Residents want neglected site of former Embassy Hotel cleaned up
Neighbours are demanding action to clean up an east London property that now has waist-high weeds, crumbling sidewalks and a toppled fence.
Five years after fire consumed the historic Embassy Hotel, residents say the property has become a gap in the smile of a revitalized Old East Village.
The large vacant lot at Dundas and English Streets has become an eyesore for neighbours like the owner of the East Village Coffeehouse.
Glenn Kiff says "It collects a lot of things, junk, weeds and stuff. The neighbourhood actually appreciates that it's green, it's just not the right kind of green."
Emboldened by recent move to redevelop the former Beta Brands factory a few blocks away, Ward Councillor Stephen Orser is pressing for action on the property.
"We are going to get it cleaned up, graded and a proper fencing mechanism until I or others find a redevelopment use for it."
Prompted by a complaint, on Wednesday city staff issued an order to clean up the site.
Orest Katolyk, manager of bylaw enforcement for the City of London, says "It is in violation of community bylaws, the grass, weeds, condition of the property."
In the meantime, there are already several developers expressing interest in building something on the property, and Orser hopes to build more interest over the summer.
"Lots like this are valuable but the way it sits scares off investors...I am bringing an investor here tomorrow to this lot. I need it cleaned up, I need it to be safe."
In fact a group of neighbours met with a private developer a few weeks ago, proposing a low-rise residential development and community space for the site.
Neighbour Greg Gillies was encouraged by the meeting, "If they can establish a market then they would like to move very quickly which I think is great."
"Townhouses away from the street with a parkette, that seems to be the most popular thing I'm hearing," Kiff adds.
The city will give the current property owner a bit of time to clean up the site, but if nothing gets done they'll do the work and put the expenses on the tax bill.