The long-awaited renovation and expansion of RioCan and Kingsett Capital's Yonge Sheppard Centre is now well under way at the intersection of Yonge and Sheppard in North York. The project will intensify the site with the addition of a 39-storey residential tower at the north end of the site fronting onto Greenfield Avenue, as well as a major the revitalization of the mall's retail spaces.

The first major step in the Quadrangle Architects-designed project is the exterior demolition of the mall section between the development's original 19 and 9-storey towers fronting onto Yonge Street, as well as the low-rise volumes fronting Sheppard and Greenfield.

Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, Kingsett, RioCan, QuadrangleDemolition viewed from the west on Yonge Street, image by Forum contributor sunnyraytoronto

The renovations and additions will bring the site's total retail area to 474,000 ft², a 106,000 ft² increase from the previous 368,000 ft². The re-imagined retail area will include 50,000 ft² spaces for both a Longo’s supermarket and an LA Fitness, while the expansion will also include new loading facilities, a relocated daycare centre, and an upgraded below-grade parking garage.

Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, Kingsett, RioCan, QuadrangleSoutheast aerial rendering, Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, image courtesy of RioCan/Kingsett

Many retail spaces are still open during the renovation work, with remaining stores recently moved to the west side of the mall as work progresses on the east side. The re-designed interior will put increased focus on pedestrian circulation and ambiance, with wide walkways and ample skylights creating a more open feel than the current narrow, dimly-lit configuration.

Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, Kingsett, RioCan, QuadrangleInterior rendering, Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, image courtesy of RioCan/Kingsett

A 39-storey, 293,000 ft² residential rental tower on Greenfield Avenue at the north end of the site will help to give the complex 24-hour animation with the addition of 400 new homes. The tower component's use of precast concrete on the lower exterior portions aims to create continuity with the complex's existing 1970s-era Brutalist towers. Upon reaching the height of the nearby 19-storey office tower, the cladding will transition to a modern window treatment along the remaining levels.

Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, Kingsett, RioCan, QuadrangleResidential tower, Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, image courtesy of RioCan/Kingsett

One of the most vital elements in the project is the removal of street-fronting moats along the perimeter of the complex. Remaining as vestiges from the initial development, the removal of these moats reflects a changing attitude in the former suburb towards pedestrianization, with a new focus being placed on walkability and pedestrian experience. The extension of the Yonge and Sheppard façades to reach closer to the sidewalk—and the inclusion of ground floor entrances—will give the complex a major street-level presence for the first time in its 40-year existence.

Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, Kingsett, RioCan, QuadrangleYonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion, image courtesy of RioCan/Kingsett

You can check out all of the project's renderings by visiting our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Head over to the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.