Toronto studio gets reprieve on Wal-Mart plan

Ontario Municipal Board rejects mall complex

TORONTO -- A controversial proposal to turn a former Toronto film and TV studio complex into a retail mall anchored by a Wal-Mart has been struck down.

The Ontario Municipal Board late Wednesday sided with the city of Toronto and turned down the application to convert the Toronto Film Studios site on Eastern Avenue into a 600,000-square-foot mega-mall.

The OMB said that allowing the suburban mall-style development to go ahead would have unduly disrupted the urban neighborhood.

Smart Centers, the property developer behind the Toronto Film Studios redevelopment proposal, is a part owner of Filmport, the city's newest film studio complex.

Toronto Film Studios recently began to shift local and foreign production to Filmport.

The potential loss of the Toronto Films Studios sound stages to retail development was seen by critics as worsening a chronic shortage of quality sound stages in the city for the Los Angeles producers that routinely shoot here.