2376 Dundas West | 78m | 24s | Lormel Homes | Richmond Architects

egotrippin

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Because those two bunkers were built ~30 years ago during a period of rampant, and uncontrolled development. I can only guess that many current community members weren't around when they were built, but had they been, would've probably opposed them.
 

Northern Magus

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I like the design, but then again, I really liked Giraffe too. Go figure.

I think the OMB got it wrong with Giraffe, but will probably approve this. However the NIMBYs in this nabe are pretty ridiculous.
 

junctionist

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Because those two bunkers were built ~30 years ago during a period of rampant, and uncontrolled development. I can only guess that many current community members weren't around when they were built, but had they been, would've probably opposed them.
Yet "bunkers" seems a bit cruel in describing the Crossways. Its urban credentials are solid in spite of the way it meets the street. It's a more diverse mix of uses the usual project of the era with residential in the towers and ample retail and some office space. I like the finely-terraced podium and the sheer amount of brick that went into the complex. All the '70s design elements are there down to the ubiquitous globe lights, brick tiles, and indoor brick cladding. Jane Jacobs would love the retail in the mall (if only that). The 1970s were an era of reform and progressive planning and increased interest in human-scaled urban design, though not all development embraced the new era. It's definitely imperfect with its overpowering presence and street-side sterility, but the Crossways is not as bad as people portray it to be. The worst stuff is on the west corners of Bloor and Dundas.

It's not just the architecture at Dundas and Bloor that gives people poor impressions of the intersection. The public realm is unusually ugly and suffering from a lack of investment. The sidewalks are almost completely concrete, the road surface is all asphalt uninterrupted by even the bland concrete pedestrian walkways we see at intersections in Toronto, there's very little greenery, and the sidewalks feel cramped. There are often abandoned bikes locked up on the NE corner. Toronto has too many streets with overhead wires, but along Dundas at Bloor, they exacerbate the feeling of cramped space.

In terms of this new development, I like the massing with the tower set way back and the street fronted with a midrise building. The pedestrian-oriented commercial space is logical, though I'm wondering if one floor is enough at a transit node like this one. Unfortunately, the architecture lacks character. There isn't much to distinguish the tower's architecture. The tower looks more forgettable than the Crossways' twin triangular towers. Lastly, the new driveway on the north part of the property breaks up the streetwall and should be avoided. It seems unnecessary considering the wide driveway that already exists for The Crossways. A covered entrance perhaps with an arch would be so much better if this driveway is necessary.
 
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adma

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Another thing to remember about the Crossways within its 70s context: it's brownfields development, on the site of the old Toastmaster bakery. As such, it was arguably an "improvement" on what stood there before, much as the Heintzman development is today...
 

Grimace

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Lastly, the new driveway on the north part of the property breaks up the streetwall and should be avoided. It seems unnecessary considering the wide driveway that already exists for The Crossways. A covered entrance perhaps with an arch would be so much better if this driveway is necessary.
From what I have read I believe that the wide driveway is owned by the Crossways, and the owners of the Crossways are non-responsive and presumably would not permit it to be used for another development. Rather than a Metrolinx loop adjacent to the tracks I believe the preference was to connect to the Crossways lane. There is a genuine need for a drop-off for the AirRail Link, and the Mobility Hub Study seemed to call for a road that would use the Crossways lane and then come back to Dundas as a continuation of Edna (which means it would go through the Freshco). If Crossways won't permit the use of its lane for the drop-off then the second lane is needed.

One thing in the presentation that should absolutely be avoided is the option that calls for a three storey garage at the back of the property adjacent to the tracks. It seems like the developer is saying the City/Province could (1) have a nice public drop-off lane for the Air-Rail link on our property or (2) have an ugly 3 storey garage, and for (1) to happen they will need concessions on height/density etc.
 

Automation Gallery

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Looks like the developer is serious about this one....is the neighbourhood ready for it?

2376 DUNDAS ST W
OPA / Rezoning 11 317575 STE 14 OZ Ward 14
- Tor & E.York Nov 29, 2011 --- --- --- Nicholson, Dan
(416) 395-7110
Redevelopment of the existing site for a new mixed use development containing a 9 storey and 26 storey tower connected by a three storey podium complete with 389 dwelling units, ground floor retail and 240 parking spaces, 2 of which would be located at surface level. Included in the proposal is the erection of a pedestrian walkway for connection to a new Bloor GO/Air link and TTC subway entrance (Dundas West Station)
 

agoraflaneur

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This development should go ahead as proposed. It has good integration with the new rail link, its height is no different from crossways and does not shadow a significant area, and would block the rail corridor from Dundas, and providing additional interest - though retail elements should be stressed in the well placed low rise segment (is there any in the current proposal?). I agree with Junctionist regarding the driveway, which should be reconsidered. I preferred the distinctiveness of the Giraffe proposal, and the design could be improved, but this area really needs the development. Hopefully the developers pay something to improve the streetscape at the Bloor corner.
 

Grimace

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Walking past this morning it appeared that they were emptying out the used car lot and taking down signs.
 

Ahsun

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Just to provide an update on this one. The notification sign is indeed up and the lot was emptied a few weeks ago.

Reading over the decision for Giraffe (and based upon the arguments of the Board for their ultimate refusal), there are a few notable difference for the two sites that makes this one hopefully more feasible:

a) lot size is considerably larger (slightly more than triple the size), which allows for a much better placement of the density without overpowering the street front ;

b) this portion of Dundas does not have the 1-3 storey "Main Street Character" - which IMO kills a lot of the arguments of the Board; and

c) there are no 2-3 storey residential buildings directly adjacent to the site.

However, it is apparent that the fact the Crossways exists will not necessarily help the argument FOR this application. The Board quoted this right out of the Avenue Study:

Within the surrounding context, The Crossways complex is the exception in terms of building height, massing and relationship to street frontages. It related poorly to the prevailing character and scale of the Study Area, and as such, exemplifies what is to be avoided in new development.
:D
 
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urbandreamer

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There's plenty of 2s old retail buildings along this strip of Dundas that are being revitalized with interesting new yuppy-style retail.

The last thing this area needs is another dull glass highrise with architecture more in common with MCC than a stable century old neighbourhood.

I would propose using a better architect, a lot more red brick, and massing and scale similar to Freedville.
 

Ahsun

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There's plenty of 2s old retail buildings along this strip of Dundas that are being revitalized with interesting new yuppy-style retail.
Not really, and certainly not on the same side of the street. Don't forget this site is sandwiched between the glorious Crossways and the Freshco/SDM shopping "plaza". I would argue that the yuppy retail that I think you're referring to is nearly irrelevant as it is across the street and a bit further down the road. There isn't a uniform "Main St." feel to this section that is consistent on both sides of the street.

The last thing this area needs is another dull glass highrise with architecture more in common with MCC than a stable century old neighbourhood.

I would propose using a better architect, a lot more red brick, and massing and scale similar to Freedville.
I can tell you don't know the neighbourhood... there isn't a single glass highrise within a full square kilometre of this place with the exception of The Address @ High Park along Bloor (under construction) and even this isn't a highrise. The neighbourhood is also definitely not what I would call stable, it is clearly in transition and near decline. The area is essentially a dog's breakfast, any new development that is as highly visible as this one would be an improvement for the area.
 

urbandreamer

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^lol I live in this neighbourhood! The neighbourhood is very stable once you get off Dundas onto the side streets. The area does not need dated-looking glass highrises but rather more red brick and scale appropriate for the c.1910 suburb that it is! So yes, buildings like East, those original Stewart Street lofts, Ideal Lofts on College or even RAW Design's new Howard Park project down the street.

Glass skyscrapers are appropriate in some areas of the city, but not here. It is clear that Crossways fails because its scale and materials don't fit with the vernacular of the neighbourhood.

How about a solid streetwall of 6-10s buildings along Dundas--mostly red brick--with heights stepping up to perhaps 15s next to the rail road tracks?

Another eyesore would absolutely destroy the potential for this corner.
 

Grimace

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^^If a glass tower is inappropriate how does Crossways fail because of its materials? The area is a sea of red and brown brick, with the Crossways leading the charge.

The tower element of this design is generic but as it is back from Dundas I don't believe it will "destroy the potential for this corner". The 8-storey building fronting Dundas will be the more important one for the vitality of the corner and in my view a better job has been done with that building. I don't think it needs more brick -- the combination of brick and glass shown in the renders keeps true to the neighbourhood in a more modern and less overpowering way than its neighbours. This building would fit within the 6-10s streetwall made of brick that you think is appropriate (and I agree). If someone converts the old Chairtex warehouse up the street all that would be left between Bloor and the Wallace bridge is redevelopment of the Freshco/SDM plaza, which will presumably happen at some point. This is consistent with the Mobility Hub plan.

I don't know why they switch to black brick for the tower. Maybe they won't in the final design. Given that there is not a lot of brick on the tower in any event I would stick with the red and brown brick that is throughout the area. I still support the taller tower at this location as it will lessen the impact of the Crossways. While bad planning (if you consider the Crossways bad planning) is not a reason for more bad planning, it would also be bad planning to pretend like the Crossways isn't there and do nothing to offset its impact. I agree with the junctionist that the Crossways isn't really bad planning. It provides high density low income housing with (it appears to me) a number of families at a major transit hub at the edge of an otherwise mid-to-high income neighbourhood in a mixed use (retail/residential/office) building. From the lights on at night it looks fully occupied. It is just bad design at the street level and overpowering because nothing else has grown up around it.
 

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