OMB approves Mizrahi Wellington West development

Construction is set to begin in 2017 on a controversial 12-storey condo tower on Wellington Street after the Ontario Municipal Board approved the Mizrahi Development building Friday.

“We are committed to collaborating with the city and the local community to design and create a building that contributes to the architectural landscape of the city and to the lives of local residents,” Mizrahi Developments president Sam Mizrahi said in a statement.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper said while the latest work has resulted in additional parkettes and green space at the site, located at 1445 Wellington St. between Island Park Drive and Carleton Avenue, local residents shouldn’t expect major changes to the new design.

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“I still continue to hear every week if not every day from people who much prefer the original 12-storey design,” he said.

Mr. Leiper said he will have a “brief chat” with Mizrahi and the city about the design before shovels go in the ground.

“If we’re going to get a 12-storey building, I think a lot of us would prefer that it not be something that sticks out like a sore thumb,” he said, adding he doubts his conversation will change the situation much.

Friday’s OMB ruling comes almost two years after the Toronto developer’s first proposal for the site, which stalled at planning committee over a zoning bylaw that prohibited any building taller than nine storeys.

After Mizrahi appealed, the OMB ruled in May that the developer would either have to cut the building to nine storeys or come up with a new design featuring distinctive architecture. Planning committee approved the new design in October.

While the developer, city staff, council and the planning committee as a whole are happy with the new design, Mr. Leiper, who sits on the planning committee, is not.

“I don’t think there’s a lot left to talk about in terms of how this building will contribute to the neighbourhood. I disagree with much of that,” he said.

Now attention will turn to day-to-day construction issues. Mr. Leiper said he expects to develop a good relationship with Mizrahi and is resigned to the fact the new design will likely not change.

“If I were a betting man, I would suggest the copper roof would stay,” he said.

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