At eieihome.com, our goal is to inform our readers of all things pertaining to home renovations. This time, however, we want to share with you some news stemming from the condo development industry in Toronto. The problem: politics get in the way and it’s hard to decipher who’s right and who’s wrong. Here’s some food for thought.
Most people would agree that part of what makes a city so special are its buildings and developments. Consider any major metropolitan area and you will see that its vibrancy and energy comes in no small part from the city’s ability to preserve its historical landmarks, while tracing a greener, more sustainable future.
Toronto has had its share of struggles with preserving the old, while embracing new, more modern constructions. With that said, there are developers who are actively leading the city in finding an appropriate balance between the old and the new. These are the developers who deserve the support of the community. They are the ones who are intent on defending Toronto’s historical roots, while mapping a greener, more vibrant future for the city.
What’s this development about?
If you haven’t heard of Louie Santaguida or some of the development projects he and his company, Stanton Renaissance, are spearheading, then now is the time to get to know him. Raised in Toronto, a graduate of Thistletown Collegiate and Ryerson University, Louie has a vested interest in leading the city to an even better, brighter future.
As a developer, he is intent on achieving two goals:
- Transforming spoiled city land, land that people have given up on, into viable and buildable properties.
- Bring the latest in sustainable technology to all their new constructions.
The Junction is a Booming Neighbourhood
Since founding Stanton Renaissance, Louie has led the company in a number of real estate development efforts, not only in Toronto, but also in the GTA and in southern Ontario.
The JunXion Condominiums, located in the Keele and St. Clair Junction area, is one such project. Right now this property is nothing more than a vacant and under-utilized plot of land. To the frustration of nearby residents, the proposed development site has been that way for almost twenty years. The property creates no new jobs for the surrounding community, not to mention sullies the appeal of buildings that surround it.
The piece of property was in short a perfect candidate for revitalization, which is why Louie Santaguida purchased it in 2004.
In an ambitious redevelopment effort, and with an eye towards sustainability, Louie and his team plan to create a modern urban village at 6 Lloyd, one with a mixed-use community that will include residential developments, a space for the arts, a farmer’s market, restaurants, schools, retail and office opportunities, and much more. All this where the vacate plot of land now sits.
Besides improving the look of the neighborhood and bringing energy to the community, the redevelopment at 6 Lloyd will create upwards of 800 jobs. Not only that, the redevelopment will increase the tax base for the land from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars on an annual basis.
In line with Louie’s focus on sustainability and green construction, the JunXion Condos and the rest of the development at 6 Lloyd will include sustainable heating, cooling and energy technologies, while utilizing public transit to reduce greenhouse emissions.
So, what’s the problem?
As wonderful as this redevelopment sounds, unfortunately the JunXion Condos and Louie Santaguida have been the recent target of negative, inaccurate press. Several days ago, the CBC published an article that contained false and misleading information about both the JunXion Condos project and Louie Santaguida himself.
A story published by the CBC indicated the following:
- The developers responsible for the new construction made a contribution to a Toronto city councillor as a way to influence the redevelopment.
The JunXion Condos enjoys strong community backing. The project even has a community organization, Friends of the Junction, specifically purposed to lend support to the development.
In bringing their development proposals before the Community Council and other decision-making bodies, Louie Santaguida and Stanton Renaissance have always and continually worked through the correct and required channels. As point of fact, on February 28th this year, the Etobicoke City Council approved the JunXion Condos project, thus allowing the project to be considered before the Toronto City Council.
It was also agreed that issues with the proposed development at 6 Lloyd would be deferred until May this year to give Stanton Renaissance the needed time to address concerns made by the city planners.
In a particular attack against Louie Santaguida himself, the CBC insinuated that Louie made a contribution to one of the councillors, Councillor Mammoliti, as a way to influence the redevelopment through the necessary regulatory channels. This is an attack that Louie Santaguida has firmly and continues to deny. At this point it should be noted that there have been no formal allegations of wrongdoing by the city and its oversight bodies.
All too often development efforts, efforts that are good for the city and will dramatically improve and revitalize city communities, become mired in bureaucracy. Worse yet, redevelopment efforts can fall victim to bad city politics, politics that sometimes do not have the good of the community in mind. For the long-term benefit of the community in and around 6 Lloyd, it’s important that the property is redeveloped and Stanton Renaissance’s efforts don’t fall victim to these same kind of bad politics.
About the Author: A Toronto native, Steven Wines has worked as a freelance journalist for more than ten years. Steven covers a wide array of Toronto-based topics and is particularly interested in the intersection of historical landmark preservation and urban development. Steven is a graduate of York University and has written on topics that include real estate, technology and city politics.