This week, UrbanToronto's annual Growth To Watch For series continues with another overview of the new and ongoing development expected to impact Toronto's nieghbourhoods this year. Picking up where we left off in last week's Bloor West coverage, we move east of Bathurst to look at projects northwest of Downtown in The Annex, Chinatown, and the University of Toronto area.  

Like much of the city, these areas are experiencing an influx of new residential density, with taller buildings gradually re-shaping the urban fabric of many local streetscapes. However, compared to areas like the Entertainment District, where an entire new landscape is being created by high-rises replacing former vacant lots and adapted industrial architecture, these long-established neighbourhoods are experiencing more incremental growth.

In lieu of the radical density increases seen across some parts of the city, the areas northwest of Downtown—ranging approximately from Queen to Dupont between Bathurst and University/Avenue Road—are evolving more gradually, often in an effort to preserve the social and architectural character of established neighbourhoods. While most of the projects underway do not number among the city's tallest or most talked about, many of these projects will nonetheless have significant impacts on their surroundings. 

Completing and Topping Off

Beginning along the Queen West corridor, 2016 will see the revitalization of Alexandra Park continue to take shape, with Tridel's Teeple Architects-designed SQ Condos set to be completed this year. SQ is the first condo development as part of the mixed-income revitalization project, with the 14-storey mid-rise featuring a boxy cubist design and plenty of amenities. Construction has now reached the fifth floor, so we can look forward to it topping off sometime in 2016. Progress of the Alexandra Park revitalization will continue with the second phase of condos by Tridel and Teeple Architects, SQ2 Condos, set to begin construction before the year's end.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016SQ Condos and Alexandra Square, image retrieved from Tridel's live construction camera

Also rising in the Alexandra Park neighbourhood, Ideal Developments' Dragon Condos has topped off and is moving toward completion at the corner of Spadina Ave. and Willison Square. The 10-storey, Young + Wright / IBI Group Architects-designed mid-rise will bring 95 units to the bustling stretch of Spadina, providing ground-level retail and a rooftop patio. Adding to this burgeoning neighbourhood in the heart of Chinatown, look for the building's opening sometime this year.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016Dragon Condos captured on January 21st, image by Jack Landau

Moving north to the intersection of Spadina and College, University Place is rising quickly out of the ground, having risen more than seven storeys from the end of last year. The Knightstone development designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects will reach 24 storeys and add a host of new student oriented residential units to the area, bringing high-rise density to the popular intersection. As the building continues rising and making its presence known in the predominantly low-rise neighbourhood, look for the tower to top off sometime in 2016.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016University Place captured on January 21st, image by Jack Landau

A little further west along College Street, Tribute Communities' The College Condominium has topped off at its full height of 15 storeys. The Core Architects condo development will add 226 new residential units to the busy Kensington/Chinatown area. Cladding continues to be installed as it moves toward completion.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016The College Condominium captured on January 21st, image by Jack Landau

Also in the Kensington area, the smaller scale 335 College inches toward completion. The narrow, four-storey residential building designed by George Popper Architect has topped off and is receiving its final exterior finishes.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016335 College captured on January 21st, image by Jack Landau

An exciting new addition to Queen's Park Circle is progressing quickly as University of Toronto's Jackman Law Building Expansion works toward a 2016 completion. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and B+H Architects, the gently curving form of the building is fully constructed as cladding continues to be installed on all facades. The new building, complete with the restored neoclassical 1902 Flavelle House, will added 66,000 sq. ft. for the Law faculty, including a 210-seat lecture hall, seminar rooms, a student lounge, and food services. This addition looks to add a new architectural gem amongst some of the city's best on the university campus.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016Jackman Law Building Expansion captured in late-December, image by Vik Pahwa

Finally, moving to the North Annex, Burnac Corporation's 6-storey boutique condo building at 277 Davenport has topped off and aims for completion before the end of the year. The Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed low-rise development will bring 10 spacious luxury condos to the quiet neighbourhood.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016277 Davenport captured on December 25th, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor salsa

Continuing Construction

Moving back to Queen West, excavation continues on Urban Capital Property Group and Malibu Investments' Smart House just west of University Avenue. The 25-storey architectsAlliance-designed tower is bringing the concept of micro condos to Toronto, with small but efficiently designed spaces available in a variety of configurations. Stay tuned as this building begins to rise out of the ground in 2016.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016Smart House excavation captured on January 27th, image by UrbanToronto Forum owner Edward Skira

Moving north, the Alexandra Park Revitalization is taking shape as construction continues through 2016. Following the success of the Regent Park revitalization, a partnership between Toronto Community Housing Corporation and Tridel hopes to see a total of over 800 new and renovated rental units and over 1500 condo units added by project's end. The multi-phase development is currently in Phase 1, with LGA Architectural Partners' townhouses receiving their final cladding, and Teeple Architects' SQ Condos, as previously mentioned, slated to be topping off later this year. Tridel's SQ2, now in sales, could ago under construction later this year.

Heading over to University of Toronto's downtown campus, two exciting projects are making their mark as the institution continues its recent expansion. First, the highly-anticipated relocation of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design to the former Knox College at the centre of Spadina Circle is progressing with the three-storey, 100,000 sq. ft. modern addition rising at the rear of the building. The project is designed by Boston-based NADAAA, with ERA Architects overseeing the rehabilitation of the historic property.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016U of T: John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture captured in late-December, image by Vik Pahwa

Another welcome addition to University of Toronto's downtown campus is the new Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, currently with excavation well underway. Designed by Montgomery Sisam Architects, look for the building to rise above grade sometime in 2016.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016U of T: Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship captured on January 21st, image by Jack Landau

Jumping over to the Annex, excavation is nearing completion at the site of Mansouri's Perry Condos. The 11-storey mid-rise building, designed by Young + Wright / IBI Group Architects, will add 45 luxury boutique condos on a quiet side street in the north Annex.

 Growth to Watch for in 2016Site of The Perry in late-November, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor salsa

Future Growth to Watch For

A host of new projects are slated for Chinatown, University of Toronto, and the Annex areas. Spadina Avenue continues its densification with a proposal at 170 Spadina just north of Queen, currently working its way through the planning process. There was much talk last year about Mountain Equipment Co-op's proposed move, as they will be relocating from their iconic King Street location north to a vacant parking lot at the corner of Queen and Soho. The intersection of College and Spadina is also seeing a flurry of denser proposals, though the status of many of them remain unknown. Potential developments in this area include a mid-rise building at 333 College Street at Augusta; a mid-rise building at 484 Spadina just north of College; Design Haus, a mid-rise proposal at College and Huron; and 243 College Street, a 30-storey high-rise building neighbouring Knightstone's previously mentioned University Place.

Perhaps the area that will undergo the most drastic change in the coming years is along McCaul Street near OCAD. With the design revealed just this past year, Grange Park will be undergoing a revitalization, with construction beginning later this year, targeted for completion in 2017. Form Condos, a mid-rise building located near the southeast corner of the park along McCaul, is currently working its way through the planning process, with a re-application submitted to the City back in December. 

Proposal for Form Condos, design by architectsAlliance for TridelProposal for Form Condos, design by architectsAlliance for Tridel

Possibly the most exciting proposal in this area was unveiled at the most recent Design Review Panel with Artists' Alley, a massive mixed-use multi-tower redevelopment stretching between McCaul and Simcoe Streets south of Dundas. Stay tuned as we wait for updates on how these proposals will reshape the Grange Park neighbourhood.

Not to be outdone, the Annex is also seeing plenty of activity in Toronto's development scene. A proposal for 316 Bloor West aims to build a 42-storey residential tower near Spadina Station, but having ran into local opposition, the project is headed for a hearing at the OMB. Further north, a slew of new mid-rise buildings along Dupont are working their way through the planning process: watch for activity on projects at 740 Dupont, 420 Dupont and 275 Albany, 328 Dupont, 350 Davenport, and 342-346 Davenport. Finally, in the heart of the Annex, plans for a nine-storey residential mid-rise at 10-14 Prince Arthur have recently been thrown into question, with a For Sale sign appearing on the property at 10 Prince Arthur. 

Our Growth to Watch For series will continue soon with an overview of the development coming to the St. Clair Avenue West corridor, covering everything from north of the railway line to just shy of the Eglinton Corridor. To catch up with our series so far, check out our previous GtWF stories about Bloor West, the Entertainment DistrictSouthwest Toronto, and Etobicoke South.

What do you think of the projects that are transforming this area? Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or join in on the conversation on one of our associated Forum threads. For additional information, check out our dataBase files (linked below) and Forum threads.