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June 5, 1998
Yonge Dundas Square Approved by OMB
  
In a written decision delivered today by D.L. Santo (Chair) and J.R. Boxma
(Member), the Joint Board of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Board of
Inquiry dismissed all appeals and approved Official Plan, Zoning By-law and
Community Improvement Plan amendments to facilitate the Yonge Dundas
Redevelopment Project on the east side of Yonge Street, north and south of
Dundas Street.

The project involves the development of an "urban entertainment centre" with
retail stores, restaurants and up to 30 cinema screens and a new public square
with parking below grade. The project includes innovative public-private
co-operation with Ryerson utilizing some of the cinemas during the morning
hours for lecture hall space. The project seeks to restore the vibrancy and
vitality of Yonge Street and use the activity at the intersection as the
catalyst to promote further improvement in the Yonge and Dundas area.

Mayor Mel Lastman said: "This is great news for our great City. The approval of
this $100-million Yonge Dundas Square means a revitalization of downtown Yonge
Street and a project that will be bigger and better than Times Square. Yonge
Dundas Square will quickly become a new downtown destination and a great
entertainment centre for our City."

Upon reading the decision, Downtown Councillor Kyle Rae, who championed the
project, said: "The Board's endorsement of the City's proposal for Yonge and
Dundas is an important recognition of our public process, our responsible
approach to urban renewal, the achievement of benefits for Ryerson Polytechnic
University and the City's ability to respond to community needs."

The hearing encompassed 38 hearing days and two days of final legal argument.
The Board heard from 48 witnesses, accepted 296 exhibits and presided over a
public evening session on March 25, 1998 attended by some 300 people at which
sworn or affirmed evidence was given by 28 people.

The Board found that the project is consistent with the advancement of this
area of Yonge Street since 1976 as a prominent pedestrian-oriented retail
strip. The Board found that the proposals:

"represent good planning and are in the public interest as they will allow the
development of the public square, parking facility and UEC at Yonge and Dundas.
The Board finds that the development of the project will act as a catalyst in
improving the economic and social conditions of the ... area in specific but of
all of Toronto in general. Although the Board is not able to say categorically
that the media tower at the Atrium, the announcement of the Livent development
at Shuter and the commencement of the extensive renovations of the Eaton
Centre, which will see the "popping out" of retail stores and restaurants onto
the west sidewalk on Yonge, are directly related to the December 10th, 1996
announcement of the subject project, the Board can find that the timing of all
of these projects, including the subject's, is critical to the economic well
being of Toronto."
The Board also found that the expropriation of lands required for the project
is in the public interest to achieve the project that the Board has approved.
The Board, acting as Inquiry Officers into the taking of the lands, reports to
the City of Toronto Council for a final decision on the expropriation and has
advised that "the application for approval has merit and should proceed".

The Board's decision to approve the project is conditional on City Council's
endorsing the commitment to proceed with the project including funding and land
expropriation. The Board also requires final agreements between the City and
PenEquity Management Corporation (the developer chosen for the northeast corner
of Yonge and Dundas), a final lease between AMC Theatres and PenEquity and a
number of associated planning conditions related to the proper and orderly
development of the project.


Media Contact
Gary Wright, Project Manager
Urban Planning and Development Services
City of Toronto
392-1791

 

 

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