Toronto

Tenants of 650 Parliament St. can start moving back in March - 18 months after major fire

The tenants of 650 Parliament have finally got the news they've been waiting for: an official move-in date.

Nearly 1,500 residents were displaced in August 2018 when flames tore through the building

Nearly 1,500 residents have been displaced since August 2018 when a major fire ripped through the building. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

The tenants of 650 Parliament Street finally have the news they've been waiting for: an official move-in date.

Nearly 1,500 residents have been displaced since August 2018 when a major fire ripped through the building. Their move-in date has been pushed back before but many residents are optimistic.

Mark Slapinski is among those looking forward to moving back home on March 2.

"I've been waiting for this for nearly a year and a half, so now that we're finally hearing that I'm pretty pleased and I'm pretty confident it's an accurate move-in day," he said.

Firefighters say the fire was one of the biggest and most complex the city has seen in years. Flames ripped through every single floor of the 22-storey apartment building.

Investigators said a major electrical failure was to blame.

The building's property management company says the apartment has been rebuilt  from the inside out, costing more than $60 million. 

"There's an entirely new electrical system, there's a new HVAC system, there's new plumbing ... there's new elevator systems," said Danny Roth, spokesperson for Wellesley Parliament Square Management.

"What they're coming back to is a safe building, they can feel comfortable and secure moving back home."

The process of moving the residents in will take about three months. They'll move in two floors at a time each week, starting at the top then working their way down to the ground floor. 

The tenants' rent will stay the same, but the property management company won't be paying for the move-in costs.

"Once we're back in the building I think there's going to be a lot more community because before we didn't really know each other so we'll definitely have that," said Slapinsky. 

Since the fire, the city has also ordered inspections for similar buildings and toughened rules for landlords.