On Saturday afternoon, a group of about 150 people of all ages gathered at 145 St. George, an 11-storey 1960s-vintage apartment building immediately north of the subway station. Their goal: to protest the proposed demolition of this and several other mid- or high-rise rental buildings that sit on land deemed sufficiently valuable that developers can take them down and replace them with much larger ones, and still make a profit.
The tenants’ associations in three of these buildings have found each other. There’s now a Twitter account and outreach to some local politicians, including mayoral candidate Chloe Brown, and the inevitable sign-up sheets. It will be interesting to see if this network grows, makes common cause with other increasingly dispossessed tenants’ groups, and gathers some political momentum. I suspect it will. And it should.
Several of the demolition projects now in the pipeline promise to replace all the demolished rental units and provide the tenants with some funds to make other arrangements, as well as right of first refusal once the new building is complete. But in this market, these measures (which are no longer mandatory) fail on a human level.