It’s been over a decade since a bold giraffe-print pattern was painted onto a building at the northwest corner of Bloor and Dundas, advertising what would turn out to be an ill-fated project known as Giraffe Condos.
Giraffe Condos was launched in 2007 and was supposed to be completed in 2012, but a decade later, this quirky painted pattern still remains, as neither Giraffe nor any of the many subsequent proposals planned for this site have panned out, though that could all soon change as yet another design has been tabled for the storied site at 1540 Bloor St W.
What was first envisioned as a 27-storey condo tower was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (a predecessor of the current Ontario Land Tribunal) where it failed to land an approval, forcing developers back to the drawing board.
The Giraffe saga was restarted in 2018 when Timbertrin (a partnership between developers Trinity and Timbercreek) purchased the parcel of land for $35 million, and it didn’t take too long for a new plan to appear for the former Giraffe site.
With huge changes in the area since a project was first proposed for the site, the developer didn’t change too much in terms of height with their 2019 proposal, calling a 25-storey tower designed by architects IBI Group, this time populated largely by rental units instead of condos.
The following year, the project was once again appealed over the city’s head after planners failed to make a decision on the application in the required timeframe, leading to a revised submission in 2021.
That plan brought the tower height back up to 27 storeys, and eventually resulted in a late 2021 settlement between the developer and city that approved the tower in principle.
A new application with what feels like the 200th design for this site was tabled in this year, the latest changes a result of the recent settlement.
The current plan includes 354 rental units, with 342 new suites and 12 more to replace the existing rentals housed on the development site, as per City rental replacement regulations. These are planned in a mix of 12 studios, 220 one-bedrooms, 88 two-bedrooms, and 34 three-bedroom units.
At street level, 663 square metres of retail space is proposed to help keep the corner of Bloor and Dundas lively and animated.