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Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal : Development News

24 Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal Articles | Page: | Show All

OCAD U continues reinvention of McCaul Street

Last week when OCAD University announced its new a $60-million Creative City Campus project, it was giving itself a lot more room to grow, with an 55,000 square feet of new space and a renewal of another 94,700 square feet of existing space.
But it was also furthering the transformation of the intersection of Dundas and McCaul streets—already home to two of pieces of iconic Toronto architecture, Frank Gehry’s redesigned Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD U’s own Will Alsop-designed Sharp Centre for Design—and taking another step toward turning McCaul into a cultural corridor.
“There will be a real sense of continuity as one walks down McCaul from that gateway intersection. We are going to be revitalizing the George Reid House building, creating much better viewpoints to Grange Park, refurbishing the portico area and participating with the AGO on a thoroughfare from Grange Park to Butterfield Park and an upgrade of their park area as well as ours,” says OCAD U president Sarah Diamond. “We may also have the opportunity on McCaul Street to do some work with our neighbours to really beautify the street and create a dynamic entry point to the cultural community within the city of Toronto.”
The designs for renovations at 100 and 115 McCaul—the George Reid building and the new Centre for Experiential Learning in the Rosalie Sharp Pavillion, respectively—will have to take into account their proximity to two of Toronto’s most attention-grabbing buildings. OCAD U has decided to go ahead with the Bortolotto Architects design for 115 McCaul that would have a dramatic scrim wrapped around the building, peeling away at the corner to reveal what’s going on inside through a glass wall. The Diamond Schmitt Architects preliminary proposal for 100 McCaul, which is yet to be put out for an RFP, is less showy, as the building is below the famed Alsop building.
“I would say the Bortolotto is a powerful design intervention, really tasteful and absolutely considered in relation to the Sharp Centre and the AGO,” says Diamond. “Because we’re building out [at 100 McCaul], any architect doing that work will have to think really carefully to do something subtle enough and beautiful enough that doesn’t compete with what will be three iconic buildings—even though the Bortolotto is small, it will be gorgeous. It will require a lot of collaboration.”
The project at 115 McCaul is expected to be complete during the 2018-2019 school year; the 100 McCaul project in 2019-2020. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has invested $27 million in the project.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Sara Diamond

Matador Ballroom headed for potential heritage designation

As the owner of the Matador Ballroom on Dovercourt Road renovates the legendary location, Toronto City Council has adopted a couple of motions that throw wrinkles into what might happen at the property.
Last year owner Paul McCaughey told media he was planning to turn the former music venue, which he had bought in 2012, into a high-end event space. The property was built in 1915 and for decades was used as an assembly hall with residential space on the second floor. As the Matador Club starting in 1964, the venue hosted the likes of Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. By the time the Matador closed in 2007, it was known as an after-hours club.
This spring city council voted to advise the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that issuing a liquor licence for the Matador, “is not in the public interest having regard to the needs and wishes of the residents, and that the registrar should issue a Proposal to Review the liquor licence application,” reads the backgrounder on the motion brought forward by Ward 18 Councillor Ana Bailão. “Neighbouring residents and the local councillor’s office are concerned that the operation of a licenced entertainment facility, including, but not limited to a concert hall and special event facility with a capacity of 804 patrons will negatively impact neighbouring residents.”
Meanwhile, Bailão also successfully got a motion adopted to have the city move to designate the property as a heritage building.
“The building features a beautiful interior that was recently discovered as part of renovation work by the current owner,” states the backgrounder. “The local community is aware of these unique heritage characteristics and would like to ensure that the historical richness of this property is protected, regardless of future change of use and/or development,” states the motion.
The Director of Urban Design will evaluate the property for potential inclusion in the city’s Heritage Registrar and report back to the Preservation Board and Toronto and East York Community Council.
At one point, just after the Matador closed, the city considered expropriating the property, demolishing it and turning it into a parking lot.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City Council

Women's College Hospital's fa´┐Żade joins the streetscape

Women’s College Hospital was, geographically speaking, always the outlier, tucked away up Elizabeth Street way, several blocks from University Avenue’s hospital row.

Then it raised a lot of money and started rebuilding itself in 2010. It’s still not on hospital row — its street address is still the same, in fact: 76 Grenville — but its presence in the city has skyrocketed, due mainly to its striking concrete College Street facade by architects Perkins Eastman Black and the IBI Group.

It’s not quite done yet, though the facade in its full neo-brutalist splendour is just now emerging. Though facilities moved into the new spaces in May, the work on the new 630,000 square foot complex is not due to be finished until 2016.

If CEO Marilyn Emery has her way, the new Women’s College Hospital will not only be more visible, it’ll be much more part of the community.

Due to what can only be called extreme consultation measures, including 25 focus groups and 35 online forums, the hospital’s interior design is looking to accommodate the women who live in the city now.

“Like seniors,” she told Yonge Street earlier in the development process, “and lesbian and queer women, lesbian and queer youth, the transgendered, women with addictions, abused women, women with disabilities, women living with HIV-AIDS, street workers, women with mental health issues, lower-income women, recent immigrants, Tamil women, Bengali women, Caribbean women, Mandarin-speaking women.…”

Emery trailed off, acknowledging that the list of Toronto’s diversity, at present and in the 30-year future she’s currently envisioning for the hospital, is more extensive than a single quotation can encompass.

Double Dwelling presents new option for multigenerational living

"It's an instrument for living."

That's how architect Donald Chong describes the so-called Double Dwelling at the corner of Huron and Howland in Chinatown, a house that's been raising eyebrows while under construction in the mostly Edwardian and post-war neighbourhood.

It seems like it doesn't belong, but given the living situation of many people in Chinatown, it couldn't be more apposite.

"If there's anything that's particularly Toronto that's apparent here," Chong says, "it's that any sort of social stigma that might have been there since WWII of living with your parents seems to be slowly eroding."

Formerly two houses on two lots, Chong was commissioned to design a house that would accommodate three generations of a single family, allowing them to benefit from living together, without living on top of each other.

"Really good design is an expression of a culture that's ready to change and evolve," Chong says, "and I think this city is ready for it. We're in the post-honeymoon of the Jane Jacobs era; it's starting to taper out as we're maturing and we can now embrace it without apology. It's the foreground now, not the background, with people pretending not to notice it.

"It's not about eyes on the street so much," he continues, referring to a basic Jacobs concept, "as the fact that we can see a city within the house. You could live like a village not just beyond your doors, but within your doors."

Chong, the man behind Blantyre House, Galley House, and the concept that small fridges make good cities, sees the Double Dwelling as a natural extension of Canadian multiculturalism, circa 1968, and a potential prototype for future designs catering to clients who see family differently from the Anglo tradition.

"There were two dilapidated homes that were barely rentable, more squats. The parents didn't know what do with them as they were aging. Their kids came to us and said our parents are part of it. It was a large enough property because it was on a corner, we have two faces to take advantage of for separate entries, which makes it possible to be rentable, should the parents move out or die."

Chong says the main challenge for the house was to "manage the paths of living," allowing the three generations to share what they wanted to share, but also maintain their own space. So the kitchen is shared, but the living quarters are separated by stairwells and sliding doors.

Chong says there's ample opportunity to alter existing Toronto homes along these lines, given how many of them were designed with alley entrances and smaller, separate spaces for servants.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Donald Chong

DUKE seeks to extend the condo core to the Junction

Housing Alternatives blazed the trail, but with the first market-value condo in the Junction getting all its permits and meeting its sales targets, TAS is extending the condo core to the west end.

“I'm amazed that nothing like this has happened in the area already. The Junction is such an exciting part of the city with a thriving social scene, strong artisanal community with a main street retail selection to match," says the six-storey building’s architect Richard Witt of Quadrangle.

"The reaction to Duke at the public meetings was one of the most receptive I’ve ever participated in – and rightfully so," he continues. "There are a lot of other approaches to development which would not have been as appropriate, but in this case TAS and the project team have really gone out of their way to develop a building which builds on the cultural and social basis of the Junction and adds an additional layer to it – to the benefit of all."

DUKE, a synthetic acronym for its location at Dundas and Keele, will have 96 units ranging from 450 to 1,600 square feet over a floor of ground-level retail.

Witt found TAS’s approach to building a good match for Quadrangle's, making the brief – the mission a client gives the architect – more collaborative than usual.

"The basic brief wasn’t that complicated - a residential building of the scale that Duke has become and one that would be acceptable to the community in terms of scale and articulation. A lot of what might be considered brief wasn’t really discussed but was inherently understood in the philosophy of TAS and their selection of architects: great design, environmental consideration, a level of social engagement. As we were going through the process TAS were reflecting on their own brand and many of the considerations of the project became more tangible.

“Ecological aspirations were by nature of the broader team already being applied in terms of good building envelope, consideration of aspect, conformance with the Tier 1 Toronto Green Standards - but they became more obvious and articulated with elements like the terrace planters which were already there to satisfy urban design objectives but developed to become venues for urban agriculture," Witt continues.

"We were also doing the interior design with Mason Studio, who were the lead on the sales centre, and TAS’s aspirations for neighbourhood engagement and local cultural prosperity became very tangible in that collaboration, building on the enthusiasm TAS had shown to benefit the community already, through things like providing a venue for the flea market on the empty site."

Witt’s design is definitely Toronto Condo 2.0, in line with his work on Abacus farther east along Dundas. And its low-rise profile fits with what one hopes is the city’s future approach to downtown density. It explores the idea of laneway projects, giving Dundas West "an opportunity to continue the art and craft presence of the Junction’s culture while offering a real alternative to internalized units."

Witt thinks developing these semi-commercial spaces featuring laneway living with a vertical separation "should be a mandate of laneway projects moving forward."

He figures DUKE will be ready for occupancy within 18 months.

Writer: Bert Archer]
Source; Richard Witt

Developer proposes laneway community for Bloor and Dufferin

What might be Toronto’s biggest laneway housing project is being proposed for a small Bloordale street with residential and industrial heritage.

With the architect behind Chase, and designers from a young firm with Yabu Pushelberg DNA, the development, if approved, has the potential to add momentum to the slowly changing neighbourhood between Dufferin and Lansdowne north of Bloor.

The centerpiece of the development, as proposed by Curated Properties, is the former Pendell Boiler, a light industrial concern tucked away behind Bartlett Avenue.

"The site was originally marketed to demolish the existing building," says Curated principal Adam Ochshorn. "When I walked onto the site, while the Boiler room was functioning, I felt like I was in Soho, and I realized this is not the kind of thing you demolish."

The proposal incudes the new construction of three units on Bartlett, and 13 in the laneway behind.

Audax Architecture, who also worked with Woodcliffe on the Toronto North Station that became the Summerhill LCBO, has designed units from 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet, ranging in price from $500,000 to just under a million. All of them have been designed with outdoor terraces.

On the permit front, Ochshorn is hopeful.

"One lucky thing with this site," he says, "is that we meet the criteria for site serving. Other situations where people have had problems with laneways is how are people going to get in and out of the property physically, and how they’re going to service the property."

If approved, Ochshorn, who is also president of Grand Metropolitan Homes and the man behind Edition Richmond, hopes to start construction in early fall with a view to early summer 2015 completion.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Adam Ochshorn

Alexandra Park is being demolished now

Phase 1A of the reconstruction of Alexandra Park began yesterday, with the demolition of the first of 44 townhouses.

You can get an idea of how big a job this is going to be from the fact the first step is designated 1A.

According to Toronto Community Housing's taciturn spokeswoman Sara Goldvine, the timeline for the entire redevelopment of the poorly designed 1960s low-cost housing project will be 12-15 years, with just this initial demolition phase, being executed by Pro Green, taking as much as four months.

The replacement rental townhomes were designed by Levitt Goodman Architects, chosen in consultation with the current residents. The new Alexandra Park will also have market-priced condominiums, the first of which was designed by Teeple Architects.

Tridel, the developer, will ultimately be building 61 rent-geared-to-income townhouses and two condo towers in the projects first phase. Considered a revitalization project, it will also be replacing street that was eliminated in the 60s, as well as extending another, to allow people to actually walk through the neighbourhood.

According to yesterday’s press release, further phases will include a park, a community centre, almost 6,000 square metres of retail, as well as an “incubator space for local social enterprise and business development” on the south side of Dundas.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Sara Goldvine

U of T releases new design for architecture school at One Spadina Crescent

It turns out, One Spadina Crescent, the big 19th-century building Spadina curves around just north of College, was never completed.

The University of Toronto School of Architecture is going to change that.

The school's Dean, Richard Sommer, announced this morning that U.S. architect Nader Tehrani has designed an addition to the north side of the building, which will be built in conjunction with thoroughgoing renovations to prepare the building to be the new premises for the expanding architecture school, the country’s oldest.

"It's one of those early buildings in the history of the city, like Upper Canada College or the provincial legislature, that was a kind of a frontal building, positioned to face the lake," Sommer says.

"It was a U-shaped building, what we call in architecture single-loaded. The north end of the site was never developed, and over time it just got filled in with stuff. Before it was even [the] Knox Theological Seminary and later college, it was built as a prospect for wealthy landowners. That was the original function of that circle. Then the seminary took over and had a building facing south."

Sommer says there have been a number of additions added haphazardly to the north of the building over the years, which will be demolished.

"The project is part of making design and city-building front-and-centre for the city of Toronto," he says.

John Daniels, of developer the Daniels Corporation, and his wife Myrna have given another $10 million towards the project, in addition to the $14 million the couple gave in 2008 that triggered the renaming of the architecture school in his name.

Daniels graduated from the school of architecture in 1950.

"I would compare the Daniels benefaction to what Alfred Taubman gave to the University of Michigan more than a decade ago, and which completely transformed its prospects," Sommer says.

Some excavation of hazardous materials has already been done, and Sommer hopes that if the rest of the fundraising goes well, the entire project will be completed within three years.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Richard Sommer

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Demolition begins to clear way for seven-story Dundas West mid-rise

After a slight delay due to softer-than-anticipated soil, demolition began this week for the city’s latest mid-rise.

Abacus, the Richard Witt-designed seven-storey brick and glass condo on Dundas just west of Ossington, will have 39 units starting at $289,000 to more than $800,000, of which a couple are still available. 

The developer, Antonio Azevedo of DAZ Developments, grew up in the neighbourhood and is looking forward to contributing to its latter-day re-densification. “It really helps develop a sense of community,” he says of the burgeoning Dundas West commercial strip he’s hoping to help along. The condo is the only mid-rise building in the area.

Azevedo figures digging will begin in February, and that the building will be ready for residents by the fall of 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Antonio Azevedo

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Abacus on track to begin construction in November

The main drag of the Dundas West strip is about to break ground on its first condo.

The mid-rise Abacus, developed by Daz and designed by Richard Witt, is on schedule to begin construction in November, says developer Antonio Azevedo.

The building, with its floors swivelling out over the sidewalk, will be a distinctive addition to the still largely Portuguese neighbourhood around the corner from the Ossington strip. The height is right, says Azevedo.

"I don't see a high-rise there," says Azevedo, who bought the old garage across the street from the LCBO two years ago. "It could probably work, and I know this sounds cliché, but it would be bad karma."

The building is one of a new generation of mid-rises going up, in part in reaction to the city's Avenues and Mid-Rise plan, meant to intensify the city's east-west corridors.

Azevedo predicts the building will be ready for occupancy in June 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Antonio Azevedo

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Abacus promises to be a 7-storey arrow pointing to the Dundas West strip

Toronto's lean towards less rectilinear architecture continues with Abacus, the mid-rise condos going up at 1245 Dundas Street West.

Designed by RAW and developed by the lawyer who represented the passengers on that famous long Air Transat glide into Portugal in 2001, Abacus will be an eye-catching seven-storey bit of pointiness in the midst of a still evolving Dundas West strip.

Developer Tony Azevedo, who also rescued a collapsing bit of Vine Avenue in the Junction last year, has told Yonge Street Media: "I really, really like modern design." Though he's only just begun, Azevedo seems cut from the same mould as Les Malins, the accidental developer who built a one-time personal investment into major mid-rise player Streetcar.

The condos are at the pre-construction registration stage now, and are being sold through Paul Johnston, with 59 Project Management, who also handled the Vine Avenue development, set to see the thing through.

Writer: Bert Archer

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Adam Vaughan's telephone town hall taps into ward 20's development priorities

Adam Vaughan held what he's calling a "telephone town hall" at the end of last year, with results revealing the development priorities for one of the city's most populous wards.

Questions were framed in terms of the current budget negotiations. Responses indicate that 34 per cent of residents consider public transit to be their top priority, followed by 26 per cent who list "children, libraries, recreation, nutrition and childcare," ahead of the 15 per cent who said affordable housing was the most important thing to maintain and cultivate.

People in this densely populated ward also figured the best way to pay for all of this was by tapping drivers. About 48 per cent of them suggested the city bring back the vehicle registration tax; 32 per cent were in favour of road tolls.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Adam Vaughan

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

Green Toronto Awards nominations now open

Nominations opened this week for the 2012 Green Toronto Awards, though the most interesting category from the 2011 edition has been dropped.

Last year, the awards expanded to include a green homes category, aimed at individuals who had done something remarkable to or with their own homes.

"It wasn't our strongest category," says Jessica Chow, co-ordinator for the city-sponsored awards. "We don’t know why. We noticed a lot of them were, 'Oh, I recycle in my home.' It wasn't really what we were after."

So this year, it's been folded into the more general green design category, where individual homes will now compete with eco clothing, green roofs and other design innovations.

Nominations can be submitted here until midnight on Feb. 6. Winners will be announced in March.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jessica Chow

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

New 2,300-square-foot LCBO to open at College and Euclid in November

Little Italy is getting a new liquor store.

Opening in November, the new store at 549 College St. at Euclid (beside the Shiatsu School of Canada and across the street from The Midtown) with have about 2,300 square feet of shopping space, and about 1,100 different forms of booze, including a Vintages section with a selection about 115 strong.

"This store is designed to bring more convenient service to this vibrant neighbourhood of Toronto where we expect to have mainly walk-in customers," says LCBO spokesman Chris Layton. 

Until now, the closest liquor stores to the area were at Spadina and Dundas, and Dundas and Dovercourt. Over the last couple of years, the LCBO has been filling in underserved areas in the downtown, including new stores at Spadina and King and at Roncesvalles and Dundas.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Chris Layton

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].

University to re-think proposed 42-storey student residence tower at 245 College Street

The University of Toronto, which proposed a 42-storey student residence tower on College at Spadina, is being told to go back and try again.

"They're being told it's not an acceptable proposal," says ward councillor Adam Vaughan. "They're not going to OMB with it. I'm not sure they totally understand this site, it's a very difficult site to put density on. The property adjoins a two-storey house."

Designed by Diamond and Schmitt, the building will probably end up being considerably smaller in scale to reflect not only the single family dwellings on Glasgow, a little alley-like street adjoining the site that runs between Spadina and Huron, but the whole neighbourhood, which is fairly dense, but not especially vertical.

"The implication for height on this stretch is one which really, really worries us," Vaughan says. "We have a new proposal down the street originally came in seeking similar heights, and then came back much smaller.

"Building downtown densities in midtown is not an appropriate way to go."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Adam Vaughan

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected].
24 Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal Articles | Page: | Show All
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