West Queen West Lies in Ruins
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West Queen West Lies in Ruins

It is entirely possible that in 6 months, the only building standing on the south side of Queen Street West between Abell Street and Dufferin Street will be Woolfitt’s Art Supplies. For those of you not that familiar with the ‘hood, that is roughly the distance from the Drake to the Gladstone on the other side of the street.
Just yesterday, the nabe sometimes referred to as The Art and Design District lost its iconic and trashy coin-operated car wash. The dreaded white sign (“An application has been made to amend the zoning bylaw to pemit…”) has appeared on the the building that houses the area’s only 24-hour convenience store and a Mr. Sub.
There is some good news, however. More pictures of the destruction, maps, and a shining beacon of hope after the jump.

First, the good news: a rare partnership between Artscape, the City of Toronto, Westside Lofts (Urbancorp) and Active 18 has resulted in plans for a 58,000-square-foot artist live/work project within the Westside Lofts development at 150 Sudbury Street, announced just yesterday. This is a phenomenal project, and according to our calculations, it should replace about a third of the space that will be lost when 48 Abell is destroyed.
However, since the goal is to create 70 units out of 58,000 square feet, the average unit will be 868 square feet, a far cry from Abell’s expansive lofts.
According to the press release, monthly rent for a one-bedroom rental unit is targeted at $725, or roughly 80% of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s average market rent for Toronto, which is pretty sweet.
Back in Destruction Land, you can see how 1153 Queen West may be the only building standing pretty soon. We are not entirely sure about Country Site, the Country Style rip-off across from the Gladstone that provides some pretty decent 24-hour sandwiches, but it would surprise us if it withstood this wave of development. Also, that corrugated metal shack next to the train tracks may stick around a little longer. At least the obnoxious Bohemian Embassy sales centre has moved down the street across from the Starbucks (although it did evict the Toronto Fashion Incubator to do so), and all that remains there is an anonymous-looking, boarded-up, grey stucco front.
Nobody in 48 Abell knows when their last day is, but some payoffs and evictions have allegedly taken place in the western wing of the building. It must be hard to look out the window at the concrete carnage next door and realize your home is next.
The only two places to get food in the area after midnight are the Pizza Pizza at Queen Street West & Dovercourt Road and 24/7, formerly known as Zach’s Variety. The latter is now on death row.
The wind of change has blown through the neighbourhood, but the most important question—more important than how tall they will be—is how these new buildings will meet the ground. Will we have elegant sidewalks with useful, diverse, 24-hour retail and attractive landscaping and trees? Or will it just be another condo-anchoring strip mall? Only time will tell.