In the early 20th century, numerous textile and fabric factories and warehouses were located here due to the proximity and easy access to shipping and rail lines. Garment enterprise owners commissioned the construction of multi-story buildings to house their manufacturing operations.
In the 1970s and accelerating in the 1980s and 1990s, these factories and warehouses entered a period of decline as manufacturing activity migrated to the suburbs or other countries. Prevailing zoning regulations for the area specified industrial use only and property owners, not permitted to lease to non-industrial tenants and facing high vacancy rates, began demolishing buildings with heritage value in order to reduce realty taxes.
In 1996 a zoning change resulted in the elimination of traditional land use restrictions and re-designation of these districts as "regeneration areas" Two “heroes” behind this innovative legislation were then-Mayor Barbara Hall and urban activist Jane Jacobs.From 945 people resident in the wider King-Spadina area in 1996, today residents have increased at least twenty-fold and are expected to double (or more) even that by 2025.