Kennedy Gardens — 1296 Kennedy Road

1296 Kennedy Road is an approximately 1-acre lot, on the West side of Kennedy, and South of Ellesmere. It falls within the Kennedy Road BIA, and the Dorset Park Community. Previously a commercial-zoned car wash site, this property is being redeveloped into a 4-storey mixed-use building, with 9 street-facing commercial units, and 69 dwelling units (13 above and 56 stacked townhouses behind). The name of this development is Kennedy Gardens — Urban Towns.

Kennedy Gardens is a project by Time Development Group (TDG), a real estate developer and builder with a principal target market of Chinese Canadians. TDG is also responsible for Danforth Square and Birchmount Gardens. In September 2016, the company was found guilty of trademark infringement for using a name confusingly similar to their competitor Times Development Inc., so we can expect a forthcoming re-brand.

During the time in which this development put forth its Zoning Amendment Application (January 2016), the City was in the midst of updating its guidelines for Townhouse and Low-Rise Apartment Design. Principals central to these guidelines include “protecting streetscapes and seamlessly integrating new development with existing housing patterns.”

In City Planning terminology, Kennedy Gardens might be regarded as an Infill Townhouse project, which is described as “typically low-scale, incremental developments that help to revitalize existing communities by replacing aging and/or dilapidated buildings and empty lots and by adding to the variety of housing types and tenure in the neighborhood.”

Conceiving of Kennedy Gardens as an Infill Townhouse project is relatively straightforward. 1296 Kennedy Road is currently vacant; the new development would add a new strip of storefronts to the BIA, as well as new efficiently-sized housing. This being said, we might further probe into the meanings of “revitalize” and “aging and/or dilapidated buildings and empty lots.”

By whose standards does this section of Kennedy Road require revitalization, or for whom are we revitalizing? There is an air of “colonial savior” to this term. And what parameters have we drawn around the statuses of aging and dilapidation? In the particular case of Kennedy, it seems feasible that we may begin with revitalizing vacant lots, but progress to tearing down functional strip malls.