Ave., will be replaced by 120 new RGI units, 100 affordable rental apartments
(with rents set at no more than 80 per cent of the city’s average market
rent), 180 market-price rental units and 350 condo units.
The joint project between the city, Toronto Community Housing and Context
Development will also feature 16,000 square feet of retail/commercial space.
Developer RioCan is also being brought on board, and the proposed design will
be presented at a community open house in mid-November.
The entire project will cost about $300 million, said Context president Howard
Cohen. Business terms for the project were approved by city council in July,
and the city will likely vote on the planning department approvals next
summer. Occupancy is estimated for around the end of 2023.
Similar to larger ongoing revitalization projects in Regent Park and Lawrence
Heights, this smaller-scale proposal is also aimed at creating a mixed-income
community. Context has experience in the Lawrence Heights revitalization
Tory said the Queen and Coxwell project is “about more than bricks and mortar.
It’s about creating a new community where renters, and TCHC tenants and condo
owners live side by side. That is very much the kind of model of mixed income
communities we are trying to create every opportunity we can get.”
The mayor said creating more affordable and market rental housing options for
Torontonians is a priority for him and city council, and was made a clear
priority by Toronto residents in last year’s municipal election.
He added that the project falls in line with the city’s Open Door Affordable
Housing program. Created under the mayor’s leadership, city council approved
the program in 2016 to fast-track the creation of affordable units.
In a written statement, TCH spokesperson Bruce Malloch said the 100 affordable
rental units in the project are part of the Open Door Program and will be
counted toward the city’s target of 40,000 units in 12 years.
Current tenants will be relocated to other TCH properties and eligible tenants
will have the right to return to the community once the mixed-income community
Initially, the plan was for the site to only have the replaced 120 RGI units
and 500 condo units, Cohen said, but the city wanted more.
Councillor Paula Fletcher, whose ward includes the development site, said the
city and TCH worked with the developer over the past year to “change the
conversation” which meant changing the mix of housing types and financing.
There were difficult negotiations, but eventually both sides came together.
“I’m happy to be on Councillor Fletcher’s side now,” Cohen joked.
“It’s not easy to build affordable rental housing,” Fletcher said. “Most
private companies are focused on building condos in the city or infill
townhouses, but we see the need every day for affordable housing. Renovictions
are forcing people out of their long-standing rental accommodations and their
She added that pressure on rental housing supplies is also being felt with
services like Airbnb taking thousands of rental units out of the market. The
revitalization project will provide stable rental housing for decades,
Cohen said the city could have received cash in the transaction with the
developer, but instead leveraged the land’s value to create more affordable
and market rental units.
TCH chief executive Kevin Marshman said the project means there will be
disruption for tenants who need to be relocated.
A community organization will assist with the relocation effort, and meetings
are planned with residents to discuss both the project and the move.
Dionne Samuels, a tenant representative who has lived in one of the Queen and
Coxwell buildings for eight years, said tenants are excited about the new
affordable housing and the new community that will be built.
“As a community, we need a place to feel safe and sheltered. We’re getting a
new community we can be proud of … and thrive in for the next 20 years,”