I am not a fan of the new Mirvish-Gehry development—a project that, whether we like it or not, is very likely to be green-lit for construction at the intersection of King and John.
Yes, I am an active realtor, but that does not preclude me from believing we should avoid ruining the city with monster condos that shut down major intersections for years at a time.
Mirvish and Gehry have expressed interest in fast-tracking the development’s approval because of their respective ages. But should we really forgo the planning and negotiation necessary for such a monumental project?
The original blueprint called for three towers of 80-plus storeys, but Jennifer Keesmaat objected. The revised plan features two towers—one with 82 storeys, the other 92*—so we’re looking at six of one and a half-dozen of the other. (Across the street, Festival Tower and Cinema Tower sit at 42 and 43 storeys, respectively. What makes the Mirvish and Gehry believe they can more than double the area’s usual building height?)
In the end, this project is a microcosm of a much larger problem in Toronto: The city is 30 to 40 years behind in terms of infrastructure, but very little is being done to rectify it. (Public transit, anyone?) City Hall just can’t seem to say no to the massive income from condo builders and extra property taxes paid by new condo residents. Apparently, we are no match for the Mirvishes and Gehrys of the world. Forget the mayor and city council—it’s developers that run this town.
CORRECTION, JUNE 20, 2014: The original version of this article—as it appeared here and in the June 19 print edition of The Grid—contained approximate but imprecise figures for the condo-tower storeys. The article has been updated with the actual figures.