Posted: Dec 11, 2009, 2:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Originally Posted by rodionx
So would it be safe to assume that Richcraft won't be doing anything with 255 Bay until Galleria II is complete? Sounds like they're overstretched as it is.
Just found some info about this Bay Street project...
Four years later, Bay Street wrecks still await demolition
Friday, 11 December 2009
By Kathryn Parkinson
Published in : Centretown News, News
Yun Wu, Centretown News
These dilapitated Bay Street properties have been waiting for redevelopment since 2005.The onset of winter weather is causing Bay Street residents and business owners to worry that the street’s dilapidated properties are more than just an eyesore – they are a fire hazard.
Redevelopment plans remain at a standstill, but over the past year firefighters visiting the property for training have given locals a glimpse of a safer neighbourhood.
A sign promoting the “Lifestyle Condos Coming Soon with Richcraft Group of Companies” has been stuck in front of five vacant houses from 249 to 259 Bay Street, across from Centennial school, since the properties were slated for redevelopment in 2005.
But the picturesque 15-storey dream condominium is still nowhere near being realized, says Richcraft planner Kevin Yemm.
“There’s so much up in the air. We thought it would be on the go by now but it just doesn’t seem to be the right time,” says Yemm. “This project is an exceptional case for Richcraft.”
Rotting pumpkins from Halloween, innumerable piles of Tim Horton’s coffee cups and beer bottles pepper the vacant properties. The buildings attract spray-painting vandals, who have decorated the walls with letters, symbols, and other types of graffiti.
The only real homeowners are super-sized squirrels that bounce around their lot of hidden treasures. They scurry through the shattered windows and feed off the garbage that is scattered around the building’s shared backyard – a marshy ecosystem of waste.
One of the buildings still advertises the former Bay Guest House Finest Bed & Breakfast, with a deal for $49 per night. But nearby business owners say it’s clear that the only people residing in these buildings are staying for free. The unsightly houses are a convenient hub for homeless people.
“Basically they were shut down and boarded up,” Yemm says. “But the buildings get broken into occasionally so we have to check up on it regularly.”
Yemm says Richcraft sends a maintenance person to the buildings a few times each week to ensure that no one can access them.
But the manager of the Bayscorner convenience store, Suk, who did not disclose his first name, says he worries that with freezing temperatures looming, homeless people will break in and build fires for warmth, putting nearby buildings in jeopardy.
“Sometimes firefighters come to the building because they worry about the fire,” says Suk. “It’s very dangerous.” He says it’s a good idea to have the fire fighters in and out of the properties to make sure they are safe.
Yemm says the police and fire department were called to the property so many times, they asked for permission to conduct fire fighter training there last winter and spring.
“They had thought it was a good spot to do training, so they did several exercises in anticipation that we would be demolishing the buildings,” says Yemm. It is unknown as to whether the firefighters will return this winter.
While neighbouring businesses like Bayscorner remain in the dark as to when the buildings might reach the construction phase, area residents soon enter their fifth year of dealing with the repercussions of the stalled condo construction plan.
“It’s taking too long for the authorities or the professionals to come in and deal with the eyesores that are left in the downtown area,” says Jean Powell, who works in a nearby apartment building. “They are infested with animals and are hoarding places for homeless people.”
“It’s a serious case of neglect and complacency,” says Powell.
Yemm says that Richcraft’s design has been site-plan approved, but the demolition won’t happen until they are issued a building permit by the city.
“The company has decided to not go through with any construction at this point,” he says.