The central waterfront community gathered on Tuesday evening to hear the latest details of Tridel's proposal at Ten York. Since the project's big reveal last November, it has already gone before the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel, and some of the recommendations were incorporated into the plans presented last night by Wallman Architects. Here are a few of the details of the project that were presented: 

Changes were made in the podium to remove all of the above grade parking and combine it with the below grade parking, increasing the depth of the building from 5 to 7 storeys. As a result, the podium has been reduced from 6 storeys to 3 storeys in height. Changes were also made to the pedestrian space on York Street, in keeping with the recommendations of the York Street Promenade Plan: the podium was pulled back from the curb to create a separation distance of 8.9m, allowing a wide row of tree planters to be placed right up to the curb edge, leaving about 5.5m of pedestrian sidewalk space between podium and planters. The sidewalk is to be paved with a high quality textured pattern, intending to achieving a similar effect as the sidewalk space at Maple Leaf Square.

Ten York ground floor site plan, presentation board at first public consultation meeting.

The residential lobby will be located in the north half of the York Street facade, while the south east portion of the podium will be devoted to a retail cafe. Placing the cafe in this corner will visually connect it to a future park envisioned diagonally across the intersection. The architects also intend to create a seemless transition between lobby and cafe, separating the two spaces by a glass wall. 

By pulling the podium back from the curb, the tower's setback from the podium is virtually eliminated on the York Street side. The tower would now come straight down to street level, but will be visually separated from the pedestrian space by a large overhead canopy, also meant to shelter pedestrian from the wind and weather. 

Ten York canopy along York Street, presentation board at the first public consultation meeting.

The tower itself was also modified to further articulate the west facade and add some more visual interest from that point of view. 

Ten York podium and tower alignment, presentation board at the first public consultation meeting.

Ten York viewed from the north west, presentation board at the first public consultation meeting.

Ten York closeup from the north west, presentation board at the first public consultation meeting.

Ten York closeup of the east facade, presentation board at the first public consultation meeting.

The rest of the design was maintained overall, including the random vertical placement of projecting glass bays and the use of different shades to create the overall effect.

A few more pertinent details about the project:

  • 75 storey proposal
  • 783 units, 10% will be 3+ bedrooms
  • 330 parking spaces below grade
  • 75 bicycle spaces
  • Approximately 9500 sq ft floor plates; larger than what is prefered by the City's Tall Building Guidelines, but necessary to accommodate the structural engineering required to support a building of this height. 
  • Average of 12 units per floor.

The second half of the meeting was devoted to community questions. There was a level of anxiety in the air and the overall consensus from locals was not positive. Many raised concerns that primarily spoke towards the future carrying capacity of the community, and the potential impact that this project will have. 

Questions came up about the apparent conflict of interest between Build Toronto's mandate to maximize its return on this property, vs the City planning department whose interest is supposed to be aligned with the community. The community wanted clarification from Councilor Vaughan on the City's priorities.

Comments were raised about traffic issues dealing with the 330 proposed parking spaces, as well as parking associated with future projects immediately east. Many were concerned that the pace of development is very quick and the city is perpetually playing a game of catch up with respect to its transportation studies. How will the realignment of the Gardiner off-ramps affect traffic flow with these projects taken into consideration, and will the community be able to deal with more traffic than it already has? Direct comparisons between New York and Toronto transporation policies were brought up, and about the need to grow up and act like a big city. Some felt that the proposed parking still doesn't go far enough to encourage a car-free lifestyle that should have greater emphasis in this area. One person commented that parking should be eliminated almost entirely, and most of the spots could be devoted to car share spaces instead.

Unit sizes and family friendly amenities were also highlighted, and there was unanimous consensus that the small sizes would not be sufficient to convince enough families to settle in the neighbourhood over the long run. Many were worried that the building itself would become a vertical transient neighbourhood as a result. Councilor Vaughan reiterated his preference to see mixed use/mixed demographic vertical neighbourhoods with substantial retail components, as well as potential for commercial space to create vibrancy. He went so far as to compare some of today's single-use high density residential towers to the monoculture of yesterday's single-use low density suburban neighbourhoods of the post war period. 

Also mentioned was the design of the amenity spaces, most of which are currently targeted to the needs of young adults, but which may not have enough to offer families. Some community members commented that it would be preferable to have amenity spaces which children can use as well, as most exercise spaces are generally off limits to children since they involve liability issues with condo corporations. Councilor Vaughan agreed with the need to reimagine amenity spaces in that regard, and to address economic diversity in new towers to encourage them to cater to more than just a narrow slice of the economic market. 

Overall, more questions were brought up than were answered, and the proposal now returns to the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel on April 11 for their input. Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime, what do you think of this project? Leave us with your comments bellow, and join the conversation in the discussion thread for this project. 

Related Companies:  Brandon Communications, II BY IV DESIGN, Janet Rosenberg + Studio, PRO-BEL, Tridel, Wallman Architects