After much disinformation about a possible sub-quality lodge last fall and the resulting backlash against the project to city hall, we finally got to meet the enthusiastic, personable and professional couple behind the 83-85 Emerald Street South project on February 23 and 27th .

David Joy and his wife, Michelle, of Realty Holdings Group shared their plans:

  • Plan to keep the façade of the original street-facing duplex while creating 70 microunits renting at 80% of market value.
  • All units will be furnished, and include a kitchen and bathroom.
  • Utilities are included in the rent.
  • The first-floor units will be fully accessible with ramps located at the east and west entrances.
  • They hope to have lockers on that floor and in the basement.
  • Smoking won’t be permitted on the premises.
  • A superintendent will be residing in the facility, and security cameras will be in place for the safety of tenants.
  • The plan is for the project to be environmentally friendly with induction heating, geothermal, and possibly solar panels to power shared bikes … but there are trade-offs…so, the latter is not guaranteed.
  • The target market is people at the beginning of their working life or grad students. Applicants will be screened, and references are required.

They have a few similar projects in Toronto where the average stay is just over two years …although one tenant has lived there for 21 years!  Though initially told that the zoning change would be a simple one, the process has now been re-categorized to a complex request.  The delay has been expensive due to safe-guarding the property and dealing with the security issues of a vacant property.  The owners are currently working with their third Planning Department official, but are optimistic that the project will soon pick up speed.  We hope so too!

Attendees at both of the information meetings were satisfied with the community consultation about the makeover of the discredited Emerald Lodge and engaged in an informative question and answer session.

I support the rezoning of that property to residential, and welcome them and the youthful energy they will bring into our neighbourhood.