Toronto 2681 Danforth Avenue | 163.35m | 48s | CT REIT | Turner Fleischer

Northern Light

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Previously, we've seen an application here at UT for the easterly portion of the property currently occupied by a Canadian Tire Retail store and parking lot, fronting Danforth, between Main and Dawes.

The site, had a peculiar fragmented ownership, the line of which literally runs through, or under the existing retail store on site.

The previous application was for 2721 Danforth, and can be found here:


This is a new application by Canadian Tire Real Estate Ltd. for its portion of this site, addressed as 2681 Danforth Avenue. Proposed are two residential towers of 44s and 33s with 905 residential units and a replacement Canadian Tire store fronting Danforth.

Site as it is:

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The proposed densification of the existing tower community known as 'Main Square' is immediately to the right of frame above (west) of this site; while the application for 6 Dawes (the current self-storage facilities next to the railway corridor are to the south.

The App:

1672827474709.png



From the Docs:

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Note that the above is the ground floor plan, while the below is level 02. I don't usually show both plans, but as the proposed store covers both levels I have elected to do so:


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Stats:

Height, 44s/33s

FSI:
Development will have a total proposed Floor Space Index of 6.87 times the gross site area and 9.31 times
the net site area, after roadway and parkland dedications.

Parking:
A total of 162 residential and 38 visitor vehicular parking spaces are proposed on the Subject Site for the
Proposed Development


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Comments:

Height is fine; parkland proposal is silly, the Main Street Planning Study laid out a plan for a centrally located significant park for the Main to Dawes block on the southerly portion of what is now the CT lands. Other developers have made proposals predicated on said parkland.

Both proposals for the CT site fail to show what was envisioned. I completely appreciate that the current owners would expect to be compensated for their land for providing above-statutory required parkland. However, if other developers and the City seem committed to a vision of a large park here, those discussions should have been had pre-application with other developers agreeing and the City agreeing to transfer either off-site parkland dedication or cash-in-lieu to the two owners here to achieve something workable.

The density approved and proposed here is not workable without a viable park.

***

The parking ratio of .18 is not ridiculous, and yet........this site is virtually across the street from Main Street Station. I understand providing retail and visitor parking here, but I'm inclined to think resident parking should be zero.
Part of achieving that type of parking provision (not on this proponent) is delivering a second entrance for Main Station located on Barrington Avenue, which would make the station accessible 1 block further east. To attract usage, said entrance should be both accessible (elevators) and feature an up escalator path.

Carsharing should also be provided on-site, as should bikeshare.

***

The retail streetwall on Danforth should be reconsidered as CT has a poor track record of animating such spaces; a cooperative arrangement with a cafe/restaurant, perhaps w/patio would serve the goal of creating an engaging streetscape on Danforth.
 
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With all these proposals I really wish the City would get rolling on a tunnelled connection between TTC and GO stations. All the land south of Danforth appears like it’ll be dug up anyways for all these condos/apartments.
 
With all these proposals I really wish the City would get rolling on a tunnelled connection between TTC and GO stations. All the land south of Danforth appears like it’ll be dug up anyways for all these condos/apartments.

No such connection is contemplated.

The Main Square proposal does envision a walkway with canopy protection over a significant portion of the gap.
 
I was wondering anyone knows what the tallest towers roof height is? Because I don't see a number on it.
 
No such connection is contemplated.

The Main Square proposal does envision a walkway with canopy protection over a significant portion of the gap.
Forgive my naive question, but what would it take to get the city and developer to reconsider using this opportunity to make the TTC-GO connected station here? I know I can write letters/emails alone, but how could us like-minded folks combine for greater impact?
 
Forgive my naive question, but what would it take to get the city and developer to reconsider using this opportunity to make the TTC-GO connected station here? I know I can write letters/emails alone, but how could us like-minded folks combine for greater impact?

No worries. Questions are how we learn!

To answer yours, in respect of an underground connection between the stations, I don't think there is anything to be done.

Roughly, you're looking at a distance of just over 300M. That's a very, very long pedestrian tunnel.
For comparison's sake, if you're familiar with the walkway between Line 1 and Line 2 at Spadina Station, this would be about double that.
That's a very large, lonely distance to have no retail, no exits to grade, no security to speak of, and simply an inconvenient walking length for many.

The challenge of a tunnel is not a simple one either, assuming one followed what I imagine would be the most logical route, from the base of the escalator up to Main Street today, one would have to route under the funeral home, then Main Square, then a future development to the south (which has not provided for any such tunnel) where the self-storage buildings are today, then back-up to the station.

The alternative would be routing under Main Street itself, I'm not sure about the elevation of the sewers etc but one might have to drop below the height of Main Station's concourse to pull that off, and you can't drop down while over the platforms or tunnels of Line 2.

All of which is to say, it would be very expensive and very challenging and I suspect and the TTC/City I imagine would as well, that in the scenarios I'm painting the majority of any connecting traffic would prefer to be on the surface.

Moving sidewalks might partially mitigate the unpleasantness of a 300M tunnel, but the TTC removed the only such facility it had, in the aforementioned Spadina Station, so it seems unlikely the would have the appetite to install or maintain any that were twice as large.

****

Making the surface connection more pleasant is something the City is interested in; and you see that reflected in the current Main Square proposals which would offer a partial weather protected route along their Main Street frontage (under canopy) which commuters could make use of; and which would be animated, in part, by retail offerings.

That still leaves the matter of the block on the north side of Danforth and crossing that same street; but I think it will ameliorate the connection some, in a few years time.

I'm happy to give you any email addresses you wish to advocate for a better connection; but it would be honest assessment that the best one can reasonably hope for here is improvements to the on-street route, rather than an underground tunnel.

** I will offer, that in mind it may be feasible to get a much shorter tunnel done, connecting the south side of Danforth, to Main Station underground, as part of the new Main Square building right at the corner. I think you'd still have to exit on Danforth, but I can see it as being plausible, though still probably a bit pricey for the City, securing space within and knock-out panels for such a connection within the new building shouldn't be, in theory, all that challenging.

However, the argument in favour almost certainly omits any discussion of the connection between the two stations, and instead focuses on lower levels of parking and better encouragement of using TTC by all the new developments on the south side of Danforth by having their own dedicated Main Station entrance; any benefit it making the connection easier being incidental.

If you're going to argue for that, I would focus first on the City Planner managing the file; followed by the City Councillor.

This is the Planner (for Main Square) :

1674132196627.png


The local councillor is Brad Bradford:

1674132235973.png


Hope that's helpful.
 
No worries. Questions are how we learn!

To answer yours, in respect of an underground connection between the stations, I don't think there is anything to be done.

Roughly, you're looking at a distance of just over 300M. That's a very, very long pedestrian tunnel.
For comparison's sake, if you're familiar with the walkway between Line 1 and Line 2 at Spadina Station, this would be about double that.
That's a very large, lonely distance to have no retail, no exits to grade, no security to speak of, and simply an inconvenient walking length for many.

The challenge of a tunnel is not a simple one either, assuming one followed what I imagine would be the most logical route, from the base of the escalator up to Main Street today, one would have to route under the funeral home, then Main Square, then a future development to the south (which has not provided for any such tunnel) where the self-storage buildings are today, then back-up to the station.

The alternative would be routing under Main Street itself, I'm not sure about the elevation of the sewers etc but one might have to drop below the height of Main Station's concourse to pull that off, and you can't drop down while over the platforms or tunnels of Line 2.

All of which is to say, it would be very expensive and very challenging and I suspect and the TTC/City I imagine would as well, that in the scenarios I'm painting the majority of any connecting traffic would prefer to be on the surface.

Moving sidewalks might partially mitigate the unpleasantness of a 300M tunnel, but the TTC removed the only such facility it had, in the aforementioned Spadina Station, so it seems unlikely the would have the appetite to install or maintain any that were twice as large.

****

Making the surface connection more pleasant is something the City is interested in; and you see that reflected in the current Main Square proposals which would offer a partial weather protected route along their Main Street frontage (under canopy) which commuters could make use of; and which would be animated, in part, by retail offerings.

That still leaves the matter of the block on the north side of Danforth and crossing that same street; but I think it will ameliorate the connection some, in a few years time.

I'm happy to give you any email addresses you wish to advocate for a better connection; but it would be honest assessment that the best one can reasonably hope for here is improvements to the on-street route, rather than an underground tunnel.

** I will offer, that in mind it may be feasible to get a much shorter tunnel done, connecting the south side of Danforth, to Main Station underground, as part of the new Main Square building right at the corner. I think you'd still have to exit on Danforth, but I can see it as being plausible, though still probably a bit pricey for the City, securing space within and knock-out panels for such a connection within the new building shouldn't be, in theory, all that challenging.

However, the argument in favour almost certainly omits any discussion of the connection between the two stations, and instead focuses on lower levels of parking and better encouragement of using TTC by all the new developments on the south side of Danforth by having their own dedicated Main Station entrance; any benefit it making the connection easier being incidental.

If you're going to argue for that, I would focus first on the City Planner managing the file; followed by the City Councillor.

This is the Planner (for Main Square) :

View attachment 451364

The local councillor is Brad Bradford:

View attachment 451365

Hope that's helpful.
Yes, this is helpful! It's your starred bit I was considering actually, as having an exit on the south side would also make a lot of sense. You make a good point about a tunnel without retail being unpleasant, but while we're dreaming big, why does it need to have no retail? There's more development going in around that area than there was when the older parts of the PATH were first created. I just think this is a very real opportunity to get something done properly at the outset, instead of trying to backwards engineer it 30 years from now. Toronto was visionary when building the Prince Edward Viaduct. Why can't we be like that again?
 
Yes, this is helpful! It's your starred bit I was considering actually, as having an exit on the south side would also make a lot of sense. You make a good point about a tunnel without retail being unpleasant, but while we're dreaming big, why does it need to have no retail? There's more development going in around that area than there was when the older parts of the PATH were first created. I just think this is a very real opportunity to get something done properly at the outset, instead of trying to backwards engineer it 30 years from now. Toronto was visionary when building the Prince Edward Viaduct. Why can't we be like that again?

You have a couple of obstacles of note, you have existing buildings in the way, the elevation of the tunnel would cut through their foundation, and presumably (but I haven't looked at the actual building plans) through their P1 underground parking level (there may also be building systems rooms at that level). That's no simple matter, you can't simply cut the parking lot in 1/2. Again, this is avoided if you under Main Street, but you still have to pass under sewers and other infrastructure and excavating out retail space on top of that, and servicing it (employees all day will want HVAC, require washrooms, and possibly in-unit plumbing if there's any type of food being served. It's a hugely costly endeavour.

But beyond that, you have a perhaps more insurmountable challenge.........no one is going to lease that space. The traffic volumes currently between the stations don't even demand the single newstand at Main Stn open on Sundays right now. There certainly is not traffic to justify a dozen + retail units. I will grant, assuming we get GO co-pay and/or some other form of fare integration, traffic will spike up. All-day 15M service would do the same. But the subway already has all-day 5M service and the lone retail unit doesn't open on Sundays.

Let's admit, it's a badly run retail operation (Gateway Newstands); and that better run and presented retail would do better. But I struggle to see it, certainly in the near-term. I think retail would lose money faster than in Aura's basement!

Also, in the unlikely event it was successful, it would likely take customers away from retail on Danforth. I'd much rather have animated streets at-grade than 300M mini-path.

Suffice to say, it's not in the plans and don't think it's likely to be considered.

Edit to add:

As Main Station will ultimately require a second exit from the platform, for emergency egress, I think that's the most likely in-point. Were the second exit off the east end of the Platform, likely coming up at Coleman Park/Barrington, it's not so much of a reach to connect that new entrance across Danforth at Barrington.

The one knock on such a scheme being that it would be a very convoluted path back to the bus terminal.
 
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You have a couple of obstacles of note, you have existing buildings in the way, the elevation of the tunnel would cut through their foundation, and presumably (but I haven't looked at the actual building plans) through their P1 underground parking level (there may also be building systems rooms at that level). That's no simple matter, you can't simply cut the parking lot in 1/2. Again, this is avoided if you under Main Street, but you still have to pass under sewers and other infrastructure and excavating out retail space on top of that, and servicing it (employees all day will want HVAC, require washrooms, and possibly in-unit plumbing if there's any type of food being served. It's a hugely costly endeavour.

But beyond that, you have a perhaps more insurmountable challenge.........no one is going to lease that space. The traffic volumes currently between the stations don't even demand the single newstand at Main Stn open on Sundays right now. There certainly is not traffic to justify a dozen + retail units. I will grant, assuming we get GO co-pay and/or some other form of fare integration, traffic will spike up. All-day 15M service would do the same. But the subway already has all-day 5M service and the lone retail unit doesn't open on Sundays.

Let's admit, it's a badly run retail operation (Gateway Newstands); and that better run and presented retail would do better. But I struggle to see it, certainly in the near-term. I think retail would lose money faster than in Aura's basement!

Also, in the unlikely event it was successful, it would likely take customers away from retail on Danforth. I'd much rather have animated streets at-grade than 300M mini-path.

Suffice to say, it's not in the plans and don't think it's likely to be considered.

Edit to add:

As Main Station will ultimately require a second exit from the platform, for emergency egress, I think that's the most likely in-point. Were the second exit off the east end of the Platform, likely coming up at Coleman Park/Barrington, it's not so much of a reach to connect that new entrance across Danforth at Barrington.

The one knock on such a scheme being that it would be a very convoluted path back to the bus terminal.
All very good points. I will consider carefully. As some others have mentioned, none of these plans involve a new school either. Much to think about.
 
The more I look at this proposal & the more I understand its relationship to the other new proposals around the area, the more I dislike it. This spot would perfect for a bit of a green town square/park with a school, community centre and retail surrounding it on three sides (the fourth side would be Danforth Avenue). It wouldn't even have to be that wide as it's pretty deep.
 
The more I look at this proposal & the more I understand its relationship to the other new proposals around the area, the more I dislike it. This spot would perfect for a bit of a green town square/park with a school, community centre and retail surrounding it on three sides (the fourth side would be Danforth Avenue). It wouldn't even have to be that wide as it's pretty deep.

The City is hoping to achieve just that; it's a matter of getting everyone around the table to agree; either having them swap land and cash in advance; or having everyone advance their parks obligations to the City as cash, and having the City acquire it.

I think you should think of this proposal as preliminary for now. A way perhaps of getting more $$ for a prospective park on all or a big chunk of their lands.
 
The City is hoping to achieve just that; it's a matter of getting everyone around the table to agree; either having them swap land and cash in advance; or having everyone advance their parks obligations to the City as cash, and having the City acquire it.

I think you should think of this proposal as preliminary for now. A way perhaps of getting more $$ for a prospective park on all or a big chunk of their lands.
I certainly hope it'll change substantially between this preliminary version & whatever is finally decided upon. Not sure Canadian Tire needs to feel a land swap or cash is needed to add a more substantial and front-facing park (and hopefully a community centre too) next to them as it would lead to more sales I would think. They'd have a captured audience for half the stuff they sell! Not to mention it would help their reputation by showing they are community-minded. It's positive advertising on a grand scale.
 

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