It’s a reno Etobicoke residents have been pining for – a new development to replace the existing mall with a cluster of buildings housing everything from affordable housing units to health care facilities to retail.

QuadReal Property Group, who held an open house this past May, is currently gearing up for the public unveiling of a massive new project that will happen over several years in a series of phases.

“We’re really looking to embellish the sense of place that it has now with net new uses that will hopefully make this new Cloverdale a hub for the community,” Ben Gilbank, director of development at QuadReal, said.

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The new plans will also recall the Cloverdale facility of the 1950s by bringing back an open-air centre on site. There will be a range of high, mid, and low-rise buildings with both condo and rental units available to meet the needs of a range of demographics.

“We’re taking the generational approach,” said Gilbank. “QuadReal is looking at it from the perspective of a mix of typologies and tenures of the residential that makes it a real, complete community.”

The area has a high density of seniors in the area and Gilbank addresses this as well, saying, “It would be an appropriate place for seniors in term of accessibility and design.”

People like Connie Laguan, a senior who has lived in the neighbourhood for 45 years, looks forward to the new developments and welcomes the possibility of accessible units surrounded by the promise of outdoor green space.

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“I would like to see lots of beautiful trees,” she said. “If there are not beautiful trees, people don’t feel like going outside — they don’t feel like sitting on a bench.”

Laguan added that she would love to see more public spaces to promote community gatherings.

“As far as I’m concerned, seniors don’t like to be isolated,” she said, noting she currently takes rec classes at the Cloverdale Mall. “I like these classes. It’s like we’re in school.”

But Laguan also worries about the trend towards luxury condo developments.

“Seniors are on a fixed income,” she said. “They have to have affordable housing.”

Longtime Etobicoke resident Rosalind D’Costa agreed, adding that she can only hope the seniors’ units that will be built will not be too small.

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“Don’t build matchboxes,” she said. “We are the generation used to bigger homes.”

Architect Ralph Giannone said while he’s still conceiving of different designs for the redevelopment, he takes the community concerns seriously.

“It’s saying we are going to create a great neighbourhood amenity that is going to have people that work there, people that shop there, people that leisure there, people that live there,” he added.

Phillip Truong, a millennial who works in the area, looks forward to an enhanced infrastructure in an areas that already lacks many services – especially food offerings.

“I think it should be a place where people don’t have to travel as often, because they already have to travel for work,” he said. “So a space where everything is conveniently a one-stop shop kind of deal.”

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Truong also insisted that green space should remain a priority as it’s not just important for seniors but for people of all ages.

QuadReal will be hosting the public unveiling of the master redevelopment plan for Cloverdale Mall on Nov. 23 at the Cloverdale Common (250 The East Mall, Toronto near Service Ontario inside the mall).

Presentations will run at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The company plans to submit a rezoning application to the city in March 2020.

A rendering of the new plans for Cloverdale Mall.

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