A group of Toronto residents came out in force on Saturday to protest the construction of an apartment building that stands to put them out of their homes for a year and take away some prized green space.

An application is expected to receive the green light from Toronto city council next week allowing the developer to take down one side of the building in the Church Street and Isabella Street area of downtown Toronto to build the new residential tower.

The planned development would force the demolition of some 50 residences for the tower to be built adjacent to the existing building.

"This is a very unusual application," said Toronto city councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam. "It's not everyday that we have an old tower format. The applicant has made a submission to take the elevation off one side of the building and reattach a new building to it."

Residents also worry that the development will be built on prime green space, which residents say they have enjoyed for more than 40 years.

"It's part of the neighbourhood," said one resident. "It's part of the village."

The tenants gathered for hours to protest, noting that the new building would crush the spirit of the people who have been neighbours for more than four decades.

"We look out for each other," said one neighbour. "And that's what's being taken away."

Area retailers also fear that the development, with planned retail space on the street level, would be detrimental to small shop owners.

"We wouldn't want any big corporations to take over because that would affect most of the small businesses around the area," said Mushtaba Nazari, the owner of nearby coffee house Java Jive.

The apartment's developer has promised to find the residents new housing until the construction is completed and has also vowed to pay $450,000 to create new green space.

If approved, it would mark the construction of the city's first new rental building in 15 years.

With a report from CTV's Ashley Rowe.