This report outlines the existing planning policy context for retail permissions on the former Kodak Lands.
The communication from Councillor Nunziata broadly seeks an interpretation of retail use for the subject lands. ~ the proposed development is for a mix of office, retail and service commercial uses having a total gross floor area of approximately 75,100 square metres. The office component would have an approximate floor area of 17,500 square metres, the retail component would have an approximate floor area of 55,575 square metres, and the service commercial component would have an approximate floor area of 2,025 square
metres. A variety of retail unit sizes is anticipated, ranging from 325 square metres to 10,350 square metres.
The applicant is proposing to construct a four-storey office building fronting on Eglinton Avenue West, which will replace a portion of the retaining wall (ouch) and provide pedestrian and vehicular access from Eglinton Avenue West to the shopping complex. The shopping complex would consist of a variety of large and small stores fronting on a series of covered pedestrian streets, with common gathering and plaza areas. Additional office and retail uses will be provided along Ray Avenue, with service commercial uses along Industry Street.
While the site has frontage on Eglinton Avenue West and will have direct access via a proposed a connection from Eglinton Avenue West to the interior of the site, the current site plan situates all of the retail and service commercial uses behind the office building fronting Eglinton Avenue West, extending towards the rear of the site and onto Industry Street. Because the current proposal provides for major retail activities to extend northerly to Industry Street, which is not a Major Street on Map 3 and does not form the boundary of the Employment Area, major retail activity on this street would not meet the locational criteria of Policy 4.6.3. To meet the intent of the Official Plan’s Employment Areas policies, substantial nonretail employment uses would need to be provided along the entire frontage of Industry Street for a significant depth of the site. The lack of an extensive non-retail employment along Industry Street would offend the intent of the Official Plan.
As well, the extensive retail generally, and major large-scale retail uses in particular, must be evaluated in terms of the impact on the functioning of other economic activities within the Employment Area within which the lands are located, as well as on the economic health of nearby shopping districts. The “test” in Policy 4.6.3 (b) for large scale retail and “power centres” is that these not be adversely affected.
Given the relatively small geographic size of this particular Employment Area/District, and the significant proportion of the Employment Area/District occupied by the former Kodak lands (approximately 38%), it is important for the continuing functioning of the remainder of the Employment Area/District that there be a substantial “critical mass” of non-retail employment uses along Industry Street for a significant depth of the site. This is currently not the case in the proposal before staff.
Policy 4.6.1 It must be determined whether the substantial amount of smaller scale retail proposed for the Kodak lands can satisfy the qualification in Policy 4.6.1 that retail outlets be either ancillary to the other employment uses permitted in the area or that they be small scale stores and services uses that serve area businesses and workers. The intent of Policy 4.6.1 was not to promote or permit a broad range of small scale retail uses, but to provide
for limited retail uses that directly supported the primary business function of the Employment Area.