Most of the 150 or so cranes that rise into the air above Toronto are drawing towers into our skyline, but not every construction site in town is appropriate for a high-rise. The City also wants to see development that's more appropriate for our main streets where two, three, and four storey buildings have dominated over the years, and where stable neighbourhoods of two-storey homes are nestled in behind.

These streets, as is the case with College Street through Little Italy, are wider than the neighbourhood streets, are served by transit, and are where people congregate and bring their neighbourhoods to life. Toronto has identified these stretches as 'Avenues' and zoned them for mid-rise redevelopment, with retail at street level and residential above.

IT Lofts under construction on College Street in TorontoIT Lofts under construction on College Street in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood, image by UT Forum contributor drum118

IT Lofts, now being developed by Worsley Urban Partners and under construction along the north side of College Street just west of Rusholme Road, is the type of building the City is looking for the 'Avenues'. Designed by RAW with interiors by UNION31, the building which fills a gap in College's street wall, will be 7 storeys high. Its ground level retail will knit together burgeoning retail and restaurant strips to the east and west, while the residential units will bring more people to the area to patronize these new retailers and existing ones nearby.

IT Lofts under construction on College Street in TorontoIT Lofts under construction on College Street in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood, image by UT Forum contributor drum118

As is the case with the new towers that are rising in Toronto's Downtown and at main intersections, redevelopment pressure is taken off land on the GTA's edges and surrounding cities with every new mid-rise building built on Toronto's Avenues, and a more vibrant city is the result.

IT Lofts should top off late this summer. For information about the 56-unit building and renderings of how it will look when complete, check out UrbanToronto's dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get in on the conversation? Choose the associated Forum thread link, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.