Northwest of the Highway 427 and QEW interchange, a mixed-use community fronted by high-rise towers could replace an Etobicoke strip mall, office, and big box retail complex. For a city where density often swings quickly and decisively between two extremes, the proposed rezoning and Official Plan Amendment (OPA) for 1750 The Queensway is among a series of recent proposals for new master-planned communities that would dramatically intensify sites throughout Toronto.

1750 The Queensway, Toronto, by Fima Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsA 3D view of the site, image via Google Maps

Planned by Quadrangle Architects for Fima Developments, the latest elements of the Etobicoke application were tabled to the City of Toronto in late October of 2016. The recent submission advances a proposal that dates back to 2013, when plans for redevelopment of the site were first put forward to the City. Building on a submission considered incomplete by the City, new documents provide greater contextual detail for the project, with a more robust planning rationale attempting to justify the proposal, with particular regard to affordable housing policies. 

In terms of the brick and mortar plans, the new submission maintains the urban design concept and site plan laid out in 2013. The highest density is still reserved near the intersection of North Queen and The Queensway, however, where the Phase One trio of residential towers is planned. Rising to 27 storeys each, three towers would set a height peak for the area, surrounding the existing strip mall, which would remain in operation following the completion of the first three towers.

1750 The Queensway, Toronto, by Fima Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsThe Master Plan for the site, image via submission to the City of Toronto

As part of a later phase, however, the strip mall and its parking lot would make way for a 36-storey tower, which would be the site's tallest building. The new skyscraper would be neighboured by another 27-storey tower, with the new east-west private road—extended through the south end of the site as part of Phase One—altered to accommodate the new buildings.

Although unit counts for the later buildings have not yet been specified, the three Phase One towers would feature a total of 904 condominium suites. Meanwhile, commercial retail space would fill out most of the ground level for the rather expansive base buildings that land each slender point tower, with the same general configuration set to be carried over to the two final towers.   

1750 The Queensway, Toronto, by Fima Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsA conceptual rendering of the Phase One towers, image via submission to the City of Toronto

North of the 36-storey height peak meanwhile, a series of mostly low and mid-rise non-residential buildings are also set to follow the three Phase One towers. Tucked between two 27-storey towers, a 14-storey hotel tower tops a four-storey commercial office building. Further north, another four office buildings—each six storeys tall—would front an extension of North Queen Street, while an additional single-storey retail plaza is planned at the west end of the site. Public space and surface parking is spread across the north end of the site, with another two new roads connecting to the North Queen extension. 

Despite its relatively long history, the development technically remains at a relatively early stage of the planning process, with only the first three towers currently under consideration. While the 2013 submission provided a general overview of the project's planning context, City Staff concluded that the proposal left number of policies unaddressed.

1750 The Queensway, Toronto, by Fima Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsSite plan for the three Phase One towers, click for a closer view, image via submission to the City of Toronto

With the Sherway area to be subject to a new Secondary Plan, a variety of policies—some of which pre-date amalgamation—govern the scope of development for the site, while the Official Plan's more general policies also apply. According to the City, the 2013 proposal was contentious with regards to the affordable housing provisions of both set of policies.

Under the City of Toronto's Official Plan, sites exceeding 5 hectares in size are subject to Policy 3.2.1.9, which outlines that "the first priority community benefit will be the provision of 20 per cent of the additional residential units as affordable housing. This affordable housing contribution may take the form of affordable housing constructed on-site or the conveyance of land in the development to the City for the purpose of affordable housing, or, at the discretion of the City."

While the City regarded the Phase One plans as part of a 6 hectare parcel—which covers the south end of the total 9-hectare site—site the developers are arguing for the first three towers to be considered as part of a 3-hectare site, excluding some of the lands which are to be developed at a later date. Crucially, the new submission argues that the project should be exempt from Official Plan Policy 3.2.1.9.

1750 The Queensway, Toronto, by Fima Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsEast elevation for tower A2, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Similarly to the above policy, the Province's regional Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe calls for a greater diversity of housing types than proposed—including rental and affordable ownership—though the developers argue that these targets (which are perceived as overly vague) ought pertain to municipalities rather than individual sites. The new submission makes a number of additional planning arguments—many of which do not relate to affordable housing—in relation to both site-specific and general policies, including the Secondary Plan now being formalized following City Council's endorsement of the Sherway Area Study in December of 2016.

With the planning process now underway again, we will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project evolves. In the meantime, more information can be found via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the space on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our Forum.