Home Depot headed for Queen West?
The big-boxification of Queen West is complete. H ipsters, brace yourselves -- Home Depot may be coming your way.
RioCan 's planned construction of a 99,000-square-foot project -- a three-storey podium along Queen with six storefronts, including boutiques, restaurants, a bank and a grocery store, as well as a four-storey condo -- will reportedly include a Home Depot.
Local Councillor Adam Vaughan says he's trying to get the developer to agree to design changes more in keeping with the 'hood.
City Hall hopes to use an alley at Portland that the developer needs for the project as a bargaining chip. Vaughan wants the plans to include a city-run art gallery that will provide low-rent exhibition space.
But RioCan disputes that the city actually owns the laneway. The company declined to comment on its proposal when contacted by NOW.
The RioCan plans come just as the city is looking to implement a maximum floor plate bylaw to protect older commercial districts and small businesses in older neighbourhoods.
Local playwright Deanne Taylor , who's involved in local efforts to ensure quality design, says a big box along the corridor will wipe out small hardware shops, and that bartering city property is a mistake.
"It's a sad trade-off that the things we're not prepared to pay for in the city's budget have made councillors into horse traders with developers to get a little bit of public good here, there and everywhere," she says.
Foes play up mix-up on Matador plans
Locals opposed to plans to level the beloved Matador are beginning to wonder why area councillor Adam Giambrone is so gung-ho about the Parking Authority spending almost $1 million of public money to make room for 20 parking spaces.
Some suspect the lot will ultimately give way to residential or commercial development. The head of the local BIA, Mike Sinopoli , says as much.
"The goal is more intensification," says the chair of the College Promenade Business Improvement Association . Indeed. All around the historic honky-tonk, on College between Rusholme and Shaw, lofts and other low-rise residential developments are springing up.
Steven Heipel, communications VP for the local YMCA , says that despite suggestions to the contrary by the Parking Authority and the city, the Y never asked for more parking. Says Heipel, "We don't need it."
Though he's sticking to the need-for-parking story, Giambrone admits, albeit indirectly, that pressure to develop the site may be too powerful -- or lucrative -- for the city to resist in the future.
Giambrone says, the plot "may be sold to the city" at a later date. "The Matador is no longer a venue for significant artists," he says. "It has become only a place where people go to buy alcohol after hours." Sounds like the writing's on the wall for this one. SavetheMatador.com urges residents to show up at the Parking Authority's next meeting, Tuesday (October 16), 4 pm, in meeting room B at City Hall.