Six months before an application was filed with the City of Toronto, the Midtown site at the southwest corner of Yonge and Roselawn was already a wellspring of controversy. In January of this year, the demolition of a 110-year-old Bank of Montreal building that occupied the 2444 Yonge Street site drew criticism from the Midtown community and City Planning, putting the site—and developer Main and Main—into the spotlight long before plans for the development came online. 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance Looking southwest, the two-tower proposal, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Although the developers were issued a demolition permit by the City, making the removal of the property fully legal, members of the community considered the approach deceptive. Neither listed nor designated under the City's Heritage Register, the Beaux Arts building was nonetheless considered to have some heritage value, as outlined in a 2014 staff report assessing a previous—and much smaller—development application for the site. The building also drew the attention of the Lytton Park Residents' Association (LPRA), who began lobbying to protect the building—unaware that a demolition permit had already been granted. 

2444 Yong Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance The former Bank of Montreal Buildings at 2444 Yonge, image via Google Maps

The heritage debate set an uncomfortable stage for the project to come. While local Councillor Christin Carmichael-Greb cited a "lack of communication" between various City departments, Krystin Wong-Tam accused Main and Main of taking advantage of a "gigantic loophole" in the heritage designation system by demolishing a building that was being considered for preservation as the LPRA prepared an application. For her part, Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat called the demolition "a very greasy move."

Submitted to the City in late June and early July, the new submission outlines Main and Main's plans for what's to come. The proposal calls for a pair of high-rise residential towers—at heights of 27 and 25 storeys—atop a shared nine-storey podium, replacing the former bank building's vacant lot, along with a row of low-rise storefronts to the south. 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance The podium levels on Yonge Street, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Designed by architectsAlliance, the project features a total of 637 residential units, six of which are planned as townhouses. Fronting onto Roselawn Avenue, the townhouses would occupy a small building (currently a surface parking lot) at the northwest end of the site, separated from the larger tower podium by a vehicle ingress to the east. 438 parking spaces are planned in a two-storey underground garage, 295 of which are devoted to residential use, with 79 earmarked for commercial purposes, and 64 for visitors. 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance The ground floor plan, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Predominantly fronting onto Yonge Street, the lower floors of the nine-storey podium structure are occupied by two levels of retail. The 7,902 m² retail space accounts for approximately 15% of the total GFA, with the remaining 44,994 m² devoted to residential space. Spread across the two towers and the upper podium levels, the 631 apartment units come in a mix of 107 studio (17%), 312 one-bedroom (49%), 139 two-bedroom (22%), and 73 three-bedroom (12%) homes. 

Atop the podium, the taller of the two towers is planned at the south end of the site, closer to the area's Yonge & Eglinton height peak. Reaching a height of 265.85 feet (97.85 metres), the 27-storey tower would be neighboured by the slightly shorter 25-storey building, at a height of 259.2 feet (91.95 metres). 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance The Roselawn Avenue townhouse frontage, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Finally, a small outdoor amenity area is planned south of the townhouses, alongside indoor amenity spaces in the podium levels. Together with the customary streetscape improvements—improved sidewalks, new plantings, etc...—typically required of new developments by the City, the outdoor amenity is appointed by Scott Torrance Landscape Architect. At the south end of the site, vehicle and pedestrian access would also be provided via Montgomery Avenue. 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance Mid-block access, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Architecturally, the project's podium levels are characterized by a mix of materials and tones, all of which serve to break up the monotony and apparent bulk of the structure. Along the lower podium levels, a mix of grey stone and darker brick finishes is met by subtle extrusions, which mimic the more fine-grained rhythm of Midtown Yonge Street's older low-rises. (Whether the retail space will be similarly divided to allow for a variety of smaller storefronts remains to be determined). Above, the long and boxy podium is similarly divided into two apparent volumes—to similar intended effect—before giving way to a pair of glassy, balcony-wrapped towers. 

2444 Yonge Street, Toronto, by Main and Main, architectsAlliance A closer look at the podium levels, looking southwest from Yonge, image via submission to the City of Toronto

With the application newly submitted to the City, the scope—and architectural character—of the project is likely to evolve throughout the planning process. As such, the plans seen so far don't necessarily represent a finalized iteration of the development, which may change to reflect City Planning priorities and community input. 

***

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the planning process gets underway. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project by checking out our newly established Database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.