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Developer confronted with construction-fatigued residents in Yonge-Eglinton

55-storey proposal for 90 Eglinton Avenue East opens old wounds at public consultation

BRIAN BAKER/STREETER
THIRD WHEEL: Madison Group vice president Josh Zagdanski, who once lived in the Yonge-Eglinton area, said he felt he ran up against residents’ fear about overall development at the meeting about his proposed development for 90 Eglinton Ave. W.

The wider cumulative issues facing development in the Yonge-Eglinton area came to the fore during a developer’s community consultation May 16.

Residents arrived with exasperated pleas to hold up construction in the area while infrastructure and social services have a chance to catch up. Others asked who is going to mitigate the dust, noise and obstructions to pedestrian traffic.

So, when the developers presenting their 55-storey plan for 90 Eglinton Ave. E. were met with questions and complaints related more to constant construction, they had to adapt fast.

Madison Group vice president Josh Zagdanski said his team felt like a third wheel at the community consultation.

“We try to focus on our project and what it brings to the community,” he told Streeter. “We’re trying to mitigate what part of that frustration that we may contribute to.”

For a site that already has a nine-storey office building, the Madison Group is proposing a 55-storey, mixed-use development that will introduce 502 new residential units to the area. The podium will be eight-storeys with a 12-metre setback from Eglinton Avenue.

“We understand the frustration of what’s going on in the area,” Zagdanski said. “We think we came here with a proposal that responds to community consultation and Midtown In Focus.”

Of the 40 people who attended, one resident asked the question of the existing building, “Why? Is there something wrong with the current building? Does it have bed bugs?”

The construction fatigue from residents was evident, as they asked attending councillor Josh Matlow to try place a hold on further development. One community member went as far as to ask the developer if they would halt their own project.

BRIAN BAKER/STREETER
CITY WON’T pause development in the area despite it being overdeveloped, councillor Josh Matlow said.

“It’s something I’ve been asking about for year,” Matlow told Streeter. “The answer I get from the planning department and legal is there is no way for the City of Toronto to just put a pause on development in an urban growth area, like Yonge and Eglinton, that’s already over-developed.”

The Toronto District School Board has had to move the Grade 6 class out of Eglinton Public School and send them to Hodgson Senior Public School, while some students in junior kindergarten may have to attend Maurice Cody.

Transportation, green space and utility issues also came into play. The city’s proposed secondary plan would be to have the highest densities located in one area with a sloping arc of height and density as development moves away from the Yonge-Eglinton centre.

The secondary plan also caps building height in the area at 52 storeys.

Two years ago Zagdanski lived on Roehampton Avenue, and he shared his empathy for the residents. However, the allure of the future midtown also drew him in.

“When you look at what’s coming, in addition to the parkland, it’s going to pay off,” he said. “It’s going to take some growing pains to get there.”

Matlow said he feels differently.

“The social services and infrastructure haven’t kept pace,” he said.

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