Rendering: City of Toronto

Location: 506 Church Street
Developer: Graywood Developments Ltd
Architect: Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc.

An official application has been submitted to develop the site currently occupied by the beloved Church Street drag bar, Crews & Tangos.

Last week, an Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment application was provided to Toronto city planners for 506-516 Church Street, just south of the Church and Wellesley streets intersection. The planning rationale, prepared by Bousfields Inc, describes a 15-storey mixed-use project with 173 residential units and 11,538 square feet of non-residential floor area.

Bordered by Donna Shaw Lane and Church Street, the rectangular development site sits mid-block between Maitland and Alexander streets, covering 18,363 square feet. Crews & Tangos currently occupies the 508 and 510 Church Street portion of the site, neighboured by a parking lot and a cocktail lounge, Boutique Bar. ERA Architects, through a Heritage Impact Assessment, has determined that the building has potential to be added to the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register as a result of its mid-to-late 19th century form and its connection to the LGBTQ2S+ community, the rationale explains.

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According to the project’s information website, Toronto-based developer Graywood acquired the project site in December 2019, followed by meetings with local councillors and associations. Community concern and online petitions quickly followed after the project’s announcement. In February, Crews & Tangos’ lease was extended by another two years, preceding a later announcement that Graywood and the bar’s owner, Michael Ramawad, would be working on a plan that would aim to maintain the presence of Crews & Tangos.

“Crews & Tangos means as much to me as it does to you, and together, with Graywood, we are committed to finding a solution to maintain this crucial space for the LGBTQ2S+ community,” said Ramawad in a statement.

The front portion of 508-510 Church Street is to be retained and incorporated into the rest of the structure, while the remainder of the existing buildings would be demolished. A large commercial space spanning 6,600 square feet would be included on the ground floor. The application also seeks to amend an existing bylaw that currently limits clubs and eating establishments to a maximum size of 4,305 square feet.

Rendering: City of Toronto

A three-storey podium reserved for commercial and residential uses would be topped by a mid-rise and tower portion totaling 12 storeys. The second floor of the podium would contain commercial space, residential suites, an internal 1,184-square-foot outdoor amenity courtyard and a U-shaped indoor amenity area. The third floor of the podium would consist of storage areas and residential units, some of which would look down onto the amenity courtyard below.

Above the podium, the building continues on an angled incline building up towards Donna Shaw Lane with staggered elevations. Of the 175 units proposed, 15 suites would be designated as bachelor residences, along with 72 one-bedroom, 65 two-bedroom and 31 three-bedroom units, totaling 136,787 square feet.

Approximately 7,190 square feet would be reserved for amenities, located throughout the podium and on the fourth level. A two-level underground parking garage would house 40 car spaces, along with 184 bicycle spaces, the majority of which would exist on the P1 level.

In the neighbourhood, registration is open for Jac Condos on Jarvis Street, while sales continue for 55C Condos on Charles Street East.

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