Developer partners with Toronto on $300 million revitalization of TCHC Don Summerville Apartments

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Context Development have announced a major revitalization of TCHC’s Don Summerville Apartments at 1555 and 1575 Queen St. E. in the Queen Street and Coxwell Avenue area.

“As Mayor, creating new, quality, affordable housing is a top priority for me,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a media release. “This new partnership with Context Development represents a significant investment in new affordable housing that will transform the Queen East neighbourhood.”

The project will create hundreds of new homes and revitalize the neighbourhood, he said.

The entire project will cost about $300 million.

Context Development and TCHC worked with the city over the past year on a plan that would increase the amount of affordable housing and market rate apartments on the site. Their plan has been approved by the TCHC Board and City Council and will now go through a neighbourhood consultation process and city planning approvals.

In addition to replacing the 120 TCHC units currently on the site with new units, Context will add 100 affordable rental apartments, 180 market rent apartments and 350 additional condo units.

TCHS’s aging Don Summerville complex will be revitalised with:

  • 120 rent-geared-to-income units operated by TCHC
  • 100 affordable rental units, half of which will be privately owned
  • 180 market-rate rental units
  • 350 condominium units
  • 16,000 sq. ft. of commercial retail space

“Building good quality affordable and market rental housing is a top priority for the city,” said Coun. Paula Fletcher, who also sits on the TCHC Board. “This site is transit-friendly with good access to services and greenspace. In the coming weeks we will hold open houses to hear from the local community and we are working closely with tenants to ensure their needs are met through the construction phase.”

The developer says they are creating a “truly mixed income” neighbourhood. Developer RioCan is also involved, and the proposed design will be presented at a community open house in mid-November.

“We have come together to place a greater emphasis on rental housing with a significant component at below-market rents,” said Howard Cohen, president at Context Development.

Tenants living in the two existing TCHC buildings will be relocated to suitable accommodation at other TCHC properties. All eligible tenants will have the right to return to the new apartments, once the revitalization is completed.

A planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks and Toronto City Council will likely vote on the planning approvals in summer 2020. It is anticipated the new community will be ready for occupancy by late 2023.

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