East of the Don River, to Leslieville, The Beach, and beyond—to neighbourhoods that until recently were among the last stalwart holdouts of Toronto's early 1900s mix of single-family residential blended with main street retail or light industrial—the wave of redevelopment that has exploded across the city in the last decade has at last begun to catch up, having made some considerable headway in the last few years. This edition of our Growth to Watch For series concentrates on the area from the Don Valley Parkway to Woodbine, from Lake Ontario to the Danforth, covering a range of proposals and new construction from condos to retail and beyond.
While the more newsworthy projects—such as the transformation of Jilly's strip club into the Broadview Hotel, akin to the successful re-imaginings of the Gladstone Hotel and the Drake Hotel to the west—have captured the most attention, there remain a host of projects east of the Don that will soon transform this sizeable chunk of the city, bringing density and new life into areas long overlooked.
Beginning at the Don River and moving east along Queen to Broadview Avenue, the first under construction project in the works for the area is the 24-storey Riverside Square designed by RAW Design for Streetcar Developments, where the build site is currently undergoing the demolition of two structures, one a red brick warehouse dating to the 1920s, the other a rather nondescript, windowless concrete warehouse which will likely not be missed. The site will eventually have quite a number of new buildings, pedestrian-priority streets, and a new park. The first phase of Riverside Square is in sales now.
Meanwhile, north across Queen at Broadview, the historic Broadview Hotel (most recently home to Jilly's) is undergoing an extensive restoration and redevelopment by heritage experts ERA Architects. Working for Streetcar, this site is tied to the Riverside Square development across the street, and will bring the 1891-built Dingman's Hall (converted in 1907 into the Broadview Hotel) back to its former glory while adding a modern extension. Once complete, the expanded Broadview Hotel will feature 57 guest rooms, a ground-level restaurant and lounge, and a rooftop patio.
North of Queen at Dundas and Carlaw, meanwhile, the 8-storey, 96-unit mid-rise The Taylor, another Streetcar Developments project, is nearly complete, and will finished by the end of 2016. A mixture of lofts and towns, the TACT Architecture-designed The Taylor will feature a sprawling layout with varied massing that upon completion will add some modern flair to this stretch of Dundas East.
Moving further east along Queen, between Carlaw and Jones, the recently topped-off, 6-storey Oben Flats Leslieville rental building—designed by superkül for Oben Flats—is awaiting cladding and interior finishes, and will open later this year.
Up Jones Avenue, Lifestyle Custom Homes' One6Nine Jones is set to see construction begin this year. The 4-storey townhouse project—designed by Open Architects—will add 12 units of modest residential density to the area (below). Next door, the former St. Clements Church is slated to begin re-construction at a later date, joining the condo market as deCargani Developments' recently launched St. Leslieville Church Lofts.
Further east again at the intersection of Woodbine Avenue and Queen is 200 The Beach on the northwest corner. To be complete by 2017, demolition is well underway at the site for the 6-storey condo designed by Richard Ziegler Architect for The Riedel Group.
Meanwhile, a couple of blocks to the east, the 6-storey Lakehouse Beach Residences, designed by RAW Design for Reserve Properties has recently been topped-off with cladding and exterior glazing nearly complete.
Up Woodbine at Gerrard, there's another building that's soon to complete. Seen below back on December 25th, Carlyle Communities' Beach Hill Residences, with architecture by RAW Design, will open this year.
Back to Kingston Road and moving east, Aykler Development's similarly named Beach Lofthouses on are also seeing the closing stages of construction this year, with occupancy of the 4-storey building in early 2016.
Nearby, site clearing has paved the way for the start of construction at Beech House, (we're talking the tree this time, named after the local street), a 6-storey Richard Ziegler-designed condominium development by Mitchell & Associates. Construction of the 93-unit building will continue throughout the year.
Finally, Streetcar Developments' The Southwood—also on Kingston Road—will see construction begin this year, with site clearing taking place in late 2015. Launched last year, the TACT Architecture-designed development will bring two 6-storey buildings to the area, a block apart on either side of Kingston Road.
Planning and In Sales
Once again starting at the Don and moving east, projects of various scope and function have entered the planning and pre-construction phase. Beginning with the massive, 30-acre site of of the former Lever Brothers complex at 21 Don Roadway, now known as the Unilever site, and what is one of the largest privately-held parcels of land in the City of Toronto will be up to developers First Gulf who over the next handful of years will transform this former industrial land into something akin to London's Canary Wharf. The first building to be transformed onsite is the former Lever Soap factory, with an update designed by Pellow + Associates Architects.
To the near-immediate SE of the Unilever site, yet another corporate transformation is underway, this time involving the relocation of a FedEx courier facility and warehouse from its current address at Lake Shore Boulevard and Lower Sherbourne, to a sizeable plot of land at 475 Commissioners Street. The new, 7,300 square foot facility, in addition to providing the company with a new office headquarters and state-of-the-art operations warehouse, will make available for sale and redevelopment their former home along the quickly-transforming stretch called the East Bayfront, which in recent years has become home to the Corus Entertainment Building and adjacent Sugar Beach, the new waterfront campus of George Brown College, and Sherbourne Common just across the street.
A little further to the east, at 459/462 Eastern Ave, the light industrial site which includes the Weston Bakery has been purchased by a numbered holding company. Turner Fleischer Architects Inc have been retained for the design of the redevelopment. What will eventually become a 7-4-2-storey mixed-used, residential/commercial/office complex, straddling either side of Eastern Ave just west of Carlaw, will likely incorporate all or some of the Weston Bakery building, ostensibly in an effort to not not break completely with the industrial character of the neighbourhood, for an end result that has the potential to be reminiscent of something in the vein of what has been accomplished on Broadview south of Queen Street. While details are as of yet scarce, it will be interesting to note how this project develops.
More ambitious still, are plans for a large site to the east of the Weston Bakery site, called StudioCentre. It is being developed by SmartCentres, and designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects to bring a collection of new structures to the area, with an emphasis on Toronto's film industry. Anchored around a film studio, Revival 629, the surrounding structures will include offices, retail, and food services, all of which will be in support of an on-site digital media hub purpose-built to support the latest and greatest in film production. A hotel and other amenities are also planned for the site, with the aim of creating a one-stop-shop for future film projects in a city (along, of course, with Vancouver) that has more than earned the right to be known as Hollywood North.
More shopping could be coming to the south side of Lake Shore Boulevard at Leslie, where plans for a brand new, 2,200 square metre SportChek retail store have been submitted for a Site Plan Approval. If approved, the new store would join Canadian Tire and other retailers at the suburban-style big box plaza.
Adding some potential customers, a proposal for a more urban 7-storey, 110-unit condo at 1331 Queen Street East, designed by RAW Design for the Rockport Group, is working its way through the planning process. Results of a January, 2016 hearing at the OMB are not yet known. Whatever is developed here will bring some added density to this still relatively low-rise stretch Queen Street East.
To the east, Toronto's first 6-storey timber-frame residential building is planned: the Quadrangle Architects-designed Heartwood The Beach set to rise at Queen and Woodbine. A Hullmark and Fieldgate Homes project, Heartwood will be Toronto's first residential development to take advantage of new regulations allowing for taller wood-frame buildings.
To the northwest, the area surrounding Gerrard Square could see new development, with an 8-storey condo proposed by Sigma Properties at 354 Pape. Now making its way through the planning process, preliminary renderings of the project depict a distinctive ATA Architects Inc. design. Future residents here could find themselves living at a Relief Line subway and GO RER interchange station.
Further north at Danforth and Woodbine, the 10-storey On the Danforth by Diam Developments has been selling, with its striking south-facing stepped terrace design by Onespace Unlimited meant to attract buyers interested in living along this rejuvenating, rapid-transit-served corridor.
While it would seem that the rate of development east of the Don has no bounds, there are, as always, a small collection of projects that for whatever reason, cannot seem to get off the ground. The first of two stalled projects, a 6-storey mixed-use building was proposed back in 2014 for 759-763 Queen Street East to be designed by KAVE Architects, which would go up adjacent to the popular Opera House music venue and would feature commercial uses on the ground floor, and 29 residential units above. The project would utilize a parking sorter system to serve the building's 11 parking spaces, which would be accessed via June Callwood Way to the rear of the site. For now, the plan is still awaiting approval with further details yet to come.
Meanwhile, further to the east along Queen at 45 Connaught Ave, between Greenwood and Coxwell, plans for the 4-storey Loft 45, designed by Quadrangle Architects for Berkshire Axis Development, has similarly gone quiet with few details as to when development may resume.
That's it for the 2016 Toronto East of the Don edition of our Growth to Watch For series. Please stay tuned for UrbanToronto's next instalment, and feel free to check the link for all of our previous editions. Have a neighbourhood in mind for the next edition? Let us know in the comments section below.
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