Danielle Milley December 19, 2009 - 8:30AM
Some positive changes have been taking place on the east end of
Tae Ryuck, a land use planner working for Esso, said the facade, which has heritage status, will be retained and the rear of the theatre has been partially demolished to make way for the new uses.
Ryuck was available to answer residents questions about the project at a community open house hosted by Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher on Dec. 9.
"It's an enhancement to what's been there for the past 10 to 15 years," Ryuck said.
The theatre played host to late night showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and then sat vacant for five or six years before Esso bought the property. The facade, including the marquee sign and the ticket box office, is being retained and restored in the new structure, which is scheduled to be completed in April or May.
Ryuck believes the project is part of a new investment for the area.
"It's a good catalyst for this stretch of Danforth because it's been derelict for a long period of time," he said.
"It's been a prickly spot for a long time," she said of the theatre.
There were community consultation meetings held before the final design was selected for the site.
Some residents might not be excited about a gas station and convenience store taking shape on the site, but at least it won't look like a typical gas station and convenience store.
"The compromise was it won't be a theatre, but they'll restore the facade," Fletcher said.
Resident Rosanna Manarin, who attended the open house, is pleased to see change taking shape.
"I'm really happy to see some new development," she said. "We have some open space that is a real eyesore."
She is happy to see new businesses and residents popping up because it gives people the opportunity to shop locally.
Another new sight coming to the area is Reeves Florist and Nursery. The 6,000-square foot greenhouse structure will go up at Danforth and Donlands avenue.
"It will be a glass treasure right there on the Danforth," said Bob Reeves. The business was started by his family in 1923.
The business has a large store in Woodbridge and noticed people were traveling from the Beach and other neighbourhoods in Toronto to purchase gardening supplies. Instead of having their customers travel to the northern suburbs, Reeves thought they should come to them.
"We've done our research. We believe the east end is underserviced for this kind of thing," he said.
A temporary structure is going to be erected so the location can open in mid-April and then it will come down in October to allow for construction of the permanent building, which should open in the spring of 2011.
Fletcher said it's the potential of the area that's attracting the investment, and as more people discover the eastern Danforth, even more will come.
"We're still figuring out how to transition the rest of the street," she said.
The Allen's Theatre site on Danforth Avenue is being redeveloped as a gas station and Tim Horton's outlet. The building's facade will be preserved. Staff photo/DAN PEARCE