City mulls over Regent Park rezoning application for phase 4 & 5

By the bridge reporter

Tridel Builders Inc. and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) have requested increased density in phases 4 and 5 of the Regent Park revitalization project that would allow an additional 1056 residential units along with greatly expanded commercial, retail and community space.

The partners are looking to “maximize” the use of the public land, according to their submitted planning rationale to the City, beyond the vision that Council permitted in 2014.

Calling the old plan “outdated”, Tridel and TCHC hope intensification of the subject site, to add additional residential and mixed-use, including provisions for more subsidized housing, will be a convincing factor to gain approval for the rezoning. The 16-acre site (6.5 hectares) consists of three large blocks between River and Dreamer’s Way and between Gerrard and Oak Streets.

Tridel and TCHC propose a dozen new buildings averaging 14 storeys, with three to be over 30 storeys. Most of the large towers are slated for Oak Street, while Gerrard is to get buildings of 4 to 10 storeys. Across the street on Gerrard are mainly Victorian-style single- family houses.

According to the plan, 2,973 units in total are to be added to Regent Park’s housing stock, of which 1,792 are to be market-priced condominiums. Of the remaining 1,181 units, 633 will be rent- geared-to-income housing to replace the last of Regent Park’s original 2,082 RGI units. The rest of the 1,181 units depend on future funding mechanisms from governments and or Section 37 benefits from developers to determine their “affordability”.

The planned ratio of market-priced to subsidized housing for Phase 4&5 is 60:40. The proposal also calls for 3,525 square metres of new community and cultural space, plus a new library to replace the Parliament branch at Gerrard, a block away. The new library will be increased by 23,000 square metres and include additional space for children and teens.

Non-residential space including retail will concentrate on Gerrard Street. The plan calls for “micro” retail space from 50 to 200 square metres to encourage independent businesses.

Most of the Regent Park neighbourhood’s commercial space is held by corporate chains such as Wendy’s, Tim Hortons and Shoppers Drug Mart. TCHC selected Tridel for the two revitalization phases in 2020 over the Daniels Corporation, developer of the first three phases, and Capital Developments. The deal commits Tridel, which is also working with TCHC in the west end’s Alexandra Park revitalization project, to a $26.8 million community benefits agreement to fund community social and economic programs.

A virtual community consultation hosted by City Planning took place on June 9, as part of the city’s planning process. Staff will review the rezoning application as well as comments made from local stakeholders and report to the Toronto and East York Community Council. Community members are still encouraged to email comments and questions to the senior planner assigned to the project: [email protected]