By Madison Wong
A condominium 85 stories tall is slated to replace businesses around Yonge and Gerrard streets, steps away from Ryerson University’s campus.
Businesses at Yonge and Gerrard streets were recently sent eviction notices and are preparing to vacate their storefronts by the end of October.
Cellair Tech, Doner Kebab House, Made in China and the Evergreen Yonge Street Mission are among the businesses closing.
Jigar Patel, an employee at Cellair Tech, said the company has already found a new location to move into near Pape and Danforth avenues. But even though Patel said they have already been receiving orders from their new store location, Cellair Tech is losing out on downtown customers by moving east.
“This area in particular is a tourist area, so we are losing a lot of customers. But it happens. We have to move. So we have to lose something,” he said.
Like Cellair Tech, Evergreen Yonge Street Mission is relocating to another building, according to Mona Lee-Tam, director of development, marketing and communications at the mission.
“Our original plan was to move in earlier but due to construction delays, it shifted our timeline. The developer has been generous in allowing us to stay in our current location in the meantime without any disruption to the programs we provide to our youth,” Lee-Tam said in an email statement.
This development may come across as a shock to some, but David Amborski, the director for the Centre of Urban Research and Land Development at Ryerson, said he isn’t surprised.
Although the closing of the businesses can be seen as a function of redevelopment, many businesses just cannot afford the increase in property taxes, Amborski said.
The fact that the development was approved means someone has put up money for it and there’s some demand, he said, noting the location is near attractions on Yonge Street which appeal to buyers.
The Yonge Street Living (YSL) Residences building is expected to house mixed-use units, meaning the building will share commercial as well as residential spaces.
William Pol, a geographic information system and urban planning professor at Fanshawe College, said replacing these cheaper units with more expensive and high-end ones can make it harder for people to move into these areas and keep up with costly rent.
“It’s putting some of the lower-income people further away from the heart of downtown and further away from their jobs as they’re further from the core area,” said Pol.
High-rise condos also have negative impacts on residents and visitors alike since there’s a loss of nature and less interaction between small businesses and pedestrians, he added.
Issues may also arise with how the condo designs their parking. Amborski said getting people in and out of the building at a busy intersection like Yonge and Gerrard streets could be a problem.
Along with potential parking trouble, Diana Ghidanac, a second-year nutrition and food student, said she fears the impact this development will have on public transportation.
Not only will the area around Yonge and Gerrard streets become busier, she said, but “the TTC will probably become even more hectic.”
YSL said it will start accepting residents in the fall of 2023.