878-898 West Broadway
A few months ago, when I attended the pre-application open house for this proposal to increase the amount of hotel space at Broadway and Laurel, I noticed that, while many supported the beautiful design, their biggest complaint was that it was replacing one of the last live music venues in the area. While I shared their feelings about the look of the building, my biggest concern was that too much parking was being provided for a location one block from a future Millennium Line Station, which will neighbour a station that connects to the Canada Line, and ultimately the airport.
Thankfully, the applicants have responded to many of the responses, as the parking has now been reduced to the minimum level required and they’re even considering providing live music space in one of the restaurants on the second level. Other than those changes, the proposal is pretty similar to the one proposed at the previous event, though it now has a slightly larger floor space ratio.
However, the overall design of this simply beautiful building remains fairly similar. There will still be an ample rooftop courtyard, short and long term hotel spaces, skylights to a ballroom, and a very attractive design. It should even accomplish the rare feat of pleasing both cyclists and drivers, as it relocates the Mobi Bikestation from its location on the road to a larger sidewalk space.
Still, there is one major change the applicant is considering, and that’s whether to build the proposal all at once instead of in two stages. This is in response to concerns at the previous event about increased impacts from traffic and noise if this proposal is built alongside the Millennium Line Expansion. However, we don’t share that concern as, unlike the Canada Line, this expansion will be accomplished through the use of a tunnel boring machine. This means the only disruption to the surface level will be the construction of a station house at the Southeast corner of Oak and Broadway.
Though the event was held for only 2 hours, I can’t help but wonder if it was even necessary at all. While roughly 30 people attended, my impression was that the reception was overwhelmingly positive. As one person commented, buildings like this simply belong in this area. I even spoke with a representative of the owners of the Willow Professional Building, who also own the location of the Banana Leaf restaurant. Their feeling was that the eastern tower of this proposal should be further setback to allow them an opportunity to better redevelop their properties.
Unfortunately, Hannah wasn’t able to attended the event, so I can only provide my own perspective. While it appeared there was one person upset with the proposal, I was busy writing my comment card, and couldn’t overhear. Ultimately, we’re just normal people, and can’t be everywhere at once.
That said, you don’t have to attend the event to have your voice heard. So, whether you find the building as attractive as we do, want it to be done in one phase or two, or even just have a desire to put the band back together and keep the live music, make sure to make your thoughts known here. After all, Hannah already has.
Project Stats (with comparisons to pre-application levels)
The proposal consists of the construction of two high-rise hotel buildings (13 and 11 storey, respectively) including a mixed-use podium, to be comprised of:
commercial use at grade;
438 hotel units (258 short-term and 180 long-term stay);
a proposed floor space ratio (FSR) of 8.38; (increased from 8.29)
a building height of 43 m (142 ft.); and
485 underground car parking spaces, (decreased from 554)
35 bicycle spaces, (increased from 30)
and on-site loading.
This application is being considered under the Metro Core Jobs and Economy Land Use Plan.