A large-scale development has been proposed for the intersection of Yonge Street and Major Mackenzie Drive in Richmond Hill, and we have the renderings and preliminary information from the urban design brief to share with you today. The proposal has been submitted by Baif Developments, with Hariri Pontarini as project architects and has been called Baif Don Head, according to the architects website.

Baif Don Head in Richmond Hill by Baif Developments and Hariri Pontarini ArchSite map for Baif Don Head

The proposed development has been divided into two development blocks: a linear block on Yonge Street between Harding Boulevard and Hopkins Street, and a square block located on Major Mackenzie on the west side of Atkinson Street. The block directly located on the southwest corner of Yonge and Major Mackenzie is occupied by the Richmond Hill Public Library; the design brief states that the town hall will be relocated to this intersection in the future. North of Yonge and Major Mac is historic Richmond Hill Main Street, a stretch of Yonge that contains a variety of heritage buildings.

Baif Don Head in Richmond Hill by Baif Developments and Hariri Pontarini ArchYonge Street block rendering, courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

The Yonge Street block would be primarily residential with at-grade commercial use. Eight-storey buildings would front onto Yonge Street, with three towers of 20, 28 and 31 storeys rising behind, increasing in height from south to north. Two private roads would be constructed west off of Yonge Street, dividing the block into three parcels and connecting Yonge to Addison Street. Behind the towers would be three 10-storey residential buildings facing onto Addison Street, across from the existing 12-storey apartment towers.

Baif Don Head in Richmond Hill by Baif Developments and Hariri Pontarini ArchMajor Mackenzie block rendering, courtesy of Hariri Pontarini

The Major Mackenzie block is notably different than the Yonge Block, consisting of a single perimeter-block building that features extensive terracing and would be exclusively residential. The design peaks at nine storeys, wrapping around a publicly accessible courtyard, with an entrance located on Addison Street across from the existing civic block.

Baif Don Head in Richmond Hill by Baif Developments and Hariri Pontarini ArchPedestrian Spire rendering, courtesy of Hariri Pontarini

Of emphasis within the proposal are the sightlines that would be established looking towards the new civic centre, as well as a strengthening of the pedestrian realm with new streets and public spaces. A "pedestrian spine" would run north-south through the Yonge Street Block (bisecting the towers and the 10-storey mid-rises), connecting Harding Boulevard to the south with the public library to the north. Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg have produced preliminary drawings of the proposed public parks that would act as a buffer between Yonge Street and the development.

Baif Don Head in Richmond Hill by Baif Developments and Hariri Pontarini ArchFull project rendering, courtesy of Hariri Pontarini

For those unfamiliar with Richmond Hill, these street names and the existing landscape will be relative jumble of information. However, the project is of great interest because of the density it proposes for this intersection. For those who know the area, this proposal will come as either good or bad news, depending on how you think Richmond Hill should be developing. We've created a dataBase listing for the project below that includes all renderings from the design brief, as well as a link to the associated project forum. Forum member Solaris relayed that the official plan and zoning by-law amendment was refused as of May 18; no sign of any case currently open with the OMB as of today, however we expect to see this proposal work its way through the system.