The Toronto neighbourhood of St. James Town, located just south of Bloor Street between Sherbourne and Parliament Streets, has amongst the highest residential densities in the country, and yet like other areas of Toronto is going through a period of intensification through infill development and a reworking of earlier planning and architectural decisions.

With progress now well underway on the ongoing redevelopment on the site of 545 through 565 Sherbourne Street to add a new 43-storey tower while upgrading the real and public realm, a new proposal for a 58-storey tower to the north at Sherbourne and Howard Street has been submitted to the City. Private planning firm Bousfields Inc. on behalf of owner Grossman Holdings and rental property firm Medallion Corporation has filed a re-zoning application to allow the construction of a Page + Steele/IBI Group-designed rental development, which would add 640 units of new housing, as well as ground-level retail and a refreshed park to the area. 

The plan's south elevation, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

As proposed, the tower's 640 units are configured into 416 studio/one-bedroom units, 212 two-bedroom units, and 12 three-bedroom suites. The relative shortage of large, family-oriented three-bedroom units may prove to be a debated element of the preliminary plan, while the 58-storey height could also be contentious.

Aerial context of the site, with the pin showing the heritage property at 601 Sherborne, image retrieved from Apple Maps

As the site's north elevation shows (below), the new tower would be neighbour to a rental development—The Selby—of similar height across Sherbourne Street, which itself will soar above the mid-to-late 20th century towers that now dominate the surroundings to the southeast. A slightly taller 52-storey condominium tower across Selby Street called The Rosedale on Bloor is now in sales to the northwest, while a slightly shorter 50-storey condominium tower has also been approved across Howard Street to the north as part of Lanterra's multi-phase North St. James Town redevelopment. Though these recently approved projects have set a precedent of higher density for the area, the City may still look to reduce the height of this tower, further from the intended height ridge along Bloor Street, in order to bring it in under the height of its neighbours. 

The plan's north elevation, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The proposal would also involve the demolition of several properties along Sherbourne Street, while the heritage structure at 601 Sherbourne—known as the Thomas Cruttenden building—would be retained (below).

The Heritage Structure at 601 Sherbourne will be retained, image retrieved from Google Maps

The properties to the immediate south of the Cruttenden building, located at 599, 595, 591, and 583 Sherbourne (left to right, below), would face demolition. Residents currently housed in the 24 rental housing units found at these properties—many of which are listed as being in "poor condition"—would be given affordable units in the new tower.  

A row of buildings along Sherbourne would be demolished, image retrieved from Google Maps

At street level, the removal of the low-rise heritage structures will change the feeling of the neighbourhood, while the reconfiguration of St James Town Park West—in order to accommodate the footprint of the new tower—will necessitate a comprehensive redesign of the green space.

The park will receive a major facelift, with passive seating and active play areas, in addition to a series of well-lit pedestrian connections, planned for the space. Meanwhile a parking garage already directly underneath the park will be expanded by 13 spaces and reconfigured to hold 893 spaces for the entire development, with 249 spaces dedicated to the new tower. Space to park 640 bicycles is proposed under the new tower.

The preliminary site plan, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The tower itself will include 1,280 square metres of indoor amenity space, located on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and 293 square metres of outdoor amenity space on the 2nd and 4th floors. At ground level, a dividable 420 square metre retail area has also been proposed.

UrbanToronto will continue to keep its readers up to date as the application process winds its way through City Hall, and we will be sure sure to report on any changes that arise. For more information, check out the discussion on our Forum.