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Eglinton West site on the verge of sale

Development could spell the end of the iconic China House
By Kris Scheuer

February 2, 2011

Neighbourhoods: Forest Hill

Originally published in our Forest Hill print edition(s).

FH China House.jpg
The Toronto Parking Authority is set to make a major development deal near Bathurst and Eglinton and a popular Chinese food restaurant may be lost in the mix.

The city-owned parking authority plans to sell 935 Eglinton Ave. West, which is home to a 43-space surface lot that’s been around for over 50 years. Developer BSAR Eglinton wants to buy the site from the parking authority and build a condo, retail space and a new parking lot.

BSAR already entered into a conditional agreement with N. Kwinter Holdings and Harryetta Holdings to buy an adjacent site at 925 Eglinton Ave. West that’s home to China House restaurant, according to city documents.  

The developer wants to consolidate the two sites and purpose a nine-storey condo with main floor retail and an underground parking lot, according to the report that was presented at a government management committee meeting on Jan. 31.

Councillor Joe Mihevc said there’s been no formal development application yet.

“They are negotiating with a city agency (parking authority) and once they get the land together they will apply,” Mihevc said Jan. 28.

Any condo development would go through the normal planning process including community consultation and city council approvals.

If the land deal goes through, BSAR would pay the parking authority $4.9 million for the land at 935 Eglinton Ave. West. The developer would build a 113 space, two-level underground garage. The parking authority would then pay about $2.97 million for 66 spaces at about $45,000 per spot in the new garage. The authority would also purchase about 935 square metres of ground floor retail space for $4.3 million that it could then lease out for revenue.

Overall, if approved, the deal would cost the Toronto Parking Authority almost $3 million out of its capital budget.

Lorne Persiko, vice-president of real estate and development for the parking authority said in the end it will be a money-maker.

“Instead of garage with some income we’ll have a larger garage and retail income as well. We will get a very good return with a triple A tenant,” he said.

The parking authority stands to make an estimated net profit of $328,000 in the first year with combined revenues from the parking spots and retail lease.

But what about the fate of the China House, at 935 Eglinton Ave. West, that is also owned by the developer?

While nothing has been approved at this stage, the restaurant doesn’t appear to be part of any proposed redevelopment plan and would likely have to relocate, Mihevc said.  

China House’s new owner Jonathan Wise could not be reached for comment on Jan. 31. The Town Crier ran a story on Wise last April after he purchased the restaurant and did interior renovations and paid thousands to restore the florescent sign that hadn’t been operational for 20 years.

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