Take, for example, the 12-storey edifice at 145 St. George Street. Many of the current tenants have called this building home for decades – several of them for more than 40 years. But their obvious affection for the building and sense of security has been challenged recently by a proposal to demolish the structure and replace it with a 29-storey residential tower, comprising almost entirely of individually owned condominiums.
There is no question that such displacement is deplorable, notwithstanding legal strictures that allow the current residents some rights of return. But there is an equally compelling objection to such demolition that faces existing buildings in Apartment neighbourhoods- not only on St. George Street but across the city. The issue is one of sustainability – a concern that has increasing resonance as governments around the globe wrestle with solutions to climate change.
That brings us back to 145 St. George Street and similar residential mid-rise buildings that are currently threatened with replacement. The demolition of 145 St. George – a building of substance though it could admittedly benefit from proactive maintenance – flies in the face of environmental sustainability.