The Ontario Municipal Board has approved by a zoning amendment application and the site plan for Sixty Colborne, a 25-storey condominium to be built at King Street East and Church Streets just east of Toronto's Downtown core. The appeal to the OMB was launched by Freed Developments after the City of Toronto failed to bring a final response to the application to City Council within the time required. 

The property is situated in the northwest corner of what the City considers to be the Saint Lawrence neighbourhood, an area which is characterized predominantly by mid-rise structures. To the west of the area are the skyscrapers of Toronto's financial core, with the heights of those buildings dropping off as they get closer to Church Street. The closest tall buildings are the King Edward Hotel half a block to the west at 18 storeys and a 17-storey residential building north of it across King Street. Across Church Street is Market Square, an 8-storey condominium complex built in 1982.

Looking west across Church Street to Sixty Colborne, image courtesy of Freed Developments

Sixty Colborne is L-shaped and will replace a surface parking lot which wraps around low-rise heritage buildings on the south side of King Street to the immediate west. The architectsAlliance design for Sixty Colborne presents a brick and coloured glass six-storey podium which responds to the height of the closest King Street building (seen below). Above that is a stepped-back glass-walled portion meant to only impose itself minimally on the public realm below. A stepped-back indoor/outdoor amenity level with pool (not shown in the early rendering above) will sit atop this section. A tower is further stepped back from Church Street, rising predominantly over Colborne Street, and taking the building to a total of 25 storeys. Each floorplate of the tower is the same, but floors alternate irregularly between those which have balconies and those where the suites go all the way to the floorplate's edge, creating a staggered effect.

Looking southwest across Church Street at Sixty Colborne, image courtesy of Freed Developments

Ground level along Sixty Colborne's main street edges is shown in the latest renderings with a highly detailed metallic cladding and oversized plate glass vitrines. The Church Street frontage also features an arch leading to the laneway which will give vehicular access to Sixty Colborne's garage as well as maintaining access to the King Street buildings. These elements are all meant to respond in a modern way to the Saint Lawrence neighbourhood's fine grained public realm, the tone of which is set by heritage buildings in the area.

Looking northwest across Colborne Street at Sixty Colborne, image courtesy of Freed Developments

Opponents of the project including representatives of neighbouring condominiums and of the Saint Lawrence Neighbourhood Association felt the building's proposed height was too tall for the mid-rise character of their neighbourhood. Two representatives of Toronto's City Planning Department argued similarly, and that a building in this location would be better in the "mid-teens" in terms of storeys, helping to make a transition down to neighbourhood heights from much taller skyscrapers of the nearby financial core. Those speaking on behalf of the project argued that the building's massing does respond appropriately to local conditions, that undulations in the skyline have been permitted within the transition zones, and that the proposal is in line with City and Provincial policies encouraging intensification in appropriate areas.

Looking southwest past St James Cathedral to Sixty Colborne, image courtesy of Freed Developments

The OMB agreed with the proponents of the project, declaring that the City had failed to prove that the project would negatively impact the neighbourhood. It was specifically mentioned that the proposal had been massed to absolutely minimize new shadowing on the grounds of Saint James Cathedral which sits kitty corner from the site. The OMB also declined to act as the negotiant between the City and the developer in regards to the amount of funding for public benefits, known as Section 37 or s37 funds, which the City should receive from the development. The City normally negotiates with developers who request increases in permitted density and height, asking for money to make improvements to the local public realm, but did not do so in this case. A representative of Freed Developments stated the company's intention to volunteer $250,000 to the City for s37 benefits. Negotiation for benefits from a project of this size would typically result in a somewhat higher amount achieved for the City.

Outdoor Amenity at Sixty Colborne, image courtesy of Freed Developments

UrbanToronto will keep abreast of the next moves on Sixty Colborne. In the meantime, if would you like to know more about the project, you will find several more renderings and more information in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get in on the conversation? Choose one of the associated Forum thread links, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  architectsAlliance, Carttera Private Equities, FirstCon, Freed Developments, Johnson Chou Inc., Kentwood, PSR Brokerage