Large mature rental sites called ‘low hanging fruit’ at Council. Does proposed Broadway Plan minimum 150 ft frontage target rentals?

Rental buildings such as the one at 1741 West 10th Avenue would make for an easy redevelopment site as no lot assembly is required (for 6.5 FSR and 20-storey tower)

Council continued to hear from speakers on the Broadway Plan on May 26th. The meeting will reconvene on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 3pm with Speaker #163 out of 202. Any speaker who missed their turn will be given a chance to speak at the end after the last person on the speakers list is heard (when their name is called for a second time). It’s still possible to send in correspondence to Council (via the form on the agenda page or directly to the Councillors’ emails).

One of the speakers from the development industry noted that rental units with large frontages were ‘low hanging fruit’ as these sites don’t require any lot assembly (this is specifically the sites that meet the 150 ft / 45.7m minimum frontage requirement for a tower). The speaker then went on to advocate for allowing taller buildings on smaller sites, with frontages in the 99ft to 100ft range. There was a developer who asked for more than two towers per residential block, as long as tower separation guidelines are respected. It’s also worth noting that a lot assembly of two smaller, but adjacent rental buildings could still yield the City’s minimum 150 ft frontage for redevelopment. There are a number of ‘for sale’ signs on rental properties, of various sizes, in the Broadway Plan area.

The Broadway Plan seeks to allow redevelopment in mature apartment zones by providing significant incentives in terms of height and density (such as 20 storeys and 6.5 FSR in some of the zones). By contrast, the City’s West End Community Plan protected apartment (RM) zones from redevelopment. The Mount Pleasant Community Plan also protected the corresponding apartment zones, a protection that the Broadway Plan seeks to overturn. Some of the speakers who spoke in favour of the plan (including a number of speakers with direct ties to the development industry) kept making similar supply side arguments, namely that building more units will eventually bring down prices. A developer called on the removal of solar access provisions for high street village areas.

As for sentiments coming from speakers opposed to the Broadway Plan, a few speakers mentioned the issues around the financialization and commodification of housing. There was mention of a lack of any clear planning for future schools, parks and community centres. There was again the identification from renters in large mature rental buildings (ones that have 150 foot frontages or larger), that they are specifically being targeted by the plan. There was the reinforcement of the issue that the Broadway Plan is a top down plan, an ‘American-style’ plan and a departure from earlier community plans that had direct citizen involvement. One speaker took apart the city’s consultation and survey process from a statistical angle and showed a number of inadequacies with the approach.

Mature rental with a frontage exceeding 150 ft (in zones that would allow for 20 storey, 6.5 FSR building)

Rentals with frontages of less than 150 ft. could also be redeveloped with lot assembly. This would especially be true for sites with locations where two adjacent rentals could be assembled into a large site.

324W 10th Avenue sold for $16.2 million back in March 2022

The West End Community Plan protected apartment (RM) zones

2 thoughts on “Large mature rental sites called ‘low hanging fruit’ at Council. Does proposed Broadway Plan minimum 150 ft frontage target rentals?

  1. Hello,

    Thank you. This is very helpful and informative. Please keep up the generous and first class work. Good to know that the public can still send correspondence to council. Will pass that information on wherever I can.

    Sincerely, Jocelyn Beairsto

    (speaker #107 – spoke out opposed; did not do well at expressing clear issues or solutions, but I am quite sure my opposition and hopefully a few points were clear).

  2. Look at these lovely older buildings. Look at the generous balconies, where someone could actually have a few planters, a few chairs and a table to sit outside with a friend or family. These are livable buildings.

    No way will anything built new be as livable. Not enough profit for developers. Recent buildings have such tiny balconies, barely one person can sit outside. And the plan and the increased incentive for building owners to sell out to developers/investors to sit on a property to build has created unbelievable anxiety for every renter in the city. The mayor’s piece in the Daily Hive, is insulting to renters, insulting to decent landlords who have maintained their properties….and he is anything but the champion of the renters he makes himself out to be.

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