Another one bites the dust. Not that the potential loss of a McDonald’s restaurant causes me any particular heartache, but this particular McDonald’s always tugs at my heartstrings. Across from the ROM just west of Avenue road sits (in my opinion) the nicest McDonalds around, and a fine piece of 1970s retail architecture.
During a closed-door session, city council voted to accept a (bargain) $3.38 million offer for the site from McDonald’s, who will in turn sell it to Kazakhstan-based developer Bazis International Inc. That’s the developing firm that is building the 80 storey condo at 1 Bloor Street East and already owns the property adjacent to McDonald’s. There are now plans in the works for a 100-meter condo tower to be built on the site (which will include a new McDonald’s restaurant).
McDonald’s has a cheap 99-year lease on the site paying, only $15,500 annually. The city hopes to up that amount to $195,000 once the deal goes through. Although this is prime real estate and a suitable site for a condo development, the loss of the McDonald’s building is a shame. The building isn’t a typical fast food restaurant. A gently sloping ramp brings you to the front door off the street between a curved wall and sunken garden under a metal and glass canopy, providing light to the basement seating area. Inside, the ramp continues up to the counter where a staircase leads to the upper floor. The building is stacked, providing views both up and down and making its tiny footprint seem immense. The seating areas’ windows frame the new ROM addition, adding a new dimension to the structure. The brown tiles have recently been painted black and red making the faà§ade seem slightly sinister, but this does not detract from its charm.
Inevitably the old must make way for (or accommodate) the new, but I would have wished to see this building preserved. Its design is unique and it is suitable for any number of retail purposes. It also has a human scale. I have doubts that its replacement will have as much going for it.
Photo by Greg M.