Anyone who is familiar with St. Clair West between Spadina and Russell Hill Road will know about Sir Winston Churchill Park. Stretching along the south side of the avenue here, accessible via the St. Clair streetcar line and perched above the Nordheimer ravine, the park provides a major breathing space for the city, a great place to run or to play tennis, to toboggan in the wintertime, and great views of the skyline year-round.
The park is surrounded by great neighbourhoods too; some of the most sought after real estate in Toronto rings the greenspace here, from Forest Hill mansions to Tower Hill rental units, and, well, not quite everything in between. There's definitely some rarified air around here.
That's why it has been surprising that for the last many years there's been a bit of an eyesore at the northwest corner of St. Clair and Parkwood Avenues, opposite the park. Representing a failed attempt to build a seniors residence on the property, the uncompleted project has been a blight on its surroundings, and the very good news is that it's coming down, now.
New owners of the site BLVD Developments and Lifetime Developments finalized plans over the last year, and with electricity now installed on site, things are happening. The eyesore be substantially demolished over the next two weeks, and will be completely cleaned away in the next four to six weeks. What comes after that is a new addition to the local postal code, to be called in fact The Code Condos.
Brian Brown, Principal of BLVD Developments and Vice-President at Lifetime Developments, told us about their plans for the project, and how they have come about. Brian is one of those people who grew up tobogganing across the street at the park, and who knew they could do something good here. BLVD's niche is boutique condominiums with character—Victory on King West is a good example—and the personal connection to the area gave them added incentive to get this spot right.
It was to the park that the developers went to speak to locals last summer, trying out project ideas on them. The message came back that most people wanted something modern that was sensitive to and complemented its neighbours, rather than something traditional that tried to ape the architectural styles of the adjacent homes. As St. Clair's mid-rises and even high-rises have mostly been modernist over the years, it made perfect sense to pursue that design route.
BLVD and Lifetime handed the project to Hariri-Pontarini Architects to design. One of Toronto's finest modernist firms, Brown asked HPA for a building that might convey a similar feel to their celebrated McKinsey & Co building on Charles Street West. Their response is for a brick and brushed metal 9 storey-high building which terraces down towards the low-rise neighbourhood of Forest Hill to the north. Windows will be a hybrid curtainwall-windowwall system.
When the developers originally proposed retail for street level, the neighbourhood was not so interested. There's shopping to the west at Loblaws, and to the north on Spadina. Here the consensus was to not commercialize the area across from the park, so instead, The Code Condos will feature two storey townhomes with individual patio entries at grade. Above the townhomes, the suites are being designed to appeal to both young couples looking for a place to establish themselves beyond the downtown core, and to those who have lived in the area for years and who are planning to downsize.
Being able to stay close to the shops, restaurants, services, and friends that one accrues over a lifetime is a major factor when making the downsizing move, so the developers know there will be interest from locals looking to do that. We expect we will soon be learning more about what the project will offer inside as more renderings and the floor plans are completed.
In the meantime, if you want more information on the project, UrbanToronto's dataBase page for The Code Condos is linked below. It contains more information and will link you to the official site. If you want to talk about the project, you can join the conversation in the associated Forum threads, or you can leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
|Related Companies:||BLVD Developments, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Lifetime Developments, Milborne Group, Strybos Barron King, Studio Munge, Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc, TUCKER HIRISE Construction, Wallman Architects|