In recent years, the intersection of Yonge and Bloor has been the site of some of Toronto's tallest proposals and construction projects, with the 76-storey 1 Bloor East—now topped off—potentially set to be neighboured by the 84-storey The One. The surrounding Bloor-Yorkville area has also been a hotbed for new development, as a glut of point towers re-shapes the neighbourhood into one of Canada's foremost high-rise clusters. Now, a new Menkes Developments proposal at 771 Yonge Street—just north of Bloor—calls for a slender 49-storey residential tower to rise immediately across Asquith Avenue from the Toronto Reference Library. 

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsA view of the west and north elevations, image courtesy of Bousfields Inc.

Located at the southeast corner of Yonge and Asquith, the Wallman Architects-designed tower would see the heritage building at 771 Yonge retained and restored, with the residential entrance—and new retail—fronting Asquith Avenue. The 322-unit tower would rise to a height of 154.1 metres, with a 7.0 metre mechanical penthouse taking the total height to 161.1 metres. Proposed unit configurations would see the project add 46 bachelor, 92 one bedroom, 92 one bedroom + den, 46 two-bedroom, and 46 two-bedroom + den, suites to the market. 

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsAn early rendering, looking southwest, image retrieved from Menkes' submission to the City of Toronto

With a floorplate of 493 m², the point tower's slim form is—according to the Planning & Urban Design Rationale provided by Bousfields Inc.—"substantially lower than the recommended standard of 750 m²." Set atop a three-storey podium, the tower would be set back 10 metres from the west property line at Yonge, and approximately 4.5 and 4 metres from the north and east property lines respectively. 

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsThe site as it appears now, image retrieved via Google Maps

Due to the relatively small footprint (954.4 m²) of the site, the separation between the new tower and the 34-storey Hudson Bay building to the south would only be 10 metres. (The new development would share a wall with the former Alfred Britnell Bookstore—now a Starbucks—at 665 Yonge, which would effectively be tucked between the two high-rise towers.) With the City of Toronto's Tall Building Guidelines setting out an optimal tower separation of 25 metres, the site's very tight configuration could prove a contentious issue in the approvals process.

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsThe site sits in the "height ridge" north of the "height peak," image courtesy of the City of Toronto

In terms of height, the site sits just north of the Yonge-Bloor "height peak" set out in Area Specific Policy 211. Located in the "height ridge" that surrounds the intersection itself, the 49-storey tower would rise above the 132-metre 2 Bloor East to the south. However, with a number of taller projects currently underway further north—including the 58-storey 1 Yorkville tower just up Yonge—the height of the development is in similar in scale to some of the recently approved towers in this area of the height ridge. 

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsAn overview of the heights of existing and planned built form, image courtesy of Bousfields Inc.

The second floor of the restored heritage structure at 771 Yonge would house some of the residential amenities, which would also be spread out across the third floor of the podium. Of the total 23,636 m² GFA proposed, 188 m² would also be given over to new retail fronting Asquith Avenue, while 132 m² of existing floor area is slated to be retained for a total of 320 m² of non-residential GFA. In total, the new density proposed is 24.8 times the size of the lot. 

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsLooking northeast on Yonge, image retrieved from Menkes' submission to the City of Toronto

No automobile parking is planned for the development, while a total of 330 bicycle spaces are proposed, meeting the City's minimum requirement of a 1/1 ratio of units and bicycle spots. Below grade, a single underground level would provide a direct connection to the Hudson Bay complex to the south. The project also includes landscaping by the NAK Design Group, with outdoor greenery seen above the second level.

771 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Menkes, Wallman ArchitectsA closer look at the ground level on Asquith Avenue, image retrieved from Menkes' submission to the City of Toronto

Given the early stage of these plans, the proposal is subject to potential significant change as the approvals process unfolds. We will keep you updated as new information continues to become available. In the meantime, our dataBase file features additional information, while a discussion of the proposal is already underway in the Forum. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the conversation in our associated Forum thread.