Contributed by PStreet News – The general rule of thumb; development starts high and then gets higher. Then a squabble with city planners, the community, and the OLT to settle on some building far greater than what has initially been zoned. This is usually the game, but it does not seem to be the game played by Stafford Homes, the builder of The Georgian on Gerrard St. East. By all accounts, The Georgian by Stafford Homes has been designed as a luxury, boutique 7-storey mid-rise condo versus a towering high-rise. Part of their goal was to ensure that it comfortably nestles within the community versus standing out like a sore thumb and disrupting the skyline and neighbouring views. In addition, the activation of the laneway and the improvement to the south side of Gerrard will add a great deal of vibrancy to a bleak portion of the street that, for the most part, was a big beer store parking lot.
Direct involvement, community engagement and listening seem to have been part of the plan as well. It seems the developer has been very open to working with the Cabbagetown South Residents Association, Heritage, and the Councillor’s office to accommodate the neighbourhood’s concerns. For example, all building angles have been designed to have visual impact, including the often forgotten building rear and sides facing the laneway. Not to mention, frosted balcony glass to avoid the look of clutter, more heritage style brick and masonry instead of poured concrete and adjusting the storefront awnings to fit in with the neighbourhood’s boutique storefronts.
“Overall, it was a productive meeting. Stafford has been very receptive to community feedback and made a number of modifications to the design based on community feedback,” said Rick Mathews, community representative for Cabbagetown South Residents Association.
It is a big city and development will happen. It has been nice to see the commitment of a developer to design and build something more sensible that will bring new life to the area. By listening to the community and addressing their concerns, Stafford Homes has improved the property for the residents who live there as well as everybody else in the community.