The space that was formerly occupied by the legendary Honest Ed’s may be more than just condos. The developer Westbank says that it will be so much more than that: a public market surrounded by 40 buildings. See? Way different.
A public meeting held Tuesday night in the Annex saw the Vancouver-based owner of the Honest Ed’s site reveal the first design concept for the area that will soon be called the “Mirvish Village Public Market.”
The proposed design draws its inspiration from New York’s Flatiron District, and features a 29-storey tower right on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst, surrounded by other buildings that will be much lower (between five and ten floors).
Westbank says, though, that they aren’t planning to build any condos. There will be about 1,000 residential units, but they will all be available only for rent and over half will have two or more bedrooms.
The mini-village may also feature a daycare, bicycle valet parking (what?!?), auto share facilities, and electric car charging stations. Basically, the site wants to become the model for sustainable living in the future.
The potential changes on Markham Street will be the most drastic, though. It could be closed to vehicles and transformed into a covered, outdoor event space lined with small retail shops. The plan would see fourteen of the existing Mirvish Village homes survive the overhaul.
The lead architect on the project, Gregory Henriquez, says Westbank will be asking artists to help generate ideas to decorate the street, and Hot Docs is among the group who have expressed an interest in producing outdoor events.
The present-day Honest Ed Alley will also become a laneway occupied by small stores curated by the Centre for Social Innovation and 57 live/work artist studios.
Through all this, though, the fate of the famous Honest Ed’s sign is uncertain. It is coming down, after being switched on way back in 1983, but it is rapidly deteriorating. It may or may not find a home in the fancy new village.
Henriquez also says that he and Westbank hope the development won’t look like it came together all at once. They hope to honour the eclectic heritage of Honest Ed’s appearance, each building will have drastically different exteriors so that it looks like the site evolved organically.
All of this sounds great, but Westbank hasn’t yet submitted all of this information to the city. The next few months will see the developer gather public feedback and make minor tweaks to finalize the design. Read: This project will take a loooooooong time.