Trish Bongard Godfrey

St. Clair West Renewal

03 March 2012
Trish Bongard Godfrey

The renewal of the St. Clair West area (if the Mayor would please sit down and be quiet) is inevitable. Folks who own property north and south of St. Clair, between Yonge Street and Oakwood Avenue, have seen a lot of changes over the past 20 years with immigration and population movement. But arguably transit has been one of the biggest game changers. About 30 years ago, the TTC Subway was extended up along the west line, and it crosses St. Clair at Bathurst Street. But apparently it took until the new street car line for developers to really see the potential along St. Clair. There are now three condo tower developments going up at the corner of St. Clair and Bathurst: the two towers of the 530 Condo project on the northwest corner; the Rise Condo project on the southeast Corner; and further along, the 9-story Rushton Condo. Other property has been bought along there and is reported to be intended for redevelopment. But you need not go that far west to see the changes. The Avenue at Avenue Road caused all drivers grief for a few years. The Imperial Oil Building is being converted to condos (I blogged about that project in 2010). There is a permit application for two other towers on either side of the Imperial.

The Artscape Wychwood Barns redevelopment just south of St. Clair, on a block between Wychwood and Christie, like Evergreen Brickworks, was courageous and visionary. Both took embarrassing eye-sores and transformed them, bringing modern, relevant programming, farmers markets, artistic and community services, and eco-conscious tenants to these historic spaces. These were community supported initiatives and have enhanced the local area, and I dare say, real estate values.

Last week, Globe and Mail restaurant critic Joanne Kates wrote about Catch, a new restaurant opposite The Rushton, at Rushton and St. Clair. After she harangued about the service (which was not my experience) and praised the food, Ms. Kates declared that St. Clair West was the new Ossington. So Rob, come on up to visit St. Clair West (there is a KFC near Winona!)