An old midtown development story with an odd twist

Replacement of house with two large semis draws no public ire

It’s a common story in midtown neighbourhoods: An older two-storey home has been bought by a developer. It will be torn down, to be replaced by a much larger home — one that is taller and deeper than its predecessor, is closer to the sidewalk and will dwarf some of the older homes remaining in the area.

Usually, it will have drawn the attention of neighbourhood development watchdogs from the start. But there is one difference in the case of 97 Sherwood Ave. No one has a problem with it.

The two-storey home located a few blocks northeast of Yonge and Eglinton was built prior to WWII. It sold in February, 2014 for $1.691 million, more than 125 percent above its $1.324 million asking price. The purchase made it the sale of the week at the time in Toronto Life magazine.

A committee of adjustment ruling Nov. 26 approved 18 minor variances, including allowing increased height, increased depth and decreased lot frontage, as well as approving the severance of the lot into “two undersized residential lots.” They are now listed as 97 and 97A Sherwood Ave.

Ben Daube, president of Sherwood Park Residents’ Association, said his group has not weighed in on it because this sort of development is out of its purview. The SPRA’s focus is on larger developments.

“Anything that goes through the North York Committee of Adjustment is fair,” he said. “We, as an association, really don’t have time to get into Committee of Adjustment stuff.”

Daube said the SPRA is currently putting its efforts into two other developments on Keewatin Avenue, and without more members or resources their focus will remain on “long-term planning.”

With the original house slated to start coming down in April, in place of the much larger contemporary styled semis — each listed in mid-February at $2.5 million — it has the hallmark of a neighbourhood development controversy. But the neighbours don’t appear to be complaining.

“Doesn’t bother me,” said Faith Ferris, who has lived across the street from the house for more than 60 years.

She acknowledged the neighbourhood is changing, with a lot of older homes being torn down and new ones built in their place. She believes the same fate awaits her home, which has been in her husband’s family since 1902.

The asking price for the new home is also no surprise to her.

“It’s a nice neighbourhood,” she said. “I can see that.”

About this article:

Posted: Mar 24 2015 2:37 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto

One thought on “An old midtown development story with an odd twist

  • March 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    You are absolutely correct there was no public outcry. But there should be public outcry for the application at 200-214 Keewatin Avenue. Semis are one thing but 80 stacked townhomes are proposed at this site. This will change this neighborhood, increase congestion and traffic, stress the infrastructure, and affect our quality of life only to benefit Freed development. There is no upside for the community. Density creep is happening, and unless we act other homes will be sold and intensification such as the monstrosity proposed on Keewatin Avenue will occur. Neighbors beware. Thanks, Marcia

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