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Frank Gehry compromise proposed for King & John streets

An artists' rendering of a condominium and arts complex for King Street West designed by Frank Gehry. COURTESY OF GEHRY INTERNATIONAL

Toronto city council is proposing a compromise for the Frank Gehry-designed condo towers at the corner of King and John streets.

During the three-day meeting that wrapped up on Wednesday, city council voted to reject the proposal from Gehry and David Mirvish, but to work with the architect, the developer and other stakeholders to come up with a new plan.

The buildings will replace the Princess of Wales Theatre and three other heritage buildings. Last year, theatre-owner Mirvish tapped Gehry to redevelop the site into a condominium and arts complex.

There are concerns the three condo towers — each 80 storeys high — will be too large for the area, and will lead to an “over-intensification” of the corner. (The redeveloped site will also include two six-storey podiums to house OCAD University and a public art gallery.) The city also criticized the destruction of four heritage buildings.

The city is hoping to come up with a zoning amendment that will avoid an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. The panel, which is chaired by Coun. Adam Vaughan, will report back to council on March 20.

One option is to make the condo towers smaller. The city is considering three towers at heights of 60, 55 and 50 storeys from east to west.

Council is also considering more open space and public parks.