The Starbucks on the southeast corner of College Street and Beverly Street has closed its doors permanently. In January 2020, a 29-storey condo tower will replace the five-storey, mixed-use building that housed the coffee shop.
The condo will consist of 26 floors sitting atop a three- to five-storey space designated for retail and office. It will provide 309 residential units at the southern end of UTSG.
The current proposal for the project was sent to the Ontario Municipal Board in March 2016, and the tower will be built by Page and Steele of IBI the Group. The developer is Parallax Investment Corporation.
“[The District Manager] confirmed that everyone was offered a new position,” said Tim Gallant, Senior Manager of External Communications at Starbucks Canada. “So nobody was left unemployed as a result of this closure.”
Gallant added that Starbucks has no plans to open a store in the new tower or in the same vicinity as the old one. Students expressed their disappointment about the store’s closure.
“I’m going to miss it because it’s in a perfect location,” said third-year student Alex Pavel. “I didn’t know it was closing.”
Pavel was not the only person surprised; many students did not know about the closure, although some flyers were handed out by employees.
Thalia Charney, a neighbourhood resident who lives right across from the building, is mainly concerned about the noise generated by the construction. “It could take a long time to build this, so it’ll make the street noisy,” she said. She also believes pollution may be a potential problem.
“It doesn’t fit the neighbourhood,” said Gale Fraser, another resident of the area. She could not see any benefits to the project and is concerned about noise and garbage disposal issues. She also fears that the tower would block sunlight from its surrounding buildings.
Fraser is worried about traffic as well. “There’s supposed to be limited vehicles,” she said. “But it’s never what they say it’s going to be.”
She added that the new building would increase the number of students in the neighbourhood.
“It’s a transient population,” said Fraser. “We want people who are going to stay and be a part of the community.” She believes that, because students live in the neighbourhood only during their time at U of T, there is no real investment in the community.
She raised concerns about vandalism as well, citing a park that was “destroyed a year and a half ago.”
According to the City of Toronto staff report, the project is proposing 58 underground parking spots located underground and an entrance via College. This would not be sufficient to meet the demand created by a project of this size.
The report also specified that no information had been provided regarding the additional loading space required for solid waste management vehicles.