Committee refuses to scrap developer's transit contribution for Family Circle high-rise

A developer that’s building a massive high rise development in the SoHo community will have to give the city a $200,000 contribution for bus rapid transit initiatives, and add 10 units of affordable housing, among other bonusing provisions.

During Tuesday evening’s planning and environment committee meeting, a JAM Properties representative said they were willing to oblige Ward 4 Coun. Jesse Helmer’s request last month to add affordable housing units to their 18-storey development at the current Family Circle Restaurant site.

But they were hoping to get some leeway on other bonusing, in return.

“We believe that including BRT and affordable housing as part of the bonusing may be somewhat excessive when you consider other bonusing projects that have been approved in the city,” said JAM Properties planning consultant, Harry Froussios.

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Froussios asked the committee to scrap the $200,000 BRT contribution. The idea didn’t get any traction from the committee, which voted to endorse the staff recommendation that outlined the transit money, underground parking, enhanced landscaping, and 10 units of affordable housing at 95 per cent of the market rate.

A developer is able to exceed height and density limitations set out by the city by making bonusing contributions, and in the case of the development at 147-149 Wellington St. and 253-257 Grey St., the 12-storey limit will be exceeded with an extra six floors.

“I’m really happy about this,” said Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy. “Especially because I know that the units that are coming online, the units that are being built in the city, are the higher end, more luxury end of the market. That’s not where we have the problem of availability.”

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The planning and environment committee is starting to request affordable housing as a bonusing contribution in order to meet a target set out by the London Plan, which says 25 per cent of new housing in London should be affordable.

The 18-storey residential high-rise will have 246 units, two levels of underground parking with 162 parking spots and another 38 ground level spots.

The proposal will go before full council next week.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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