The area east of Davisville subway station over to Mount Pleasant Road is increasingly dominated by mid and high-rise rental towers and a number of condominiums. Currently under construction in the area is Shiplake Management Company's Balliol Park, an intensification of a tower-in-the-park site where former rental townhomes are being replaced by rental towers. Now future growth is being promised for a site a short distance to the west of Balliol Park at 22 Balliol, currently the site of a Sobey's grocery store one building in from Yonge Street.

Northeast-facing aerial view of the site, image retrieved from Apple Maps

A rezoning application was submitted to the City of Toronto late last month on behalf of Shiplake, seeking a 38-storey residential tower for the site with 425 rental units and retail occupying the ground and second floors. Designed by architects gh3, the tower features a podium consisting of two-storey and eight-storey volumes, with a rectilinear main volume rising above.

22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

The development pairs retail and residential density with a simple-yet-striking Modernist design featuring crisp, clean vertical lines that emphasize the tower's verticality. The design of the project is quite the departure from the primarily glass-clad residential towers that have typified the current housing boom, possibly as a response to recent changes to the Ontario Building Code that limits a building envelope to a maximum of 40% vision glass.

Balliol Street frontage of 22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

Ground level landscaping creates a dialogue between the structure and its Balliol Street frontage, with the vertical lines of the tower extending outward from the base to form a series of lines and benches punctuating the public realm. Renderings show a greatly improved street level experience, with a clear relationship between the multi-level retail space and Balliol Street's pedestrian realm. The current grocer on the site, Sobey's, will be back when the redevelopment is complete, with the 8,000 square foot space growing to 20,000 square feet.

Pedestrian realm, 22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

The roof of the podium's north two-storey volume, south eight-storey volume, and the roof of the tower's uppermost habitable floor would all feature outdoor amenity spaces with colourful landscaping that responds to the geometry of the building envelope, while also improving the tower's energy efficiency. The diagram below helps to explain the evolution of gh3's landscaping plans.

Evolution of rooftop landscaping for 22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

The lower podium rooftop would include over 560 square metres of outdoor amenity space, with an additional 780 square metres of indoor amenity space housed on the third floor. Up at the top of the tower, the rooftop will support nearly 500 square metres of outdoor amenity space, with an additional 90 square metres of indoor amenity space.

Axonometric view of 22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

While 22 Balliol Residences is a breath of fresh air from a design standpoint, the proposed height exceeds that of surrounding high-rises, with Shiplake's topped-off Balliol Park—the nearest comparable structure—rising 91 metres versus the 126 metre height being sought by the developer for 22 Balliol Residences. 22's proximity to Yonge Street and the Davisville subway station suggests that more height and density here will have merit some consideration.

East view on Balliol Street, 22 Balliol Residences, image retrieved from the City of Toronto

We will return with additional information as new details about the project emerge. In the meantime, you will find more renderings of the project in our dataBase file, linked below. You can join the conversation by visiting the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

This article was updated with new information about the Sobey's grocery store.

Related Companies:  gh3, Shiplake Management Company