Fate of Postal Station S sealed quietly

Sale behind closed doors raises local concerns about what's to replace it

Bedford Park residents may feel a sense of déjà vu after learning Canada Post quietly sold Postal Station S, at 1780 Avenue Rd., to an unidentified buyer in July.

Like last year’s sale of Postal Station K, at 2384 Yonge St., the Station S sale was conducted by CBRE Limited Real Estate. Neither party would discuss the particulars of the sale when contacted by the Town Crier, but Canada Post spokesperson John Caines said both sales are part of the Crown corporation’s larger plan to sell three of its properties to generate revenue and streamline operations.

“As a responsible company, we have to make sure that our asset base is relevant,” he said. “This was a facility that we no longer required, so we sold it.”

Unlike North Toronto’s Station K, located on the original site of William Lyon Mackenzie’s headquarters during the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion and Canada’s only structure bearing King Edward VIII’s insignia, Station S appears to have no historical value.

Caines said the station will continue to serve as a Post Office until mid-2014, and its closing will not affect local mail service.

Regardless, some residents are concerned both stations were sold behind closed doors and, as initially happened with Postal Station K, Station S’s new owners might design a replacement building without consulting the community.

“The sale of Postal Station K was done very surreptitiously,” said Paul Baker, president of the South Armour Heights Residents’ Association. “You would have thought that Canada Post would at least have an open bidding process, or announce in the paper that the property was for sale.”

Residents quickly rallied to Station K’s defense, and its front portion and forecourt subsequently became designated heritage property. The developer that bought the station now plans to preserve the main building.

Baker, who emphasized that he’s pro-development, doesn’t foresee anything so drastic for Station S.

“I’m not going to sit and tell you that it’s a lovely building,” he said. “It’s pretty industrial-looking, and that’s being kind.”

Baker said he worries, however, Station S could become a condominium that matches or exceeds the area’s seven-storey height limit, with little regard for the surrounding neighbourhood.

The residents’ association recently fought the developers of one such building, he said, resulting in what he called an “average-looking” five-storey mixed-use building at 1717 Avenue Rd. He considers it a victory, of sorts.

Questioning why Canada Post elected to conduct the sale of Postal Station S out of the public eye, Baker remarked: “When you expose things to the sunlight, they usually improve.”

“At this point I’m not overly concerned,” he said. “I’m just hoping they take the space they have and do a really good job that enhances the value and appearance of Avenue Road.”

About this article:

By: Eric Emin Wood
Posted: Aug 30 2013 11:54 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto