Last week, City Council met with RioCan, the real estate development company who wanted to build a Walmart at Bathurst and Dundas, and approved their revised plans for a smaller retail space at the former Kromer Radio site. Residents in Kensington Market let out a loud cheer last month when RioCan agreed not to build the big box store close to the market.
Ding dong the Walmart witch is dead. #kensington— Mika Bareket (@GoodEggChick) February 13, 2014
City Councillors and the community seem pleased with the outcome and the revised plans, for now. "This settlement is a great win for our community!" Councillor Mike Layton says in his blog. "Thousands of people have signed petitions, attended public meetings or sent letters on this subject. Residents across Toronto expressed a concern about the impact this type of big box superstore would have neighbouring retail areas – West Queen West, Dundas West, Little Italy, and Kensington Market." Since then, RioCan's been working with the city on a revised proposal in hopes to avoid the Ontario Municipal Board. Highlights from the now approved revised plans include a new 4-storey commercial building having a maximum total gross floor area of 13,300 square metres; ground level divided into a minimum of six retail units, and sidewalks on Bathurst Street will be widened to 4.8 metres and will include the planting of street trees. According to the revised proposal, the owner must agree to "never put a Walmart store in the building." At a previous community meeting, residents were concerned with excess noise of truck deliveries, height of the building and traffic congestion on Bathurst. While there won't be a Walmart at the site, there's no telling which future tenants will occupy the building. Will Kensington Market locals like the new tenants?
· Loblaws is Moving in, Pissing Off Kensington Market [Curbed Toronto]
· Walmart Out, But is RioCan's New Plan Better? [Curbed Toronto]