In Defense of Tivoli Condos

Tivoli

Last week Diamante Investments and MSA architects released their recent renderings of Tivoli Condos, a 22-storey, 106 unit, mix-use condo situated on James Street North.

In many ways, the proposed condo is a daring design for the city. The building is a bold, new, and contemporary style of condominiums.

However, the real daring in its design is its height. Like much of James Street North, the property is only zoned for three to six stories, meaning this development will require amended bylaws.

More about the bylaws here: What the 22-storey Tivoli Proposal Means for James Street and Downtown

The proposed amendments to change zoning requirements for its height, setback, and parking have sparked controversy. The arguments against the proposed changes are that the building will be out of context with the neighbourhood and could harm the downtown’s future development.

James Street North is in the midst of a revolution. A street of predominately three to four storey buildings, coffee shops, thrift stores, restaurants and many other small businesses have made this old cultural hub vibrant and popular again. It is unsurprising for the neighbourhood to be cautious of any development that might deadlock its progress.

However, as this city gains momentum through potential investments like this development, changes are inevitable.

As design evolves and infill is required to create density, regulations will need to change to accommodate the growth of a city. Heritage plays an integral role in the cities future, but it also shouldn’t be what slows it down. For years this city has seen an unchecked growth in sprawl, straining the core and hindering its economy. Now, as the urban pattern shifts, the city needs to think big. In order to intensify the core, the only way to build is up.

The Tivoli Theatre proposal is far from out of context. A three storey commercial podium at street level, as well as the renovation of the old Tivoli Theatre, will not only connect the building with its immediate streetscape, but also add to James North’s walkability and commercial viability.

The remaining 19 storeys of residential space are an appealing prospect. With the James Street North GO expansion, SoBi Hamilton Bikeshare, proximity to the Bayfront and its location on one of the hottest streets in the city, this development will have no issues finding buyers.

As we build higher, we will see more people in the core, more business, more investment, and what’s most important to the city, more tax revenue.

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