There is a good column by Dan Lett in the FreeP. He says, in part:
"It appears that the city continues to be, for many developers, a cheap, desperate date.... to allow the developer to abandon those very few esthetic qualities that might have made it less offensive is proof City Hall has surrendered any interest in what our city looks like".
I'd go one step beyond that and say it's a sign of disrespect to the city. Sadly, some people have the attitude that "it's only Main Street" which is unfortunate as Main Street happens to be one of our major thoroughfares.
What was pulled was a classic bait and switch scheme. Do a pretty drawing, superimpose hip looking people strolling around, talk about street presence, make some offering toward landscaping and people get dreamy eyed. When the time comes to build, cut corners and build what you want. It happened with Trizec and on a number of large projects since.
What especially peeves me is that this project was brokered by an agency of the city government to be built for an agency of the provincial government and even got a $550,000 subsidy from city hall. The usual "we ddin't know" shouldn't apply yet all of the partners in Fortress WRHA are pointing fingers at each other for who to blame.
I note that the architect is asking people to chill until the final hoarding is added to the front - I can only hope that it's not a wall of chain link or barbed wire. After all, it is only Main Street.
Update: pics of the original 1913 facade behind the false wall can be seen here prior to the demolition.