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Yonge & Eglinton : Development News

14 Yonge & Eglinton Articles | Page:

Sharon, Lois and Bram Playground getting an elephant and other improvements

One elephant will have to wait until spring to come out to play on a spider’s web, as work gets underway to make a Davisville playground worthy of its musical namesakes.
The space in June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mount Pleasant was named the Sharon, Lois and Bram Playground last year in honour of the musical trio. Now a $300,000 revitalization will see new equipment, playful new names for amenities, a performance stage and an elephant sculpture (a nod to the group’s The Elephant Show from the 1980s) installed to create a more tangible connection to Sharon, Lois and Bram’s sensibility and music.
“We were deliberate about starting construction a week after Labour Day, because we didn’t want to interfere with the height of the season,” says Josh Matlow, councillor for Ward 22, St. Paul’s. The first phase of the project is new wayfinding signs, including renaming the natural ice rink the Skinnamarink after Sharon, Lois and Bram’s most ubiquitous earworm. Upcoming community consultations will determine what kind of new playground equipment the park will get, with installation expected to be completed by spring.
“What was originally proposed by staff just didn’t fit into the earthy character of the playground,” says Matlow.
Though group member Lois Lilienstein passed away last spring (a playground concert was her last performance), Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison have continued to be very involved in planning the park, which will have a stage where children can perform music. “They’ve attended every meeting,” says Matlow. A father himself, Matlow confesses that his own childhood was full of the trio’s music.
In other musical park news, Matlow is also hosting consultations this month on playground improvements at Glenn Gould Park, named after the famed Canadian pianist. “I expect there will be a musical component on the table for that project too,” he says.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Josh Matlow

Midtown plan wins national award as "model for other cities"

A plan that would entrench, expand and entwine midtown’s green spaces has won recognition from the body that governs those who design the nation’s outdoor spaces.

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), which counts 1,900 of the country’s approximately 2,000 landscape architects as its members, named it one of the best pieces of work in the country, excelling in craft, leadership, project management, innovation, as well as environmental and social awareness.

The plan, developed by a team that included landscape architects Public Work and infrastructure consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff, identifies five potential green space continuums which the team describes as “large scale public space proposals that bring together changes in the design of parks, streets and open space.” The include a long stretch of green along Yonge Street on either side of Eglinton, anoher along Eglinton itself, the transformation of Broadway, Montgomery, Roehampton and Orchard View “into a lush, green, multi-purpose promenade,” and a “re-imagined” Redpath Avenue to be bookended by “two great parks.”

“This is a project that was given an award for planning and analysis,” says CSLA executive director Michelle Legault. “Many landscape architects consult, and they develop plans for cities. This one developed with the City of Toronto, a blueprint that will help guide the evolution of the public spaces and public realm in midtown.

“Essentially what we’re saying is that this is a really high-level, highly efficient, extremely innovative plan. It’s a model for other plans for other cities.”

Plans are just plans until they are executed, of course, but this one, approved by council in its Aug. 25 session, is meant to be executed over a period of two to three decades.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Michelle Legault

Freed condos teams up with Karl Lagerfeld

Peter Freed's long been known as a design-friendly developer. His King West-area developments, like 66 Portland and the Thompson Hotel, played a large part in making the neighbourhood what it is. The relatively young developer was also, at least in the beginning, known to cater to a youthful demographic, but with his latest project, the now 46-year-old Forest Hill-raised developer moved uptown and raised the age his sights are set on.

Art Shoppe Lofts and Condos is not only slotted for Yonge and Eglinton, it's also going to be a partnership with the 81-year-old Karl Lagerfeld.

“We have always sought to find ways to partner in our developments with some of the great design minds of our generation, and share their style,” Freed wrote in a press release announcing the partnership. ‘We look forward to sharing Karl Lagerfeld’s distinctively ultramodern, highly structured style for the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos and believe that his premier Canadian condominium design will create spaces that will be valued by our residents, treasured by our City, and appreciated by the world.”

Freed has long been known as more of a partner than a developer. Though his name has accrued considerably brand value, and tend to play big in the announcements and hoardings, the projects have largely been done by others. In this case, in addition to Lagerfeld's contributions to the design of the lobby, CD Capital Investments is the money behind the man. It's not the first time he's partnered with a name designer either. His condo building at 75 Portland included ideas from Philippe Starck.

According to CD Capital's co-founder and managing partner Todd Cowan, Lagerfeld will be in charge of the interiors of the lobbies, and will be attending the opening when the buildings are scheduled to finished in 2019.

Planned for 2131 Yonge, the projects is intended to consist of a 28- and a 12-storey tower, with the largest units limited to two bedrooms.

Unlike Ridpath's, Toronto's other grand old furniture store, the Art Shoppe is not shutting down, at least not yet. They moved in December to 71 Kincort Street near Castlefield and Caledonia.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Todd Cowan


Fire forces Home Ownership Alternatives to temporarily relocate

A fire ejected Home Ownership Alternatives, along with its newly appointed CEO, from their Queen Street East offices over the Victoria Day weekend.

They’ve since relocated to 2300 Yonge Street until their old offices can be rehabilitated from the water damage. It’s an extra challenge for their newly appointed CEO, Jens Lohmueller, the Hamburg native and graduate of the University of Western Ontario who just took over the organization.

It’s a relatively small one compared to his larger brief, which is to expand HOA out of Ontario and into Vancouver and even Africa.

"We've already had to make little tweaks to accommodate partners -- cities, towns and regions -- so I think there will be an ability to change as we go along," he says. 

It will be a massive change for the organization, which has a staff of, in Lohmueller’s words, "four or five."

Though their focus will remain on families, Lohmueller says that could change in the future, implying that they might take up the Artscape model and get into making office and studio space affordable in similar ways to their current down payment-loan system for homeowners across southern Ontario.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jens Lohmueller

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 Will Alsop condo may be coming to Yonge and Lawrence

"The brief was to put some apartments on that corner."

I got hold of of the jocular architect Will Alsop in his London office to ask about the midrise he designed for independent developer and former architect Bianca Pollak, to be built on Strathgowan Avenue, just south of Yonge and Lawrence. I’d asked him what instructions he got from his client that resulted in what, if built, will be the most delightful condo in town.

With the bottom six floors enveloped in a stainless steel mesh, and the top four a tabletop, Alaska, as it would be known, is the sort of building we’re more accustomed to seeing in Berlin, Shanghai, or even Abu Dhabi. But here in Toronto, we tend more towards the rectilinear.

Alsop, who also designed the Sharpe Centre for Design at OCAD, is the bon vivant to Gehry’s mad professor and Nouvel’s fantasist. His designs tend to evince a beauty filtered through a sense of humour.

But he’s also interested in how his buildings work where they sit, and for Alsop, this stretch of Yonge Street, including this corner, which currently houses a nursery, a sporting goods store and the building that Pollak’s design shop now occupies, doesn’t  yet know its worth.

"Apart from Ms. Pollak’s existing building, which is rubbish, what is it about this part of the street that’s wrong and could be better? The answer is there’s quite a lot wrong. It’s the scale: It needs to be brought up to celebrate Yonge Street, one of the most important streets in Canada. It’s tough to do with one site," he says, "but we can make a start."

The appropriate applications for the building, whose address would be on Strathgowan Avenue, are with the city now. Word on when Yonge and Stragowan may get some of Alsop's apartments is expected sometime in the next 18 months.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Will Alsop

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].

Have a say in what Eglinton's going to look like

From Jane to Kennedy, Eglinton is going to be a different sort of avenue in the next decade, and the city and Metrolinx are inviting residents to be a part of its development.

Starting with a meeting last night at Keele and Eglinton, and continuing on Feb. 26 at the Noor Cultural Centre on Wynford at Eglinton, and on the 28th at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute near the site of a future transit stop at Chaplin, the city’s planning division and Metrolinx will be educating and collecting suggestions and criticism on what will become of one of the city’s biggest avenues.

"What we’re discussing is an overall public realm plan for the whole corridor," says Lorna Day, the city’s project manager for Eglinton Connects. "We’re also looking at ways to green the corridor, to provide better connections to the parks and ravines system, and whether there are opportunities to plant bigger trees."

Like many of the city’s avenues, Eglinton is grossly under-developed, but according to the city’s Avenue and Midrise guidelines, there will likely be a profusion of four-to-eight-storey buildings cropping up along the avenue section of Eglinton (its entire stretch with the exception of the Leaside segment between Mt. Pleasant and Laird) alongside the transit development.

This is the third round of discussions on Eglinton, and there will be two more before Eglinton Connects submits its final report in the spring of 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Lorna Day

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].

Bayview extension gets a new traffic-slowing 90-degree corner in Bennington Heights

A transition from a major thoroughfare to a quiet city street that has been increasingly troublesome since the 1960s is finally getting a redesign.

Since it was built, there has been no physical indication of the point at which the Bayview extension transforms into Bayview Heights Drive in Bennington Heights. This has meant that cars traveling 50km/h or more up the extension have taken a while to slow down to 40 km/h or slower for this child-heavy, sidewalk-free neighbourhood.

According to councillor John Parker, residents had just lived with their concern about the situation, which to his knowledge has never resulted in any injuries, until several years ago when several trucks were parked on the road right at the transition point doing some sewer maintenance. This gave residents the idea that a form of traffic slowing might help.

So the city is now building a bend at the end of Bayview Drive, a 90-degree turn to let people know they're leaving a big street and entering a small one.

"Instead of a straight-line transition from Bayview Avenue into Bayview Heights Drive, we now have the top end of Bayview Heights Drive taking a bend to the east," Parker says.

They are also putting in a sidewalk.

According to Parker, the project will be finished by the end of the month.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: John Parker

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].

170-townhouse Canterbury development in Lawrence Park in pre-construction phase

There'll soon be 170 new town houses in Lawrence Park.

Canterbury, the forthcoming Tribute development slated for the old 5-acre Salvation Army site at Bayview and Blythwood, is in pre-sell mode and hopes to begin construction this fall, with occupancy in late 2012 or early 2013, depending on how sales go.

According to Tribute's vice president of sales and marketing, Tony Whitaker, the target demographic is "young professionals, as opposed to move-down empty-nesters. These are three- and four-level [homes]; we're not appealing to the retirement crowd." He points out the development will be close to the subway, as well as the Bayview strip, and schools like Crescent, Toronto French School and Glendon College.

The price range the for houses, designed by Cassidy and Company, is from the low $700s to a little over a million.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tony Whitaker

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].

Emergency Medical Services builds new $2.6-million station to replace old gas station

After more than 30 years operating out of an old gas station, the ambulance station at 643 Eglinton West is getting a new home.

After the old place was demolished in June of last year, and the soil reclaimed over the next several months, construction began in March on a brand new Emergency Medical Services station to serve the area between Keele and Eglinton and Sunnybrook Hospital.

"We're planning to garage three or four vehicles indoors when it opens," says David Ralph, the commander of program development and service quality. The previous facility only allowed for two.

The $2.6-million project, for which the steel framing began last week, is expected to be completed in December.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: David Ralph

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

City's $1.2-million Leaside land purchase one step closer to becoming a rink

Councillor John Parker is getting ever closer to his dream of getting another rink in Leaside Gardens.

After years of effort, both as a councilor and, before that, as a board member at Leaside Gardens, Parker has been trying to add ice capacity to one of the city's oldest ice facilities, built in 1951. And then, in June, a donor stepped forward anonymously with $525,000 to finance the planning for such an expansion.

"It supports three main community groups," Parker says, "the Leaside Hockey Association, the Leaside Girls Hockey Associationnd the Leaside Skating Club. Those three clubs consume pretty much every nanosecond of prime time ice at the rink. Now those clubs have outgrown it and are leasing extra time on other rinks at prime rates." Money that could Parker believes, could be going to Leaside.

The city has already bought the land the rink will eventually occupy, last February from the province for $1.2 million. The next two interwoven steps are to secure financing, which Parker estimates will exceed $10 million, and develop a plan. "But we're not going to know the costs until we have plans, and we're not going to have plans until we have a budget set aside," Parker says, "so we've been wrestling with that for a year or so."

The donation, approved by city council this past month, may prove to be the ice-breaker. At least, that's what Parker's hoping.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: John Parker

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

Urban intensification comes to Mt Pleasant and Eglinton with tower-town infill

The city's swing towards intensification, embodied in such recent projects as Lippincott Living, 12 Degrees and several Streetcar developments, continues this summer as 83 Redpath opens its doors.

Designed by Sweeny Stirling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc. for the Benvenuto Group (which also owns the recently condofied Benvenuto), the project replaced a 19-storey 70s slab with an 80-car surface parking lot attached into a 22-storey tower with townhouses, a condo-rental combo that more than doubles the site's coverage density, from 2.0 to 4.56, and increases the number of units on the 1.6 acres south of Eglinton and west of Mt. Pleasant from 185 to 397.

The original building also had 57 bachelor suites and 36 two-bedroom units, while the current configuration eliminates bachelors and increases the number of larger, more family-friendly suites to 60 (each of which has a den in addition to the two bedrooms).

"We actually made the street a lot more urban, a lot more interesting, a lot more pleasant," says architect Dermot Sweeny. In addition to having space for 38 visitor bicycles on the ground level as well as scores of underground spots for residents' bikes, Sweeny also points out that none of the townhouses have driveways.

"We're seeing a tremendous decline in demand for parking," Sweeny says." As the cost of living in an urban situation go up, there is a new generation that is dropping the cars, which is fabulous, and we've got to support them."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Dermot Sweeny

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

CORRECTION: This story originally stated the development would run from 185-212 Mt. Pleasant.

Forest Hill gets new $500,000 LCBO

Northern Forest Hilliers are getting an LCBO to call their own on May 4, when the next store opens at 333 Eglinton West at Avenue, during an exceptionally active growth period for the Board.

The smallish, standalone shop will have 1,900 square feet of shopping area with 700 sorts of beer and liquor, including a Vintages section about 200 strong.

"What it's designed to do is bring service to the retail strip that previously didn't have service," says LCBO spokesman Chris Layton. At the moment, the closest shops are the one attached to the Loblaws at St Clair and Bathurst, the Yonge and Eglinton location, and the store at Yonge and Davisville.

The construction costs for the new store are estimated at $500,000.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Chris Layton

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

Minto Midtown towers get LEED Gold certificate

The tallest towers at Yonge and Eglinton were born in controversy, as tall towers in well-loved neighbourhoods tend to be. But, as if to make it up to the community, Minto Midtown applied for and, just this month, received its LEED Gold certification. At 891 suites in two towers, the development is now the largest condominium to get LEED Gold.

"It's a landmark," says Andrew Pride, who heads up the 10-person Minto Green Team. "Its green certification is a testament to where condominium development is going in Canada."

He's right. Minto itself has two other LEED certified condo buildings. [email protected] Gardens (at Yonge and Sheppard) was the first multi-unit high-rise to achieve any sort of LEED certification in Canada, and the Minto Roehampton (near Yonge and Mt Pleasant) was the first multi-family building in Canada to get Gold.

But it's not just Minto, Tridel is also pinning much of its public image on its greenery. And in the commercial realm, on Oct. 1, Cadillac Fairview opened its 1.2million square foot RBC Centre at 155 Wellington, which was also built to LEED Gold standards (though it's not yet been certified).

As part of its certification, more than half of the building materials used to construct the two towers came from less than 600 km away, including several significant ingredients, like concrete and fill, coming from the GTA itself. The towers also collect and redistribute rainwater, have Zip cars available onsite for sharing, and have 5 bicycles per tower for owner and tenant use.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Minto Group Inc

14 Yonge & Eglinton Articles | Page:
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