In Toronto, developers come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to some of the huge office towers and condos built and planned during this construction boom, there are plenty of smaller scaled developments like 180 Sheppard Ave East. Planned by an entrepreneurial Optometrist - through Marpake Holdings, the building is set to replace the current single-story Eyes on Sheppard optometry office. The building has been in development since 2011 and has been through several design changes since then. Last week, the proposal was resubmitted to City Planning with an updated design by HOK Architects. The latest design features a curved corner and sloping roofline, and an irregular pattern of rectangular window frames. 

180 Sheppard, Marpake Holdings, HOK Architects2018 redesign by HOK Architects, image courtesy of Marpake Holdings

The building will have a small retail space at street level for glasses sales, as well as a covered above-ground parking garage on the north side of the site. The second floor will house a new optometry office while the third is built as office space to lease. Floors four through six will house a total of eight residential rental units with one and two bedroom layouts.

 the 2018 HOK Architects Design, Left: the 2013 Teeple Architects design, Right: the 2018 HOK Architects Design, images courtesy of Marpake Holdings

The building’s architectural expression has changed dramatically over the years. Teeple Architects was first commissioned when the building was planned to be marketed under the name Monocle Condominiums. In 2017, HOK replaced Teeple as design architects and completely changed the design. Now redesigned for a third time, the shape and materials used have become more conventional than the previous, more avant-garde versions. Still, the new design remains somewhat out-of-the-ordinary and pushes boundaries for the neighbourhood. As it is an avenue building, the massing features a heavily stepped-back design conforming to the 45° angular plane on its north side, descending to meet the low-rise neighbourhood to the north on Dudley Ave. Bricks dominate on he exterior.

180 Sheppard, Marpake Holdings, HOK ArchitectsThe current built form of the site, image from Google Streetview

Marpake Holdings has faced some pushback from the community regarding this proposal since its inception. The committee of adjustment granted the Zoning amendment in September of this year. Nearby residents attempted to appeal the decision but then later withdrew their appeal. While the developer is likely hoping that a less audacious design will appease the local residents, he clearly still has an eye for doing something out of he ordinary.

We will keep you updated as this project progresses further through the planning process and permits are issued. Additional information and renderings can be found in the project's database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts on this development, and how it compares with the previous designs? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided on this page, or join in the ongoing discussion in the associated Forum thread.

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