The Hotel Waverly and the Silver Dollar Room are safe from developers, for now
Two of Spadina Avenue’s most distinctive businesses—one of them gritty in a fun way, the other just plain gritty—have been granted a stay of execution, thanks to a community council decision that will delay a developer’s plan to raze the Silver Dollar Room and the Hotel Waverly and replace them with student housing.
Plans for the 22-storey high-rise, which would be developed by The Wynn Group, were rejected by city councillors at a Wednesday meeting of the Toronto and East York community council. Local councillor Adam Vaughan has been opposing similar plans for privately run student-residence towers for the past few years. Toronto’s city planners don’t like this particular one because they say its height and configuration are inappropriate for the location.
If constructed, the building would house about 200 budget-minded U of T-ers in suites with shared kitchens and bathrooms—an arrangement that is believed, at least by the developer, to be more profitable than standard apartment rentals. Councillor Vaughan has called these types of developments “high-rise rooming houses”—which is a serious insult in Toronto, where rental buildings with lots of one-person rooms have long had a reputation for being tools of slumlords and unscrupulous real-estate flippers. The place wouldn’t be just for lodgers, though: Paul Wynn has said that he plans to install a new Silver Dollar Room on the ground floor.
The Wynn Group, which is best known in Toronto as the owner of a large portfolio of ’70s-era rental high-rises, is appealing its zoning application to the notoriously developer-friendly Ontario Municipal Board. There’s a very good possibility that the project will go forward in some form, to the likely chagrin of the property’s home-owning, grownup neighbours to the west. After all, when a beer-pong ball sails out of a 20th-storey window, there’s no telling where it will land.