Markham Shoppes on Steeles Redevelopment | 198.35m | 59s | Minett Capital | Arcadis

City Planning Status Report

To be considered by North York Community Council on April 27, 2010:

The retail GFA proposed is 22,736 m2, the office GFA is 8,928 m2 and the residential GFA is 147,802 m2. A total of 1,787 apartment dwelling units are proposed most of which are to be located in five buildings ranging in height from 18 to 32 storeys in the eastern portion of the site.​

Latest Master Plan

Phasing Plan
Solaris, why would this go before North York Community Council, when this project is in Markham? Is it going to North York (Toronto) as a courtesy because it's across the street from Toronto? Or is it going there because it is required to because it will shadow Toronto properties and affect Toronto traffic? If you, or anyone knows, please fill us in on the details!

^ from the report

1974 Agreement – City of Toronto and Region of York
In a 1974 agreement, York Region consented to the assumption of Steeles Avenue by
Metro Toronto, and both parties agreed to act in a consultative and co-operative manner
to plan development along Steeles Avenue. The entire Steeles Avenue right-of-way was
assumed by Metro Toronto between l975 and 1989 and it is now a City of Toronto road.
The agreement grants the City of Toronto limited planning authority over lands within
York Region that are within 45 metres of Steeles Avenue. This authority can only be
exercised in compliance with the relevant Official Plans and requires the City to notify
and seek agreement from York Regional Council. The agreement sets out a process for
the City and York Region to circulate Official Plan Amendments, zoning by-law
amendments and subdivision applications affecting lands adjacent to Steeles Avenue to
each other for review and comment. City staff routinely review these boundary
applications to identify any mitigating measures (e.g. traffic signals, turning lanes, sewer
and storm water services) that may be required to serve new development
I couldn't have asked for a better answer: thanks WW!

WW nailed the answer right on the head ... in essence Markham is required to circulate City of Toronto as a commenting agency on ALL developments adjacent to Steeles Avenue, thus this will also apply to the Pacific Mall expansion and Remington Centre redevelopment ~
Good to see the surface parking all hidden away from the streets, tucked behind the buildings, the way it should be, but having only 2 storey buildings lining Steeles seems like a waste.
I hope they plan to widen Steeles around there as that stretch is jammed pretty much most of the day, especially the westbound lanes.
Currently, this is like most suburban plazas- a sea of concrete with a few shops. Thank goodness that is all about to change. You really have to admire Markham's forward thinking.

High rise deal reached

Deal reached. Councillor Howard Shore encourages concerned citizens to show up at a meeting to fight large-scale development plans near Don Mills Road and Steeles Avenue on Markham’s southern border with Toronto.

An 11th-hour compromise appears to have been reached between Markham residents and developers of the controversial Shops on Steeles highrise project.
“It’s like we’ve reached a settlement on the courtroom steps,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said yesterday, describing the last-minute negotiations over an issue that has troubled the neighbourhood near Steeles and Hwy. 404 for several years.
Bayview Summit wanted to build 1,787 residential units in five towers on the 18-acre site on the Toronto-Markham border and brought its case to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) when Markham failed to approve plans.
The OMB is set to convene Monday to consider the issue, but a counter-offer proposed by the key ratepayers group, German Mills Residents Association, was endorsed by Markham council and the developer late Tuesday night.
But not everyone is happy with the compromise that would see more than 500 fewer units and a slight reduction in the height of the project, originally proposed to tower 32 storeys over the townhouse community to the north.
Toronto Councillor David Shiner, representing those living on the south side of Steeles in Willowdale, said yesterday that based on his interpretation of the newly negotiated deal, the City of Toronto will continue to fight the development at the OMB and may even refuse to allow sewer development along Steeles to service the units —* something Toronto has the right to do as owner of the thoroughfare.
The deal struck in private “is so very far away off what residents were looking for” and does not appear to meet recommendations made by Markham’s own town planner.
He said it was pushed forward by Thornhill Councillor Howard Shore who needlessly scared residents away from the OMB, believing a board decision would favour developers. “I was not even consulted on this,” he said. “This affects the south side of Steeles dramatically.”
While discussions are ongoing, the OMB hearing will still go ahead because the board needs to be briefed on any settlement and the impact on next steps for the board’s deliberation, said Jim Baird, Markham’s commissioner of development services.
Emotions were running high Tuesday as residents, concerned that Markham councillors might back down on their opposition to the high density, ramped up their efforts and rallied outside the mall in the afternoon. That night, more than 20 delegates appealed to council again.
Councillors held a private discussion, then at 11 p.m. publicly voted unanimously to support the ratepayers’ counter-offer that Bayview Summit had also agreed to, subject to what Summit’s project manager, Shelly Mecklinger, called “minor legalities”.
As of yesterday afternoon, the settlement had not yet been signed, said Mr. Mecklinger.
“We still have to show up Monday [at the OMB], there still could be some angry ratepayers ... and a few hurdles to jump over until the OMB approves it,” he said. “But we look forward to a successful outcome of the whole project.”
The new proposal would see 1,235 units, with the number of storeys expected to be “in the low 20s”, according to Mr. Shore. “It’s an absolute victory for the community. Everyone would prefer it to be even smaller, but under the circumstances, we realize that in a worst-case scenario it could go to the OMB and we’d possibly end up losing.”
A meeting was scheduled at a Thornhill synagogue for last night — originally to rally residents against the development in advance of Monday’s OMB hearing — but altered to be an information sharing session with the community.
Mr. Shiner expressed anger over the meeting arrangements, saying he was originally invited to speak at the event but was informed yesterday by Mr. Shore that he would not be permitted because he could “stir a pot of dissent”.
“I’m going tonight because I still have concerns in my community about the height and density of development,” he said. “We live in a democracy and you can’t silence people this way.”
Shops on Steeles

The saga of a Markham redevelopment project called Shops on Steeles is familiar to those who follow neighbourhood intensification battles: the builder wanted to erect sky-scraping towers; the residents said no way.

It's the kind of dispute we're likely to see more frequently in the future as suburbs come under increasing pressure to build up, and not out, in an effort to curb sprawl.

But if the questions of height and density weren't enough to consider, this project on the edge of Markham adds another: how much say does one municipality have in the planning affairs of its neighbour?

Enough to oppose the latest proposal, says Toronto city councillor David Shiner.

He has invoked something called the 1974 Agreement, which grants Toronto limited planning authority over York Region land that is within 45 metres of Steeles Avenue, which Toronto owns.

It's more than a technical issue, argues Mr. Shiner: the Bayview Summit development would have a direct impact on the lives of his residents in Willowdale, who already suffer through horrendous traffic.

The developer originally wanted to build more than 2,000 residential units in seven buildings, the tallest stretching 32 storeys, at the northeast corner of Don Mills and Steeles, an area dominated by single family homes. The plan was to also redevelop a tired mall known as Shops on Steeles into a new commercial strip. Markham council rejected a scaled-back version of 1,787 units, and set the bar at 1,000. After much negotiation, Bayview Summit and the town are poised to ink an agreement, based on a 1,235-unit proposal submitted by the local German Mills Residents Association. In the new deal, the towers top out at 25 storeys, said Markham councillor Howard Shore.

Unsatisfied, Mr. Shiner got the backing of Toronto city council to oppose it.

"It's really disrespectful to your neighbour that's been there at the table with you, that's participated every way it can and has rights, when you just go ahead and slap Toronto in the face and say we're going stick you with it," said Mr. Shiner. Toronto has hired lawyers from Aird and Berlis to seek to defer an April 7 hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board, and defend its rights under the 1974 pact.

On the flip side, Mr. Shore can't understand the opposition. He, too, would have liked a deal under 1,000 units. But after hearing from solicitors, it was clear that the developer would have a stronger case at the OMB, he said. The town didn't want to risk ending up with more density, instead of less.

"This is really a lot of political grandstanding by Councillor Shiner. It's been scaring the dickens out of a lot of residents," said Councillor Shore, adding that eventually his counterpart's continued opposition "becomes a question of does the city of Toronto want to be a good or bad neighbour?"

The Ontario government's "Places to Grow" strategy for the Greater Golden Horseshoe calls for at least 40% of new residential development to be within a municipality's built-up area by 2015. The region is preparing to welcome an influx of people in the next two decades. In Markham, the population is expected to go from 300,000 to about 430,000 by 2031.

Developers are looking to turn "grey fields" and old malls where it's way too easy to get a parking spot into vibrant, mixed-use hubs.

Shops on Steeles, home to a Sears, Food Basics and independent purveyors like the Trend Shoppe and Pandora Jewelry, is ripe for such treatment.

"We all think this is a great example of intensification that needs to happen in the suburbs," said Steven Kirshenblatt, senior partner of Kirkor Architects & Planners, which designed the project. "This was a model development of how you take an under-utilized, not functioning well site and add density, growth, a new centre and village feel to a community to rejuvenate it."

That the area is not serviced by rapid transit is all the more reason to build a development that offers a more sustainable way of living, said Mr. Kirshenblatt.

"They have jobs up there, and they don't have anywhere affordable for those people to live," he said. "People don't have to drive to the shopping mall, they can walk."

Alan Diner, president of the German Mills Residents Association, says the revised plan is "much more aesthetically appealing" than its original, even if it is a compromise. "Like I said from the outcome, none of us were happy with a development of that size in this community," said Mr. Diner. While other parts of the region await transportation alternatives, "we're stuck with the status quo and suddenly expanding with a huge number of extra cars and residents with nowhere to go."

Councillor Shiner thinks the new deal sounds better than it is. Practically all of the 1,235 units are on the eastern third of the site, which is 250 less than the number that had been proposed for that same area, he said.

"We're not opposed to development on that site, we just want a better settlement," said Mr. Shiner, who considers a six-storey tiered building ideal.

David Amborski, a professor in the school of urban and regional planning at Ryerson University, said the general objective of intensification is to add density along transit corridors, or city centres. Shops on Steeles, he notes, falls in between. "So, how much density is appropriate? You have to sell people on the fact that this is a new world, a new lifestyle and a new form of living," he said, but generally, communities are resistant to change.

Others believe continued wrangling delays the inevitable.

"These condos are coming whether you like it or not," said David Slotnick, president of the Willowdale N.E. Residents Association. "I don't like it, but it's coming."’s-afraid-of-shops-on-steeles/

As someone who used to live in the area, I'm looking forward to this. The location is quite prime for me since it is half way between the city and Richmond Hill and within proximity to the 404, right next to a frequent express bus line to Finch station, the YRT Leslie bus is a great alternative to the congested Yonge line, and the TTC Leslie bus loops in this area so it is also a single seat bus ride to the Old Cummer GO station.

It's surprising it has taken this long for this area to see some serious investment.
…so years later I'm looking at some threads which have just been left hanging, and it turns out that—

don't read the next line, unless you go back and read the previous post

—Toronto Council shut the redevelopment down by essentially telling the Town of Markham and the Region of York that they'd close the main access from the site to Steeles Avenue if the redevelopment went ahead.


In No One's Back Yard. INOBY.

Or maybe Not In Anybody's Back Yard. NIABY.

I just don't know.