Toronto Restaurateurs Debate King St. Tower Proposal

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TORONTO — Toronto restaurateurs opposing a 47-storey condominium worry business may be adversely affected by the proposal for a multi-storey tower along King St. West.

Business owners cite the wind-tunnel effect as a threat to their sales. Al Carbone, owner of the Italian-themed Kit Kat restaurant, told the Toronto Star that the new TIFF Bell Lightbox created a wind tunnel strong enough to blow plates off patio tables.

“When they say they do wind studies, it doesn’t mean anything, because when the towers are there, the wind takes over. It’s Mother Nature.” A lack of sunlight is another concern.

“The iconic area is a very popular one and full of charm,” said Tony Elenis, president, CEO, the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA). “This is not about curtailing development; it’s about smart decisions.”

With several towers in the works in an area known for Victorian-era buildings, local entrepreneurs say restaurants may soon look out of place.“The city of Toronto is a great city and needs to think of the long-term benefits of having points of differences to attract visitors. Cities such as Boston and Chicago stand out due to long-term plans and vision. Paris is a great example [too]. Toronto, let’s think big,” urges Elenis.

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