An updated Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Amendment Application for 90 Harbour Street / One York has been released that provides an in-depth report on the large-scale development. Put forward by Menkes with architectsAlliance and &Co as project architects, the 44-page document has received approval from city planning, and heads off to council October 10 for ratification. If approved, the tri-tower development will rise on the south side of the Gardiner at York Street, contributing 191,640 square metres of residential, commercial and amenity space to the booming Central Waterfront district. Let’s take a look at some of the changes laid out in the new application. 

One York Street in Toronto by Menkes with &Co ArchitectsTower rendering for One York Street, image courtesy of Menkes

The office tower, located at One York Street, will be 37 storeys, rising 570 feet. The two residential towers have been pared down from two 70-storey towers to 66 and 62 storeys, or 765 and 735 feet respectively. With the decrease in height Menkes has also cut back on the number of units; they dropped 121 units from the previous 1426, bringing them to 1305 units in total.

Building height comparison of Central Waterfront structures in TorontoBuilding height comparison of Central Waterfront structures in Toronto, image from planning application

Of particular interest within the report is the allocation of the Section 37 funds. Section 37 is that part of the Planning Act that establishes guidelines allowing the city to authorize increases in height or density in return for “community benefits” — or cash-in-lieu. Menkes' proposed development far exceeds existing height and density zoning for the site, providing the city an opportunity to demand a hefty return for approval.

There are four major projects outlined in the Section 37 Provisions section. The city requests a cash payment of $10 million in order to facilitate the redevelopment of the York/Bay/Yonge off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway. The off-ramp's redesign is considered a necessity in order to improve the public realm while maintaining current levels of traffic capacity. Of particular impact will be the modification of the York Street loop; the loop will be replaced by a Simcoe Street ramp in order to free up the valuable park space it currently occupies. A proposed rendering for the park has been included.

Proposed York Park Loop at York and Lakeshore Boulevard in TorontoYork loop park now and proposed, image from planning application

The second request within the Section 37 section focuses on the PATH connection that One York / 90 Harbour will include. A pre-approved elevated PATH connection between RBC WaterPark Place III and the Air Canada Centre will bisect 90 Harbour, connecting the growing Southcore and Central Waterfront neighbourhoods to the established financial district to the north. Menkes will be responsible for the north-south portion of the PATH that will cross through the building, as well as a proposed east-west portion that will connect 10, 20 and 40 Bay Streets.

Rendering of elevated PATH connection, image courtesy of Oxford PropertiesRendering of elevated PATH connection, image courtesy of Oxford Properties

The third portion of the request relates the previous building at this location, the 1953 Ontario Workmen’s Compensation Board building, once home to the Ontario Provincial Police. Menkes must incorporate salvaged material from the demolition of the 1953 structure into the new building to the approval of Heritage Preservation Services.

Former Workman's Compensation Building at 90 Harbour Street in TorontoFormer building at 90 Harbour Street, image courtesy of drum118

The final request of the extensive Section 37 section is in regards to Lake Shore Boulevard. The Official Plan requires that Lake Shore Boulevard be a minimum of 45 metres wide in the case that the Gardiner Expressway becomes buried; at this location it is an average 37 metres in width. Menkes will have to provide the additional land required to widen the street to city standards if the Gardiner is torn down, part of the City’s desire to transform the arterial road into an "urban avenue" and two-way boulevard as outlined in the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan.

Worth mentioning is the requirement that a minimum of 10% of the building units be three bedrooms or more; the current unit make-up is 74% one-bedroom or less, 16% two bedroom and 10% three bedroom. Menkes is encouraged to increase the number of family-sized units. As with other developments, a sum equal to or greater than 1% of construction cost must be dedicated to public art.

With the changes made in regards to height, as well as Menkes agreement to meet the extensive Section 37 requests, we don’t see this plan facing much criticism at City Council. We’ve updated UrbanToronto's associated project dataBase as well as the Forum thread to reflect these changes.

Leave a comment below to let us know what you think of this development, or join the conversation on the associated thread.