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Church & Wellesley - Yorkville - Annex : Development News

130 Church & Wellesley - Yorkville - Annex Articles | Page: | Show All

Toronto reached new heights during Yonge Street's lifetime

Founded in 2010, Yonge Street has covered growth and development during a remarkable period of Toronto’s history.
While cities south of the border have struggled with how to rise from the ashes after the global financial collapse of 2008, the main challenge I’ve faced as Development Editor (and before that as Managing Editor and Civic Impact Editor) has been choosing which of the myriad of projects unfolding across the GTA to write about. Yonge Street has never had to scramble for story ideas; it’s had to be strategic about sifting through a deluge of them to find projects that are the most innovative, the most engaged in creating a city bursting with public spaces and civic pride. A condo of less than 30 storeys hardly seems worth writing about these days, unless the development meets an incredible LEED standard, creates new parkland or otherwise makes a unique contribution to the community that will host it.
Projects like Diamond Corp’s The Well, covering seven and a half acres at Front and Spadina, the redevelopment of Honest Ed’s Mirvish Village, Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts on the site of the old Guvernment night club and, just last week, Menke Development’s purchase and redevelopment of 11 acres of provincially owned land on the waterfront will be transformative not just in their districts, but for the city as a whole.
And that’s just the private sector. Government-backed partnerships to redevelop Regent Park, the central waterfront and the West Don Lands have already rendered those districts unrecognizable to someone who hasn’t visited lately. And by “unrecognizable,” I mean that thoughtfulness and smarts have swept aside decades of neglect.
Sometimes the rapidity of the GTA’s growth can be worrying. The towers going up like dandelions along Yonge Street from Dundas to Bloor could turn our adorably ramshackle main street into something like a Bay Street wind tunnel. The towers going up on Church Street could make the Village a much less affordable place for young LGBT people just starting out. Liberty Village and the Queen West Triangle have seen their share of uninspired design.
But over the last six and a half years I have seen an increasing conscientiousness among the top developers, and an increasing diligence and vision among city planners (shout out to chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat). To my taste, at least, the projects unveiled in the last three years have been better designed and more thoughtfully integrated into their neighbourhoods than what went up in Yonge Street’s first three years. Given the opportunity, clear expectations and useful community feedback, many developers want to build beautiful buildings and to create resilient, accessible and diverse communities. The latter has become a sales feature.
The increasing amount and quality of public interest and public consultation have pushed our leaders to do better. There has been more collaboration between government and the private sector to build small-business incubators, community hubs, affordable housing, recreational facilities, green space and even schools into new projects. These have been years when great ideas can become reality.
I can sympathize with those who complain, “Not another freaking condo!” The number of wallet-emptying floor-to-ceiling-window glass boxes in the sky is no measure of a healthy, thriving city. But little by little, the bar has been raised. I’m proud Yonge Street has been part of that conversation.
Writer: Paul Gallant

Thriving spaces need more than good design, says Park People report

As the province reviews changes to its growth plans for Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Area and the Niagara Escarpment, the advocacy group Park People is making a case for the importance of creating and sustaining vital public spaces in increasingly densely populated environments.
Its new Thriving Spaces report is something of a toolkit for planners, politicians and other decision makers to get them to think creatively about ensuring that our growing and densifying communities still have space to play and relax. “I also hope that the report places an emphasis on partnerships and people as well as design. We often focus very heavily on design when we talk about parks and public spaces, but the people who use those spaces, the types of activities they want to see there and how they can become more involved in these spaces, need to be considered,” says report author Jake Tobin Garrett, manager of policy and research at Park People.
The report examines 15 case studies, ranging from 11 Wellesley West, used as an example of how to consolidate space while work with developers, to Simcoe Promenade in Markham, used as an example of how linear parks can link residents, retail, and other green spaces. Although ideas that have worked in one community can be borrowed and adapted for other places, rising real estate prices and the density of established communities can create particular challenges.
“It requires planning for new categories of parks such as linear parks and urban squares, but also expanding the scope of the open space network to include opportunities in our infrastructure corridors, schoolyards, streets, and other public spaces,” states the report. “It includes creative designs that leverage adjacent street space as flexible, shared space and all-year amenities that provide people with activities whether it’s hot or cold outside. It also includes new ways of funding and acquiring parkland, whether sharing maintenance costs with nearby property owners or tapping into private donations and sponsorships.”
Tobin Garrett says some municipalities have improved their processes for creating public space, for accommodating varying uses and for taking into account factors like weather. “We do have many months of the year where it’s cold and some of the newer parks and open spaces we’re seeing can be used all year round, and are have active programs in the winter as well as the summer months,” he says.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Jake Tobin Garrett

Bloor Annex BIA shows off new greening plan

Last week the Bloor Annex BIA unveiled its plans to green its patch of Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst.
The initiative will create four parkettes on city-owned rights-of-way, replace the existing raised tree planter with trees at sidewalk level and increase the amount of bike parking along the street. More than 100 people attended the open house and provided feedback on the preliminary designs that landscape architects dtah have been working on since last spring. The plan, 10 years in the making and expected to cost about $1.5 million, started with a growing frustration with the concrete tree planter boxes on Bloor.
“It’s a very busy street, day and night, and these things just get in the way. The attract garbage, they’re unsightly and, this might be the strongest point of all, they don’t allow the trees to grow to maturity,” says Brian Burchell, chair of the BIA. “Various technologies have been developed in recent years where tree pits can be built that allow the root systems to expand where the tree itself can mature and we’re not constantly fighting with Toronto Forestry to get our trees replaced in the planter boxes.”
The parkettes will see asphalts ripped up and replaced by long-lasting wood decking, seating made from Canadian granite, trees and planting that are pollinator-friendly for bees, birds and butterflies.
After going through the feedback from last week’s open house, the designers will come up with more detailed plans on where the trees and the bike parking will go, and what the parkettes will look like. Those plans will be presented to the public in the fall before they are submitted for approval by city engineers by the end of the year; shovels should go in the ground in 2018.
With the city considering approval of a Bloor bike lane pilot project this month, the new bicycle parking seems particularly timely. But Burchell says the improvements are needed just to meet current demands. “In peak usage of cycling, you can’t find a place to park your bike. It’s a problem,” he says.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source Brian Burchell

One Bloor West gets a more refined look

Mizrahi Developments turned a lot of heads last spring when it unveiled its proposal for 1 Bloor West, the long-time home of Stollery’s menswear. At 318 metres, the Foster + Partners building would have been out-heighted only by The CN Tower, soundly beating out the 257-metre One Bloor East building that’s risen across the street.
Last month, Mizrahi presented a refined plan to the city planning department and to the Design Review Panel, taking the height down to 304 metres—72 storeys instead of 84 in order to minimize shadow impact on Jesse Ketchum Park. The density of the proposal has decreased, as has the non-residential floor area and the residential floor area.
The experts on the Design Review Panel, which provides non-binding advice to developers and planners, gave the revised proposal a thumbs up, with six members out of seven supporting the new design. Still, panelists thought there was room for improvement as the project makes its way through the planning process.
“The unique location at a major transit hub and important corner in the city was noted as a huge opportunity for city building and will be a long lasting legacy for the future,” state the minutes. “Many Panel members were appreciative of the general improvements and progression of the design since the first review. As per previous comments, panel advised that the significant scale of the project merits a meaningful contribution, particularly to the public realm and transit connections, and this should progress further.”
The panel suggested developing the design to more sensitively address the existing heritage buildings; enhancing the “civic quality” of the tower base, including improved public connectivity to the TTC subway station; resolving wind control to ensure pedestrian comfort at street level; developing podium facades to achieve greater clarity and resolution; and reconsidering the tower crown proportions to match elegance of the shaft. “Several members commended the potential elegance of the tower, with one member noting the tower as ‘outstanding.’ The clarity of the structural expression was appreciated by several members who noted it to have positively generated the form of the tower,” states the panel. But “several members commented that the top of the tower appears to be squat in an otherwise elegant tower, and the proportions unresolved.”
The heritage impact assessment submitted with the new designs suggested that the building’s podium reflect the scale and massing of the surrounding historic buildings, including structures that will be incorporated. The development site currently has six commercial buildings fronting Yonge Street, ranging from two to three storeys. “The building at 774 possesses heritage attributes with Italianate style features and its facade, and street massing will be incorporated in the development. The remaining buildings have been demolished to permit a larger pedestrian sidewalk combined with retail space.”
 Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City of Toronto, Design Review Panel

City considers requiring more space between tall buildings

How close is too close?
At a public consultation last week, downtown residents got a chance to speak up about the appropriate distances between highrise buildings.
As part of TOcore, a three-year study by City Planning into how to positively manage growth in Toronto’s downtown, the city held a meeting to talk about tower separation. That is, how far tall buildings should be set back from property lines and how much space there should be between two towers on a single site to avoid excessive shadowing, pedestrian-level wind and blocked views.
Recommendations that came into effect in 2013 suggests that there should be a setback of 12.5 metres or greater for all tall building towers from the side and rear property lines or centre line of an abutting lane, and for more than one tower on the same site, the setback should be 25 metres or greater. But the current zoning, which requires a setback of only 5.5 metres, is considered outdated amidst Toronto’s current avalanche of 40-plus-storey towers.
Proposed changes to the official plan would require base building height for tall building development to be consistent with the existing streetwall of the block. The new plan might also restrict tall buildings from being built on small sites. The City Planning department would also like more widespread use of “block planning” where numerous tall buildings are proposed, or where the individual lots are too small to accommodate the required setbacks. “These plans take into consideration where towers could possibly be located on any given block to ensure appropriate tower placement, massing, scale and setbacks,” states the slides presented at the consultation.
“Once we review the comments we’ll start making revisions, work with other community planners who typically review tall buildings and host an online consultation where we’ll post policies and have people comment on them,” says assistant planner George Pantazis, who expects this phase of TOcore to be complete by June. About 20 people gave feedback at the meeting.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: George Pantazis

Downtown residents get early look-see at possibilities for new Wellesley Street park

A new downtown park is a rare thing, especially one of any size.
But this week, residents got a peek at what the 1.6-acre park slated for Wellesley Street between Bay and Yonge streets could look like. Landscape architects dtah presented concepts plans for the park based on what people have so far suggested for the space.
“People have talked a lot about wanting a green oasis, a respite from being in such a dense area. People talked about flexible spaces. For example, spaces that can be used as a market one day, for seating area another day or where kids can run around on another day,” says Corinne Fox, policy and standards development officer with Parks, Forestry and Recreation.
The unique opportunity came out of public demand for a park in the area, and the fact that Lanterra has two other adjacent properties on the block. “And so we were able to combine the parkland dedication of three developments to form a bigger park,” says Fox. Several years ago, Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam had lobbied the province, which had owned the land, to turn it into a park. Instead, it sold to Lanterra, leading Wong-Tam to lobby the developer to create a park next door to its 60-storey condo at 11 Wellesley. Council approved the development and park proposal in 2014. “If Lanterra had not worked with us, where a lot of the park is going to be would be mainly buildings,” says Fox.
Following this week’s consultation, an online consultation later this month and another meeting this summer, Fox says a final plan should be ready by the fourth quarter of 2016, with construction expected to be complete in 2018. The fact that the park will be built on top of a parking garage places some limitations on what form it can take. In 30 or 40 years, everything will have to be ripped up in order to place the parking garage’s water membrane. “That’s just the nature of a stratified park,” says Fox.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Corinne Fox

Marriott's Courtyard Toronto Downtown could be replaced with much taller towers

If Yonge Street south of Bloor already seems like an endless series of excavation and construction sites, a new plan for the site of the Marriott’s Courtyard Toronto Downtown may add even more hustings to the mix.
The address 475 Yonge Street is currently home to the largest Courtyard Marriott in the country, with 575 rooms in two buildings, nine and 16 storeys each, connected by a one-storey commercial podium. The proposal submitted this month by Hunter and Associations Ltd. on behalf of CYM Toronto Acquisition LP, would replace the existing structures with two towers, one 65 storeys, the other 45 storeys, connected by a five-storey podium, all designed by Toronto’s Quadrangle Architects.
 “KingSett Capital and InnVest REIT are pleased to announce major plans to position a key downtown Toronto hotel property for the future,” says Nicholas Lakas, vice president of asset management at InnVest REIT.
The new complex would contain 988 residential units, a 289-suite hotel—about half the rooms of the existing hotel—four levels of underground parking, two stories of retail and commercial property and a mid-block pedestrian promenade on the east side of the property to link streets and open spaces in the community. “In our opinion, two sensitively designed tall towers elements are appropriate for the site and fit this key site along Yonge Street, just north of College Street. It will positively contribute to the downtown skyline, with heights that are compatible with the recently approved buildings,” states the report.
In the meantime, the Courtyard by Marriott Toronto is undergoing a $14-million renovation project to renew all the guestrooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. “The renovation project, scheduled for completion in June, demonstrates ownership’s commitment to the on-going operations of the hotel and the delivery of memorable customer experience to our guests,” says Lakas.
The project is certainly in the middle of a hot development zone. Immediately north, at 501 Yonge, excavation has begun on Lanterra’s TeaHouse, which will have two towers at 52 and 25 storeys each. Across the street at 484 Yonge, Kingsett Capital has a 45-storey tower planned, while just a smidge south at 460 Yonge, Canderel is putting up its 66-storey YC Condos building.
The skyscrapering of Yonge aside, the proposed reduction in the number of hotel rooms on the site is also noteworthy. Just a few blocks further south, a proposal for the Chelsea Hotel submitted last fall would see the existing building at Yonge and Gerrard replaced by four towers—80, 50, 74 and 46 storeys—and one six-storey mid-rise structure. Although that plan would create 1,897 residential units, as well as more commercial space, the number of hotel rooms at the Chelsea would drop to 300 from the 1,590 it now has.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Nicholas Lakas, Planning Rationale Report

Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District approved

Council voted last week to designate the stretch of Yonge Street between Bloor and Carleton/College streets as a Historical Conservation District (HCD), providing increased protection for the area’s architecture and history.
While the plan, currently in draft form, will preserve the look and feel of the area and restrict what many property owners can change about their buildings, Mark Garner, executive director of the Downtown Yonge BIA, says he wish the city could go further to maintain the gritty, indie character of the “old bastion” of Yonge Street.

“This is one of the last remaining sections of downtown that really has those old iconic businesses, retailers that have been there since I was a kid. I think the HCD is a good thing to preserve the heritage component, but for me it may not have enough teeth around protecting the lived experience. What I’m always afraid of is the usual Toronto façade-ism,” he says. “We have to maintain the independent retail space. We’ve done studies that people want to have the small independent coffee shops, the chocolatiers, the butchers, the vegetable and fruit stands that provide a great retail experience.”
The city states the HCD is “not meant to prevent new development or prescribe the style of new development within the district. Rather an HCD Plan allows for the ongoing evolution of a district, while guiding new development to be sympathetic to its character.”
The Downtown Yonge BIA currently only extends to Carleton/College—just outside the new HCD. But the organization expects to absorb Yonge Street south of Bloor, which does not have a business improvement area, within the next year. The BIA would have to balance the more bombastic and chain-oriented Yonge and Dundas area with the quirkier and sometimes seedier stretch north of College. “I think our BIA respects what the neighbourhoods are about so we’re advocating for the right things,” says Garner.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mark Garner

City hosts open house showcasing design options for Bloor bike lane pilot this summer

Almost 40 years after Bloor Street was first identified as an ideal candidate for bike lanes, the city is taking another small step toward making it a reality.
At an open house this week, the city will show off possible designs for a pilot project on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road, opening up the possibility of “Bikes on Bloor” by late summer. After a survey, an earlier open house and many other stakeholder consultations, the city is presenting what it’s calling Option C: a curbside cycle track lane which features separation elements (parked cars or flexiposts) between the bike lane and the traffic lane, as well as between the bike lane and parked cars (the “door zone”). Options A, with no parking lanes at all, and B, with curbside parking have been set aside since the last open house.

 “Bloor and Danforth been sought-after by the cycling community for so long because, as streets in the city of Toronto go, they’re relatively rare: long east-west streets without streetcar tracks that connect a lot of places of origin with lots of destinations, with a vibrant shopping district,” says Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto. The advocacy group has been working on convincing business owners along Bloor and Danforth that bike lanes would be good for them and their customers. They’ve signed up more than 80 businesses who support the project and collected more than 8,000 signatures on its petition.
The city has seriously wrestled with the idea since it commissioned a study in 1992. An earlier environmental assessment of bike lanes on Bloor and Danforth, which was eventually waylaid by Mayor Rob Ford’s administration, was supposed to look at the possibility of bike lanes on more than 20 kilometres of road from Kipling to Victoria Park.
The current initiative is much more bite-sized and, as a pilot project, will be subject to monitoring and re-evaluation. City staff will be making the case that Option C, which will be the focus of Wednesday’s meeting, will provide a more comfortable experience for cyclists, discourage motorists from parking, standing or stopping illegally in the bike lane, provide opportunities to improve the pedestrian environment and streetscape, and eliminate the need for motorists to yield to cyclists to access parking. On-street parking will alternate between the north and south sides to provide “an equitable approach to businesses and residents, and provides drivers with potential parking in either direction.”
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Jared Kolb, City of Toronto

Yonge Street between Bloor & College set to become Historic Conservation District

Grungy and greasy in spots, charming in others, Yonge Street between Bloor and College streets has a tremendous amount of history if you look closely enough.

This spring, City Council will consider a motion to designate that stretch of Toronto’s main street as Historic Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District, which would set out a plan to preserve the look and feel of the area and restrict what many property owners can change about their buildings. Considering the number of developments in progress and proposed for this part of downtown, the designation could have interesting implications.

“A Heritage Conservation District is a planning tool that municipalities use to manage and guide change. It isn’t about freezing a neighbourhood,” says Tamara Anson-Cartwright, program manager of Heritage Preservation Services with the city’s planning department. “The reality is that Yonge Street has a very a dynamic history. This plan recognizes it’s not just about the Victoria buildings, but about the evolution of Yonge Street until the 1960s.”

A draft plan, released in January, was prompted when the Bay Cloverhill Community Association and the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association nominated the area as a Historic Conservation District (HCD). The plan, likely what council will vote on, states that this part of Yonge Street is “valued for its commercial main street character which is expressed, in part, by mixed-use and commercial buildings that housed the services, amenities, and employment opportunities to support daily life in neighbouring residential areas. St. Nicholas Village, and the residential buildings within it, reflects this historic relationship and reinforces [the area’s] sense of place.”

The plan also sets out guidelines for buildings that are listed as contributing to the area’s character. Additions, alterations, maintenance and repair work could only be undertaken after the impact on the area is considered. Contributing façades would have be be preserved. Demolition or removal of buildings or structures on contributing properties would not be permitted and new construction would have to reflect the height and massing of the existing building stock.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Tamara Anson-Cartwright

U of T picks architects for new Civilizations and Cultures building

The University of Toronto’s new Centre for Civilizations and Cultures, proposed for 90 Queen’s Park Crescent, has the daunting task of not only providing a home for a number of academic departments that may not otherwise find themselves rubbing shoulders, but also living up to the standards of the heavy-hitting museums and cultural institutions that will be its neighbours.

“We have a president [Meric Gertler] that’s made an engagement with cities and taking advantage of our physical location a significant priority, so we’ve also been thinking of the outward connections of this building to the campus and to the greater city of Toronto,” says Scott Mabury, vice-president of university operations.

Last week the university announced that Toronto’s Architects Alliance, partnered with New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, have been chosen to design the high-profile new building, to be built on the site once occupied by the Royal Ontario Museum’s McLaughlin Planetarium.

The budget and what the building will look like are still undermined, though a consultation process with tenants, the community and other stakeholders over the next few months should contribute to a preliminary schematic plan by the summer. The two architecture firms were chosen not for a particular design proposal, but after an extensive interview process that evaluated the success of other projects the firms had worked on.

The centre will provide a home for the department of history, the department of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, the Institute of Islamic Studies and the research arm of the Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. It will also feature a 250-seat performance hall for the Faculty of Music.

“Our Faculty of Music sits behind this location, so the recital hall will help give the faculty a presence on Queen’s Park,” says Mabury. “It will give them a gateway onto Queen’s Park, as well as a compelling entrance, taking advantage of the plaza possibilities and doing that in a way that connect the activities in the building with the greater public and the city.”

The architects are also tasked with improving access to Philosopher’s Walk, one of the city’s best-loved hidden secret, which passes by Trinity College, the Royal Conservatory of Music and the ROM.

“We won’t be tinkering with the walk itself but we do think that gem deserves to be accessible. One could imagine folks exiting the ROM or the Gardiner Museum across the street or coming to an event in the Civilizations and Culture building, who might want to finish off their experience with a stroll through Philosopher’s Walk,” Mabury says.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Scott Mabury

Harbord Village Green Plan paves way for un-paving

A new plan to green up Harbord Village could become a template for other Toronto neighbourhoods to replace asphalt and concrete with trees, plants and grass.

“It’s a real breakthrough for us because this will be the first time the city will have rules of engagement over all the paved spaces that have been identified as possible green spaces,” says Sue Dexter, a member of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association and co-author of 2015 Harbord Village Green Plan. “It’s the beginning of a roll-out of a change in the landscape in a significant part of town, which could be replicated wherever there are lanes or flanking spaces.”

Though the area, bounded by Bloor, College and Bathurst streets and Spadina Avenue, has a lot of greenery, it has very little designated park land. The area’s 16 “pinchpoint planters”—concrete structures which narrow streets, signal one-ways and calm traffic—require regular care by residents and are frequently the target of graffiti artists.

The study proposes using “flanking spaces”—the often unoccupied city-owned paved spaces separating commercial and residential zones—for tree plantings, bike parking and seating. “Such spaces are contingent on sight-line priorities for safe routing of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” states the report. “In many places however, especially on corners along Harbord and flanking businesses on Bloor, there are lost opportunities to establish in-ground planting or raised container beds.” The plan also proposes greening some of the neighbourhood’s 25 laneways, starting with Croft Laneway and Sussex Mews.

“I think there will be an increased sense of stewardship and pride in our back spaces,” says Dexter. “People see the front of their house as the public space, so they put in gardens, doll it up. I think that if people realize they’ve also got a rear address to the world, then they’ll see they don’t need to give their rear address over to their automobiles.”

Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina) Councillor Joe Cressy has championed the plan. Dexter says the association is working with him to bring a motion to council that would better coordinate the street paving cycle and ad hoc utility digging to create opportunities to increase green space. Though the initiative may first apply only to Harbord Village, Dexter expects other Toronto residents would want to have access to the same process.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Sue Dexter

Last three Aura at College Park penthouses released for sale

When construction of the Aura at College Park building at Yonge and Gerrard started in 2010, few Torontonians, except the developers and planners, would have guessed the dramatic imprint the 80-storey building would make on the Toronto skyline.
The tallest residential tower in Canada stands apart (and uphill) from the financial district’s skyscrapers, and all the more so since this summer, when they turned on the LED-lighting feature. Designed by Mississauga-based Graziani + Corazza, the bold vertical lines running down the building’s top stories for two hours each night have helped Aura command even more visual attention across downtown.
“It’s been off the charts how much feedback we’ve been getting about the lighting feature. Everyone’s really excited about it, thinking it’s really changed the skyline of Toronto, making it iconic,” says Riz Dhanji, vice president of sales and marketing at developer Canderel Residential, who estimates the feature cost about $1 million. “I’ve been to New York, London and other major cities and haven’t seen anything like it.” (On the other hand, the mall in the Aura’s basement hasn’t gotten nearly such great reviews.)
Though most of Aura’s 994 suites were presold before the building was completed last fall, the three last penthouse units have just been released for sale this week, the last phase of a very, very long rollout. The 80th-floor units range in size from 2,201 to 3,055 square feet and in price from $2.4 million to $3.7 million. Unsurprisingly, they offer fantastic views which Canderel showed off to media during a tour of two of the suites on November 11. “You can’t really appreciate the fact that you’re 80 storeys high unless you see the incredible view. These are really one-of-a-kind suites,” says Dhanji.
Although this is the last big announcement coming from Canderel about Aura, there’s one last amenity residents of the building are waiting on—the city park being redeveloped between Aura and next door neighbourhood College Park. Revitalization of the small square, originally built on top of parking garage in the 1980s, is slated to be completed next spring.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Riz Dhanji

Yabu Pushelberg to receive DXI Award

Toronto’s jet-setting design duo George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg will be recognized for their award-winning design portfolio as DXI 2015 award winners on November 7.

DX Intersection, a fundraiser for Toronto’s Design Exchange now in its fourth year, spotlights excellence in the field. As honorees, interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg joins Frank Toskan, co-founder of MAC Cosmetics, who took home the prize last year.

Here in their home town, Yabu Pushelberg are known for projects like the Avenue Road furniture showrooms, The Room at Hudson’s Bay and the Four Seasons Hotel. But they’ve probably been busiest beyond our borders, working most recently on interiors for Ian Schrager’s Miami Beach Edition Hotel, unveiled during last year’s Art Basel, Lane Crawford flagship women’s fashion store in Hong Kong (and before that Shanghai) and Siwilai retail boutique in Bangkok. Upcoming projects where Yabu Pushelberg will be doing interiors for Four Seasons include in a 185-room hotel in Tribeca, New York, and a 263-room hotel in Kuwait, the first Four Seasons offering in that country.

“With offices around the planet but still residing in the six, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg oversee one of the most recognized design firms in the world,” states the Design Exchange news release.

The duo are also curating “interactive installations and ethereal interventions” at this year’s DX Intersection, which is themed “Kismet.”

Source: Design Exchange
Writer: Paul Gallant

Another Church Street parking lot slated for development

With Church Street’s parking lots heading toward extinction, it looks like Pride Toronto is going to have to find new places to party.
This month Church/Wood Residences Limited Partnership filed for a zoning by-law amendment for a 45-storey mixed use building at 411 Church, at the south-east corner of Church and Wood. The half-acre site is currently a parking lot that’s provided a home to Pride’s South stage for more than a decade. The building as proposed would have a seven-storey base, about the same height as Maple Leaf Gardens across the street, and 583 residential units in a point tower.
“The north and south faces of the building are lined with balconies while the east and west faces are devoid of any balcony expression,” states the planning report filed with the city. “The balconies have a saw tooth profile that alternates from floor to floor creating a honeycomb pattern on the north and south faces. Due to the shifting planes of the balcony faces, the dividers are sloped as they connect between two levels and help complete the architectural expression.”
Pride has two other parking lots where it holds festival events: The parking lot at 15 Wellesley Street East, which is also being considered for redevelopment, and the parking lot at 514 Church Street, which came under new management this summer.
Further south, the parking lot at 412 Church Street, next to what used to be The Barn nightclub, now the Marquis of Granby, is slated for a 32-storey, privately run, student residence building with retail at grade. That building would have a five-storey base with commercial property, with a 27-storey tower with 119 units providing housing for 532 students. In May, City Council voted to oppose this project, which is now before the Ontario Municipal Board. The motion stated the proposal doesn’t conform to the Planning Act or the City of Toronto Official Plan and “represents over-development of the site.”
Construction of a 45-storey condo at 70 and 72 Carlton will eliminate the small private parking lot adjacent to 411 Church, while construction is underway at 365 Church Street as the former parking lot there is turned into a 31-storey condo with 360 residential units.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source, Mark Chlon, Senior Planner
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