Developments gone wild
We look at four Midtown proposals that are pushing the boundaries and keeping things interesting for the city’s planners. These unconventional developments aim to change Toronto’s streetscape in unusual ways.
YONGE & ERSKINE
18–30 ERSKINE AVE. Proposed: A 32-storey condo by the KG Group was granted approval by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in January 2016. The development site abuts the John Fisher Public School; however, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) did not participate in the OMB mediation process. A demolition permit for the threestorey rental building currently on the site was applied for this year. Complications: Recently, the KG Group tried to enter into an agreement with the TDSB to use part of the school site next door for construction staging, but the proposal was taken off the table when parents demanded a risk assessment be conducted. What’s next: A working group is scheduled to convene in the coming weeks to discuss where the construction staging will go. Locals are concerned construction will spill out onto the road, turning Erskine Avenue into one-way street. Talking points: “I never supported this development. I always said they [wanted] to build something on a postage stamp–size lot from the beginning. It’s too big, it’s too tall, and it doesn’t have sufficient setbacks in my mind,” said Ward 25 councillor Jaye Robinson.
YONGE & BIRCH
1190 YONGE ST. Proposed: Developer Frank Campoli has proposed a five-storey office building at 1190 Yonge St., on the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Birch Avenue across from the Summerhill LCBO. The site is adjacent to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) line to the south and Hydro One site to the west. Complications: A vibration study conducted by Valcoustics Canada Ltd. found the CP train movements exceeded the Canadian National Railway guideline limits as well as the International Standards Organization (ISO) reference limits on the site. As a result, vibration mitigation measures will be required if the building is approved. What’s next: City of Toronto Planning’s preliminary report has not been released. Talking points: “It’s a classic case of how tightly our city is developing. That was a really small, useless piece of supplementary land right up next to the tracks, and I don’t think even five years ago people would’ve ever considered a building being shoehorned in there,” said Lewis Reford of the North Rosedale Residents’ Association (NRRA).
YONGE & SCOLLARD
874–878 YONGE ST & 3–11 SCOLLARD ST. Proposed: The Cityzen Development Group has appealed its plan for a 59-storey building, with 194 residential units, to the OMB. The development would increase the density on the site from three to 37.5 times the area of the lot. Cityzen had also proposed to transform the Frank Stollery Parkette into a bowl-type structure. Complications: Toronto City Council rejected the proposal in October 2016, citing concerns over the building’s height and density raised by both city staff and local residents. City zen Development Group reduced the height of the tower by 50 metres and removed the parkette following a community consultation, but the plan was still denied. What’s next: The proposal has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, with a prehearing tentatively scheduled for May 4. Talking points: “It’s just the wrong site. That tower is sitting too heavy and too forceful down on this tiny piece of land in the middle of Yorkville, and it just doesn’t work,” said Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
EGLINTON & MT. PLEASANT
66 BROADWAY AVE. Proposed: Instead of starting from scratch, Beaux Properties has proposed to build a two-storey addition with 18 units on top of an existing 20-storey apartment tower. A new four-storey townhouse block containing 20 stacked townhomes and new amenity space fronting onto Broadway Avenue has also been proposed for the site. Complications: Several tall towers and stacked townhouse projects have been proposed for the surrounding area. City of Toronto planners continue to work on the Midtown in Focus study to revise the YongeEglinton Secondary Plan and effectively address the rapid intensification. What’s next: The developer filed a rezoning application in December 2016 and is currently awaiting city planning staff’s preliminary report. Talking points: “This is a truly horrible proposal that is out of character with the street, flies in the face of good urban planning principles and will be strongly opposed both by the community and the City of Toronto,” said Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow.