What you see in these pictures could become reality on Bathurst Street, if developers get their way.
Lost in the shuffle last week was some news about something that has been fraying nerves in Kensington Market for about two years: the prospect of a 12,000-square-metre shopping centre, right on the neighbourhood’s western border.
The mini mall—proposed for a plot of land that centres on the former location of Kromer Radio, at 420 Bathurst Street—is a project of Riotrin, which is a holding company majority-owned by RioCan, a huge commercial developer with properties all over the country.
The mall plan faced a setback last May, when Riotrin’s application was rejected by the City’s committee of adjustment. Now, after losing an appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board, Riotrin is doing what it probably should have done in the first place. It’s applying for a zoning amendment, which means its plans now have to be approved by city council. (The committee of adjustment is made up of residents, so Riotrin’s decision to apply there first was probably a bid to avoid a huge political fight.)
The immediate upshot of all of this is that drawings of the proposed building are now freely available online. The top image, above, is taken from a City staff report that will be considered by the Toronto and East York community council next week. The bottom image is taken from the website of Turner Fleischer Architects, who are designing the building. (Click here to see a larger version of the top image.)
Some Kensington Market residents and merchants fear that the presence of big retail—especially if it includes a supermarket—will damage the neighbourhood by driving all of its small grocers out of business. Another big retail development is already underway on College Street, just north of the market.