A public consultation was held by Ward 20 Councillor Adam Vaughan at Metro Hall on April 30th regarding the latest plans for new condo proposals at King Street West at Spadina Avenue. The evening began with a pre-consultation proposal by Diamondcorp to redevelop the Winners site just south of the King-Spadina intersection, and was followed by an update on the Terracap proposal at 401-415 King Street West. Initial impressions by the roughly 45 people in attendance were generally positive regarding both proposals, with the main concerns being parking provisions for both bikes and cars as well as traffic concerns. We have the highlights below.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 context map of 401-415 King St W, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

57 Spadina is a new proposal, shown for the first time to the public. It sits immediately to the south of the gestating 401 King proposal, so Councillor Vaughan asked if some synergies could be found by looking at both developments together. Speaking on behalf of Diamondcorp, David Dow of Diamond Schmitt Architects introduced some of the players who would also be working on the proposal: Janet Rosenburg and Studio, and Allied Properties. Said Dow, "We hope by having a longer dialogue, we have less fighting!"

57 Spadina, Diamondcorp, Toronto, King Street West, King St W, Spadina AveBird's eye rendering of 57 Spadina, copyright 2013 Diamondcorp. Note: 401-415 King W not shown.

The current thinking on 57 Spadina is subject to change, and like the 401-415 King Street West proposal has over the past few years, it too will almost assuredly evolve. In fact for those who attended the April 30th meeting, the details of the 57 Spadina proposal have already changed slightly since then.

The 36 storey, 370 unit building will have a narrow frontage onto Spadina, between the development at 401-415 King St W and the Petro-Canada to the south (the gas station will remain to the south). The initial setback of the base of the building would be at the 12th floor in order to match the 'warehouse' scale that currently exists on Spadina Ave. The current proposal calls for 181 parking spaces—159 residential, 22 visitor—and 380 bicycle parking spots. The unit breakdown would be 265 one-bedroom units, 85 two-bedroom units, and 20 three-bedroom units.

57 Spadina, Diamondcorp, Toronto, Spadina AveGround view rendering of 57 Spadina looking south, copyright 2013 Diamondcorp.

There will be a shared public lane to the north with the Terracap development, and one to the south, which is proposed to be a dead-end lane that would provide access to service vehicles and the underground garage. A good portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing whether the lane to the north that 57 Spadina could share vehicular traffic with the 401-415 King W proposal, but that is still unknown at this point.

They do hope to create a pedestrian-friendly zone on the north laneway; Janet Rosenberg of Janet Rosenberg and Studio showed some examples from around the world that generally focused on lighting and landscaping to provide a safe and comfortable pedestrian experience.

Out front, the developer is currently proposing to give 1.6 metres of their property to add to the right-of-way on Spadina. "We're trying to take that nasty condition, and swing a few more metres back to residents", said Dow.

57 Spadina, Diamondcorp, Toronto, Spadina AveGround view rendering of 57 Spadina looking north, copyright 2013 Diamondcorp.

Like the Terracap proposal to the north, Diamondcorp is suggesting that second storey retail space would be appropriate in their building too, "so it's not a monoculture [of just residential units]; we're really trying to mix in other uses and get some synergies".

While the proposal at 57 Spadina is new to the public, this is the fourth public consultation regarding Terracap's 401-415 King West development, which was initially proposed three and a half years ago. You can read our article about the earlier March 2012 proposal here.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 Rendering of 401-415 King St looking southeast, copyright Diamondcorp

The Terracap proposal on King has not seen sweeping changes to its plans since last year, but there have been several refinements to the proposal. Babak Eslahjou of Core Architects took the audience through the major changes, which are summarized below:

  1. The loading area and parking entrance on the ground floor off the public laneway have been ‘switched’, which will hopefully cause fewer traffic conflicts between the two as trucks load/unload.
  2. The LCBO will be put on the second floor. To quote the architect, “the eureka moment came when we discovered that people will travel for booze”! Other retail tenants have not been approached for the first floor yet.
  3. The third floor—once a combination of residential suites and amenities—is now proposed to be for commercial office use. The undesirability of having this floor for residential was stressed at the previous consultation last year; the amenities previously proposed here have instead been moved to the ninth floor, where the residential terrace between the two towers is located.
  4. Bicycle storage on the fourth and fifth floors has been moved. Rather than having them in two different locations, the storage is instead found together in the middle of the floor, closer to the elevators. The residential units there have been rearranged accordingly.
  5. The building has seen some slight changes to the massing in numerous places. While not final, the current plan creates a slightly wider sidewalk off Spadina, and some small shaving around the towers to create a little bit more setback from the building base. Also significantly, the towers now have a greater separation as the floor plate of the shorter of the two is now one metre narrower.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 rendering of 401-415 King St W looking south, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

The new plans, along with a small side-by-side with the former March 2012 plans for comparison, can be found at the end of this article.

Eslahjou noted that the height of the floors in the new building wouldn’t line up with the old floors in the heritage facade on the east. He expressed the desire to remove the floors in the heritage building lobby to open up the inside, creating a beautiful lobby illuminated by three floors of windows. He suggested that perhaps a coffee shop might also go inside the lobby.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 Rendering of 401-415 King St at street level, copyright Diamondcorp

There are currently no plans to synchronize construction such that 401-415 King W and the new 57 Spadina are built at the same time, largely because the latter is so new and timetables are still very much up in the air. However, Councillor Vaughan is going to look into what the City can do to minimize the impact on the neighbourhood caused by having two buildings so close together under development at the same time.

As the shape of 401-415 King West has changed slightly, there is no current shadow study. With the new proposal at 57 Spadina, the studies will need to be done together to truly measure the impact. While they haven’t settled on an exact colour for the brick to be used on the Spadina tower, they architect said they were thinking of going with a dark colour.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 Rendering of 401-415 King St looking east, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

Floor Plans: click to enlarge

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W ground floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 ground floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W 2nd Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 2nd Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W 3rd Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 3rd Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W 4th Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 4th Floor plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W podium top plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 podium top plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsApril 2013 401-415 King St W tower composite plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

401-415 King Street West, 401-415 King St W, Terracap, Core ArchitectsSide by side of April 2013 and March 2012 tower composite plans, image by Core Architects courtesy of Terracap Management Inc.

What do you think of the two proposals? Leave a comment in the space provided below, or visit either of the dataBase entries linked below from more renderings and information. You can also join in on the discussion via the associated Forum thread links!