the proposal is expected sometime in 2016.

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Posted: Dec 10 2015 12:59 pm
Filed in: NEWS