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Construction moving forward on major Spadina-Sussex residential project

Progress being made on innovative residential complex
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Spadina-Sussex residential project. YIDA CHEN/THE VARSITY
Spadina-Sussex residential project. YIDA CHEN/THE VARSITY

Construction for a 23-storey residential complex on the intersection of Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue, which was started in December 2021, is expected to be completed in fall 2024. Both the real estate agency working with the university on the project and the university itself have expressed excitement about the completion of the new student residence. 

Features of the housing complex

The residence will be composed of 60 per cent dorm rooms with semi-private washrooms that will be shared between neighbours, and 40 per cent four-bedroom suites. Of the dorm rooms, 23 rooms and adjoining washrooms will be designed for accessibility, and so will 84 suite-style bedrooms and washrooms.

Amenities available to resident students and faculty will include religious spaces, a fitness room, a dining hall, and the Robert Street playing field, which is located nearby.

Site planning and approval process

The Daniels Corporation, the real estate developer partnering with U of T on the project, began laying out the schematic designs for the project back in 2013. Progress slowed in 2017, however, after the Toronto City Council declared the Ten Editions bookstore, which is located on the same street, a heritage site. After negotiations between the university and the City Council, both sides eventually agreed to reduce the original residence size and incorporate the bookstore into it. However, the bookstore eventually shut down. 

The Planning and Budget Committee of U of T’s Governing Council voted to recommend project approval on September 17, 2019, which came a month later on October 24. The committee also voted to recommend funding in part through the Daniels Corporation. Construction began in December 2021.

Construction motivations

Student unions have acknowledged the lack of affordable housing in Toronto, which students say is a growing issue. Governing Council Chair Brian Lawson said that construction was initiated because of the vibrancy of the project, calling it “beautiful” and “architecturally noteworthy.”

U of T President Meric Gertler said that the project aims to “provide future students with a beautiful, innovative and sustainable home on campus.”