Application to demolish Maclean House

Owner wants to tear down the heritage home near Casa Loma
Plan to replace 100-yr-old building with townhomes, apartments
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 9.)

Maclean House before the owner removed aspects of it in Dec 2009. Image courtesy of City of Toronto.

The owner of 7 Austin Ter. has applied to demolish the designated heritage property known as the Maclean House. The plan is to build a six unit rental housing building plus eight town homes on the site.
City planning and heritage staff has advised council to refuse the demolition permit.
Currently there’s a 10 unit, one and a half storey residential building on site.
Publisher John Bayne Maclean lived in the home from 1910 until his death in 1950. John M. Lyle, who also constructed the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station, built the home.
City heritage staff wrote in its report to council that, “there is no justification for the demolition of the structure at 7 Austin Terrace.”
A separate report from planning staff on the same demolition issue from a different perspective: rental housing and residential development.
The current building contains 10 units: one owner unit plus nine rentals.
The application to demolish the entire building would mean a loss of nine rentals: two of which are considered affordable, three are mid-range and four are priced on the high end.

City staff aren’t satisfied with the application to replace only six rental units rather than the full nine as it will mean a loss of rental housing. There have been nine rental units at this site dating back to 1952. On top of that is the question of whether the new residential application is in keeping with the surrounding neighbourhood.
“The current proposal to demolish the building and redevelop the site is not in keeping with the intent of the official plan and does not represent good planning,” states the staff report.
While the site is now designated as heritage, various aspects of the home were changed by the owner in December 2009.
At that time, council had announced its intention to designate the property and then the owner ripped out and boarded up the windows, tore down the front door, removed the soffits under the roof and took down the wrought iron fence. The province stepped in with a 60 day stop work order in January 2010.
The owner originally appealed the heritage designation but removed the objection by the end of last year. At this week’s meeting, city council officially designated the property.
Toronto East York Community Council will discuss the demolition permits at its Feb. 16 meeting where it is expected to vote on the building’s future.


One response to “Application to demolish Maclean House

  1. Three separate demo permits went to community council Feb. 16 for the same heritage building. The demo of the property as a rental (9 units) was denied.
    The demo application for it as a heritage site was denied. The demo of the same building as a residential property is more complicated as the city can’t outright refuse it, but it can place conditions before issuing it that the owner also get permission under the Ont Heritage Act. In other words, in around about way community council said no to all three demo applications at this site. City council will also have a say. A more detailed explanation to this will come in an article form, but for now it’s safe to say the owner doesn’t have city approval to tear down the 1910-built home.

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