Car-free condo: a novel idea for downtown Toronto
A proposed downtown condo will have absolutely no parking for private motor vehicles, if City Council approves it. Instead it will only have spots for car-sharing vehicles and 315 bike parking spots. The innovative project, which will be built on University Avenue at the site of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, is going one up on the new draft parking by-law which will reduce the number of required parking spots for residences, stores and offices.
The East-York / Toronto Community Council overruled City staff, which insisted that the project goes against expertise and experience. It's uncertain what kind of expertise they are drawing on when downtown developers insist that the majority of condos downtown sell without parking:
"If you look at the evidence of what sells downtown, the majority of units under 750 square feet in the downtown core sell without parking,'' said Stephen Deveaux, a vice-president with the developer, Tribute Communities. Parking spots typically add $20,000 or more to the cost of a downtown condo.
It will be interesting to see if the market is strong for no car parking or if the staff are correct that it is still a necessity. The staff's position:
Normally, building plans follow a formula for how much parking space should be allowed; current standards, if applied to the building, would provide approximately 140 parking spaces for residents.
"To assume a residential development of the project's scale might be totally car-free runs counter to expert study and experience," the staff report stated. "Although there are many households in the downtown (area) without cars, it would be highly unlikely to find 315 of them permanently concentrated in one building."
It also stated that, "exempting the project from the city's parking standards would create a negative precedent that undermines the integrity of the parking provisions of the zoning bylaw."