Redevelopment of 40,000 square metre 'eyesore' could transform Dundas and Bloor

Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust is hosting a public meeting at the 2280 Dundas Street West site to gather input from the community.

Developer hosting public meeting at 2280 Dundas Street West to gather input from community

The developer hoping to build on the site wants a mixed-use development of retail, office, and residential buildings. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

Move over, Mirvish Village — there's another mega-development in Toronto's west end.

South-east of Dundas West Station, a roughly 40,000-square-metre site that currently houses a Loblaws, LCBO, and a large parking lot could one day be transformed into a retail and residential development right by one of the city's growing transit hubs.

"It's prime for redevelopment," said Kim Lee, vice-president of investment relations and business intelligence with Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, the developer hoping to give the space a major makeover.

What that means, exactly, remains to be seen. There's no final concept or proposal in front of the city just yet; instead, Choice Properties is hosting a public meeting at the 2280 Dundas St. W. site Wednesday evening alongside Coun. Gord Perks, to gather ideas from the community.

"We're taking a different approach to this development," Lee said. "Rather than draw up plans and show them to the community ... we're reaching out to the community first."

The potential re-development site near Dundas and Bloor Streets West is a roughly 40,000 square metre space that currently houses several retail outlets, including a Loblaws and LCBO, and a massive parking lot. (Google Maps)

But one early concept for the site — as seen in a 2015 Choice Properties presentation for investors — included six high-rise towers, green space, and a variety of other buildings. 

Lee said those concepts are now "outdated."

"We are considering mixed-use development there, so that would be retail, office, residential," she said.

Crucial within that plan is a new park, according to Perks, and a mix of different types of housing units. 

The Catholic high school just north of the site could also wind up part of the project, too. Lee said Choice Properties has proposed building a new school to replace Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton.

The Catholic school board confirmed it has been approached by the developer and that the discussions included the possibility of a new school.

"They've asked us if we'd be interested in participating in the redevelopment of the entire corner, including the school property," Angelo Sangiorgio told CBC Toronto. Sangiogio is the associate director of planning and facilities at the TCDSB.

He added that "no agreements" have been made just yet. 

Even without the school property, the project will be "one of the biggest development sites in the city," Perks said. 

If the school is included, the development will be bigger than the much-lauded Mirvish Village project, he added, which is set to include a number of mid-rise and tall buildings featuring more than 800 rental units.

Len McAuley, chair of the Roncesvalles Village BIA south of the development site, said the current parking lot in the 40,000 square metre space has long been an 'eyesore' in the neighbourhood. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

Site considered an 'eyesore' in neighbourhood

That's good news to Len McAuley, chair of the Roncesvalles Village BIA south of the development site. As a lifelong Roncesvalles resident who now owns the hardware store he shopped at as a kid, McAuley said he's long seen the proposed Dundas Street West development site as an "eyesore" in the neighbourhood.

But he does worry the transformation might mean the arrival of a big box store like a Loblaws Supercentre. And, while nothing is set in stone, Choice Properties' principal tenant and largest unit holder is Loblaw Companies Limited, and a Loblaws store of some kind was shown in the 2015 investor report.

Perks said these kinds of concerns can be brought up at the public meeting with the developer. 

"I think there will be some conversation about what the impact will be on the neighbourhood to the south, and what the impact will be on Dundas Street — which is already very congested," he said.

"But I don't think any city councillor anywhere thinks having a giant parking lot is a good thing in their ward either."

Lee said Choice Properties intends to present a concept to the public this fall and a proposal to the city by the end of the year.