Battle over Yorkville Village: Redevelopment spurs string of legal squabbles between mall owner and neighbouring residents
A battle has been waging in Yorkville between the residents of an upscale condo at 77 Avenue Rd. and First Capital Realty Inc
A battle has been waging in Yorkville between the residents of an upscale condo at 77 Avenue Rd. and First Capital Realty Inc. — the developer renovating the mall underneath it.
The $100 million redevelopment of what was the Hazelton Lanes mall, soon-to-be Yorkville Village, is currently underway and is expected to be completed at the end of 2016. Since construction of the mall started in 2014, residents of the six-storey condo have complained of power shutdowns, evacuations and a steel structure (used to house mechanical equipment) beside the condo building extending six metres above their second-floor terrace.
“Esthetically, there should be something they can do,” said Karen Ritchie, a resident of the building. “You don’t just put a steel structure in somebody’s backyard.” But Jodi Shpigel, senior vice-president of central region for First Capital Realty, said that while the structure is located on the mall’s property, the corporation does intend to meet with residents to discuss improving its appearance.
First Capital’s attempt to conduct a crane swing over 77 Avenue Rd. in May was just one of many other points of contention between the two parties settled through arbitration.
Justice Frank Myers granted the residents an injunction against the crane swing, on account of “poor communications” by First Capital.
“We’ve tried to enhance our communication without lawyers,” said Shpigel, who added that they’ve recently been sending out newsletters directly to residents, instead of trusting condo boards to disseminate the information.
Marilyn Snead, president of the condo board, said the lack of consultation has led to many legal disputes that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. In contrast, Shpigel said First Capital has “a very good relationship” with 55A Avenue Rd., another condo building that sits above the mall.
But Greg King, who is on that condo’s board, disagreed.
“The vast majority of our residents are very upset with First Capital. It’s a distortion to say we’re an example of them getting along,” he said.