Plan to transform a neighbourhood

by Justin da Rosa on 26 Jun 2017
Continued revitalization aims make this already hot neighbourhood even more desirable.

“Downtown Yonge is a vitally important neighbourhood – it’s a renowned tourism and entertainment destination, a major economic driver, and increasingly a place where people live,” Mark Garner, executive director of the Downtown Yonge BIA, said. “With Living Yonge, we are committing ourselves, and challenging the rest of the community, to think and act in a way that will keep this neighbourhood strong and vibrant.”

The Business Improvement Area unveiled its Living Yonge plan, a five-year vision for the neighbourhood.

The vision includes plans to make the area clean, safe and welcome, while also creating a liveable and vibrant neighbourhood that will be attractive to buyers and investors.

“We see Living Yonge as a roadmap to a world-leading downtown neighbourhood. It’s also a path toward urban recovery – to ensure good planning and overcome bad decisions in the past,” Garner said.

The Living Yonge plan follows a revitalization effort being put forth by investors in one of Yonge Street’s main corridor – the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood.

“For the last 30 years it’s kind of gone sideways whereas surrounding neighbourhoods have improved. Our goal is to bring it back to some form of former glory,” Lucas Manuel, managing director of Slate Advisors, told REP sister publication Canadian Real Estate Wealth, in late 2016. “To do that first we bought everything there, which helps. We own all four corners and eight office buildings in total. Effectively that allows us … to make changes fast and not rely on our neighbours to come along for the ride.”

Slate, itself, currently has an occupancy rate of 95% within its buildings, and those that aren’t currently occupied are being kept vacant to allow for flexibility as the vision evolves, according to Manuel.

That vision is one that will transform the area into a go-to neighbourhood as opposed to a strict thoroughfare.

“They’re dying to have a good restaurant that they can go to, so that’s a huge focus of ours. On one of the corners, the northwest corner, we’re looking to put a big restaurant. Other locations as well,” Manuel said. “One doesn’t do it but once you get critical mass and give people a choice people will start coming back to Yonge and St. Clair.”

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