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Tenants fight proposed demolition of Toronto apartment building to make way for condo tower


A group of tenants are fighting the proposed demolition of their apartment building in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood to make way for a new condo tower.

“I’m a student and this is all I can afford because rent has skyrocketed,” said Shantelle Przybylo, who has lived at the building for four years and pays about $1,300 dollars a month for rent.

The 12-storey, 130-unit apartment building at 145 St. George Street was built in 1959.

Developer, Tenblock has submitted a rezoning application to the city to build a 29-storey condo in its place.

Tenants are raising concerns about being forced into the expensive rental market if the proposal is accepted.

"I've been out of work for two years. I just got a part time job in a store now. I barely have money for rent ,” said Patricia, who has lived at the building for 13 years.

"For a building that has a large proportion of the tenants that are seniors on fixed income, if this proposal goes through, they might be left homeless or switch to subsidize housing," said Tenants Association spokesperson Kary Rizk. "One of our main concern is what's going to happen to the senior population that lives in the building."

The proposal includes 130 rental units which replace the existing units. The developer states they will be offered to existing tenants.

City staff are currently reviewing the application, but councillor Mike Layton says it presents two challenges.

“It's not an area that prescribed necessarily for intensification,” said Layton, who adds that if approved, the development could set a precedent for the rest of the neighbourhood.

"It could set a precedent that moves through an apartment neighbourghood up zoning all of them, displacing all those residents, which could in fact result in a lot more people looking for affordable rental housing in a neighbourghood it doesn't necessarily have.”

The concerns are echoes by the Annex Residents’ Association, which opposes the application.

In its submission to the city, the association states the existing rental building “is a sound structure providing affordable to mid-range housing” and that approving the development “ would establish a dangerous precedent in apartment neighbourghoods across the city."

"We're in a 12-storey occupied building, how is that considered the same as parking lot for development right now," said Gimmi,

At this point, residents have not been notified about when they will have to move out. That is pending approval from city council.

"Our area is known as an area where people can't find affordable housing and that's a real concern," said Rizk.

Layton. He notes that despite what decision council makes, the final decision could rest with Ontario’s Land Tribunal.

"Where we do have more control is establishing a fair package so that hardship is reduced for the tenant if the city supports it," said Layton. "We have a rental replacement policy that also involves compensation for tenants for the hardships for the purpose of relocating for redevelopment as well as provisions or those tenants to comeback into the building for prescribed rates that are close to what they were paying."

Rizk argues the proposal could leave some seniors in a dire position,

"Some of the seniors that have be living in the building for 20 to 30 years, a lot of them have disabilities its just not going to assist them in terms of the compensation the city is offering."

There is no timeline for when a decision is expected and construction could begin. Top Stories

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