Our Growth to Watch For series continues west from our trip along Dupont, St Clair, and Eglinton West as we venture into the northwest corner of the city, taking a look at development occurring throughout north Etobicoke and the western edge of North York. An often overlooked area of the city, development has indeed found its way into the region with a variety of new projects of different uses and scales on the way. The area may also be in a good position for future development given new transit projects in the area, with the Finch West LRT breaking ground, the Crosstown LRT under construction, and talk of an extension of the line westward along Eglinton to Pearson Airport.
Our journey begins at Eglinton and Black Creek Drive, arching west and north through Etobicoke before heading back east, and then south along Weston Road, where we will give an overview of all projects about to be completed, progressing through construction, or working their way through the various stages of the planning process.
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We start at the terminus of the Crosstown LRT, with the site for the new Mount Dennis Station at the corner of Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive nearly prepped and ready for construction. 2016 was a big year for the massive transit project, with tunnelling of the central section completed, and the successful heroic move of the heritage Kodak Building at the Mount Dennis site. In addition to connections with GO and bus routes, Mount Dennis Station will also be home to a maintenance and storage facility for the Crosstown vehicles. Look for construction to get underway shortly.
Heading west a couple of kilometres, and over the Humber River, a proposal at 45 La Rose Avenue, just northwest of Eglinton and Scarlett Road, would see a 7-storey residential building constructed as an infill to a high-rise apartment site. Headed by Richview Developments and designed by Turner Fleischer Architects, the building would contain 187 new units while maintaining the existing 16-storey rental apartment tower on site.
Along Eglinton Avenue West, a series of developments are planned or being built on easement lands previously held by the City since the post-war era for the potential construction of an extension of Highway 403, known as the Richview Expressway, that would have transformed Eglinton into a highway between the 401 in the west to the planned Highway 400 extension through the Black Creek Valley in the east. Several years ago, the lands were transferred to Build Toronto and sold off, the results of which are beginning to materialize in the open space along the avenue.
One such development to take advantage of the freed up space is a rather massive proposal by Lanterra Developments for the Plant World site at 4000 Eglinton, just east of Royal York Road, which would see a complex of five residential towers constructed measuring in at 33, 30, 27, 24 and 18 storeys. Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, the entire development would add roughly 1,900 new residential units with ground-level retail to the high-rise apartment neighbourhood. The rezoning application for this project is currently at the OMB, with Plant World announcing it would continue operating on the site for just over two more years.
Continuing westward, a proposal by Shannex for a 9-storey seniors' residence at 4650 Eglinton near Kipling Avenue is currently seeking Site Plan Approval. Named Parkland Eglinton, the proposal is located on a former Build Toronto site, where an initial proposal for a low-rise subdivision submitted in 2013 was recently revised to the current plans, which received rezoning approval late last year. Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects and Robertson Simmons Architects, the two 9-storey buildings connected by a 5-storey central wing will contain 272 rental units geared toward seniors, with a daycare located on the ground floor.
At the intersection of Kipling and Eglinton avenues, National Homes' The Townes of Richview is wrapping up construction, with the complex of 68 three-storey townhomes set to be completed sometime this year.
Taking a quick detour south of Eglinton, an infill proposal by Minto for the former Kipling Grove Public School site at 19 Glen Agar Drive is currently working its way through the planning process. Located in the heart of a low-rise residential neighbourhood, the development by RN Design would replace the school and yard with 12 single detached houses, 72 rear-loaded 3-storey townhouses, 28 two-storey standard townhouses, and a 937 square metre (0.2 acre) public park, totalling 112 new residential units.
Jumping back up to Eglinton, another townhouse project located in the former expressway easement is underway just west of Kipling Avenue with Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes' Widdicombe & Eglinton Condos. Designed by TACT Architecture and RN Design, Phase 1 of the sprawling complex of 3-storey townhouses was completed last year, with construction of Phase 2 currently underway.
Not to be forgotten, a pair of commercial developments in the employment lands around Highway 27 show that development in the city is not just limited to residential uses. Two additions to a self-storage facility at 55 Kelfield are planned to rise one and three storeys (this building backs onto the 401 between 27 and Martin Grove), while a two-storey office building at 2 International Boulevard is being proposed to replace the existing low-slung modernist two-storey office building on the site.
Heading north on Highway 27, Woodbine Race Track has been the subject of development speculation over the past decade, as Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) attempts to develop 680 acres of vacant land around the racetrack. Initially, a massive tourist destination dubbed Woodbine Live! was proposed, which would have created a retail, entertainment, restaurant, and nightclub district, with office and retail components built during a second phase. This proposal died in 2013 when WEG split with developers Cordish, but more recently, an expansion of the existing facilities was approved in 2015 to add more slot machines, while a proposal for a 5000-seat concert venue designed by BBB Architects is in the works in partnership with Trinity Development Group. Furthermore, the site is speculated to be the location of a new casino complex, with several casino developers interested in pursuing the project. Hopefully more updates will be coming throughout the year on what eventually may become Toronto's newest entertainment hotspot.
Across the street from the race track, new owners of the Woodbine Centre have revealed ambitious redevelopment plans for the ailing mall, calling for an expansion of the existing building along with the development of the surrounding vacant lands. Little is known about the project at this point, but early renderings call for additional retail, an entertainment complex complete with theatres, a new hotel and conference centre, a food hall and supermarket, and a host of new condominium towers. It is unclear how much traction this proposal has, but taken together with the Woodbine Race Track redevelopment, this area could be undergoing a massive makeover in the near future.
Opposite the Woodbine Centre, a condo development by Royal Grand Woodbine Developments at Queen's Plate Drive and Rexdale Boulevard, dubbed The Lexington, is currently under construction. Designed by Turner Fleischer Architects, the 17-storey 126-unit building is nearing completion will likely be opening later this year.
In addition, a rezoning application has also been submitted late last year for Phase 2 of The Lexington, which would see a 13-storey 125-unit tower constructed to the north of Phase 1. Both buildings back on the greenery of the Humber Arboretum, one of Toronto's most expansive parks.
A little further north along Highway 27, the Etobicoke General Hospital is undergoing a major renovation and expansion. The project is headed by Infrastructure Ontario and designed by HDR Architects, and features a 250,000-square-foot (23,200-square-metre) 4-storey expansion, along with a 17,000-square-foot (1,580-square-metre) renovation to the existing building. Construction on the addition is currently well underway, with the poured concrete structure slowly rising out of the ground. Look for significant progress to be made over the course of the year.
Heading northeast to Albion Road and Kipling Avenue, a colourful addition to the neighbourhood is nearly complete, with Albion District Library's new building set to open later this year. The eye-catching design by Perkins + Will is replacing the existing 1973-built branch building with new and improved facilities and expanded community services. The former library building will be demolished once occupation is complete to make way for a multi-functional paved surface, doubling as a parking lot and open space for community events.
Heading east on Finch Avenue, we cross over the Humber River and into North North, and turn north on Islington Avenue, heading a long block north to The Step Condos. In sales and making its way through the planning process, Step is a 5-and-a-half-storey mid-rise condo by Terranata Developments. Designed by Jonathan Weizel Architect, the terraced building features a series of stepbacks bringing the scale of the building down towards the east where it backs onto a mature low-rise neighbourhood.
Returning to Finch Avenue, we make our way further eastward to the Emery Village area of North York, where a rather substantial rental development on the southeast corner at Weston Road is adding substantial new density. Phase 1 of Medallion Properties' Casa development currently wrapping up construction here. Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, the complex of three towers rising 10, 10, and 28 storeys comprises 634 units and is set to be completed later this year.
In addition, Phase 2 of Casa is currently going through the rezoning process, and would add two more towers of 22 and 27 storeys, totalling 540 additional units. Future phases are planned for the lot immediately to the north as well, with Phase 3 adding two buildings of 8 and 12 storeys totalling 270 units, and Phase 4 adding three more buildings of 8, 8, and 12 storeys totalling additional 310 units.
Making our way south along Weston Road, The Brownstones at Westown is still undergoing construction, as the sprawling townhouse development at Weston and Sheppard Avenue has added modest density to an underused site. Headed by Lindvest and designed by RN Design, the majority of the site has already been developed, but a few more townhouses and retail components are still on their way to round out the new neighbourhood.
Jumping south of the 401, a residential proposal by Dov Capital Developments is looking to redevelop an industrial site at 8 Oak Street just east of Weston Road. Across Knob Hill Drive from a grocery and big box shopping complex, the development is designed by Michael Spaziani Architect and is comprised of fourteen 3-storey townhouse units, two 8-storey mid-rises with 182 and 185 units, a 6-storey retirement home with 128 units, and a 3,363-square-metre (36,200-square-foot) public park. The project is a recent resubmission of a previous proposal for a community of only townhouses on the site, and is currently making its way through the planning process.
Moving south into Weston Village, construction is nearing completion on yet another townhouse development with First Avenue Properties' W Towns, a 48-unit townhouse project on Weston Road. The 3-storey townhouses are designed by pml.A, are set to be completed in the coming months, and will contribute to a revitalization now getting going in the heart of Weston.
The revitalization should really take hold a couple blocks further south in the heart of the village, where a new development by the Rockport Group in partnership with the City of Toronto is adding a 30-storey rental tower and Artscape hub on the site of a vacant parking lot at 22 John Street and 33 King Street (not to be confused with the downtown roads of the same name).
Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, the proposal would see 370 rental units constructed alongside 7 new townhouses and a 1,200-square-metre (12,900-square-foot) public space, which would provide for an enhanced summertime Weston Village Farmer's Market. In addition, the rear portion of the podium of 33 King Street will be repurposed into a 760-square-metre (8,200-square-foot) Artscape Weston Hub, as well as a self-storage facility. Excavation is just getting started on the site, so look for the building to peak above grade by the end of the year.
South of Weston and Lawrence, a proposal by the private non-profit developer Options for Homes would see a 16-storey affordable condo tower constructed at 10 Wilby Crescent, alongside the Humber River on a former industrial site. Dubbed The Humber, the Architecture Unfolded-designed building proposes to add 234 new units to the area, and is currently working its way through the planning process.
Finally, we end off this instalment coming nearly full circle at a site that overlooks the Eglinton Flats parks from a perch atop the valley sides. Here, redevelopment plans for the West Park Healthcare Centre located on Emmett Avenue near Jane Street and Weston Road are evolving.
Initially, a rezoning was approved back in 2010 for an addition to the hospital, along with a reserved block of land for future expansion, and a third block allocated for 'complementary non-hospital uses' - potentially residential. However, a recent change to the plan was resubmitted last year to build an entirely new 6-storey 460-bed hospital building comprising roughly 70,000 square metres of floor area to be built out in two phases, along with the retention of the existing Long Term Care Building. The two additional blocks of land earmarked for future expansion and non-hospital use remain relatively the same, with minor tweaks to density allowances. Preliminary massing models have been illustrated by HOK Architects, and the re-submittal is currently making its way through the planning process.
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Next up, our Growth to Watch For series will cross the Black Creek and head up Keele Street, tour through the Yorkdale area, and head towards North Toronto and the Hoggs Hollow area. In the meantime, make sure to check out the dataBase files and Forum threads for each of the projects mentioned for more information. You can tell us what you think of all the developments happening in the city by joining the discussions in the associated Forum threads, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page!