Big box retail coming to Lesmill
How does a two-lane road and 1,061 parking spaces work?
The former industrial site at the northwest corner of York Mills Road and Lesmill Road has long been eyed for a big box retail development but has sat empty for years. Last month, the Don Park HVAC building, at 16 Lesmill Rd., was demolished to make room while the developers continue to work with the city to finalize a plan.
The scale of the proposal does have some residents worried about the massive influx of traffic to the area.
“The whole issue of traffic around Don Mills is a big issue,” said Terry West, a member of Don Mills Residents Inc.
“York Mills has not been identified as a major cross-city street for high-density transit.”
According to Kaitlyn Graham, with City of Toronto Planning, the site plan is still under review.
The proposed site would allow for 1,061 parking spaces, which highlights potential traffic congestion in an area that is mainly businesses and industrial buildings.
Lesmill is a two-lane road, whereas York Mills is larger and was recently reconstructed.
Currently the only access to York Mills from the site is via a small two-lane road that runs beneath the York Mills overpass and is mainly used as a driveway for the Rogers offices next door.
On Jan. 13, Emily Roukhkian, senior land development manager with the developer SmartReit, attached documents for their third site plan submission in an email to the city’s planning department.
“We feel confident that we have addressed all comments and concerns in this submission,” stated Roukhkian in the email.
SmartReit’s resubmission YORK MILLS RD includes traffic services approval of a new layout for the intersection of Lesmill and Valleybrook Drive, to the north of the site, and approval of a new intersection on Lesmill and the site access.
West said the area is quickly changing from an industrial area to a commercial and consumer centre.
“There is not only the Walmart proposal, but there are also many developments in the works by Upjohn Road and the [plaza] where the Dragon Pearl restaurant is,” said West.
SmartReit’s SmartCentre division vice-president of corporate affairs, Sandra Kaiser, said they are still working with the city on their approvals for the site.
SmartReit purchased the site in 2013 from Home Depot. The applicant submitted plans in 2015.
Demolition work underway at former Don Park site on Lesmill Road