Loblaws planning to do something with that cool-looking building at Lake Shore and Bathurst
Near the foot of Bathurst Street, just a hop away from the Porter ferry docks, lies the old Loblaw’s warehouse, which was built in 1928 and has been abandoned for a decade. Recent activity around the building, however, makes it look like the grocer is preparing to reincarnate the site. Loblaws and the city have been in an argument over the fate of the building for years, with Loblaws wanting to demolish it and the city predictably wanting part of the heritage building preserved “in perpetuity.” Despite the erection of construction hoarding around the building, that argument doesn’t seem to have been resolved yet.
According to the Toronto Star:
“They haven’t contacted us for any permits. We just don’t know what they’re doing.” says city planner Jamaica Hewston. “We don’t know anything about (the hoarding).”
In December, the company updated its original 2004 rezoning application, but like the first proposal, the new plan calls for a partial demolition.
Loblaw wants to take down the entire warehouse, which was designated as a heritage property by the city in 2001, before restoring the west and south facades, one of the key sticking points for city approval.
The western part of the area doesn’t have a big-box grocery store for the growing condo population, so this might be all for the good. (The small convenience store–grocer just south of Lake Shore isn’t cutting it.) Part of the original bargain with the city was that Loblaws would be allowed to develop some vacant land into condos if the company preserved the original warehouse—because it wouldn’t be Toronto if a large developer didn’t want to put a condo on every dry piece of land.
According to the National Post, the signs on the outside of the site now indicate an intent to “preserve the heritage façades and permit the development of retail floor space,” so maybe they’ll work out a deal with the city quickly. Not that we hate heritage sites (unlike some people), but surely the property can offer more than a rotting, abandoned warehouse.