Just over a year ago, it was announced that the largest hotel in Canada, the Eaton Chelsea, could see a massive redevelopment with four mixed-use towers replacing the existing hotel at 33 Gerrard Street West. As the rezoning application circulated through City Staff, revisions and refinements were made: in March, a public consultation released updated renderings, and reduced the number of towers down from four to three, with the density reallocated within the three towers, and included a 6-storey office building. Next, it went through the Design Review Panel (DRP) in April where Panelists voted in favour of a conditional refinement, meaning issues such as massing, setbacks and height should be resolved, along with a second visit to the DRP.
Late last week, planning documents were released with further changes to the project. Now dubbed "Chelsea Green", the Great Eagle Holdings' project designed by architectsAlliance now consists of more open space, and taller towers. While the three towers remain, their heights have increased. The shortest tower is now 49-storeys, the first 30 storeys of which would be a new Eaton Chelsea Hotel, while the two east mixed-use residential towers are now both proposed to be 88-storeys.
Coming in at 285 metres tall, this would make these two buildings taller than their 272-metre-tall neighbour Aura, immediately north of the site. Included in the plan is a 2-storey commercial retail building, located just south of the proposed 49-storey building. The 6-storey office building has now been replaced with an extension of the proposed public park, a green wall at the western property line, and glass canopy over a one-way loading ramp onto Elm Street.
In total, 2,135 residential units are proposed, compared to the initial 1,900. They are split up to 290 bachelor units, 1,314 1-bedroom, 417 2-bedroom, and 117 3-or-more bedroom units. Included in the residential aspect is the inclusion of about 11,000m² of rental units, allowing for more housing options. Located in the base of the southeast tower will be a daycare facility, approximately 639m² in size.
The retail component comprises 7,529m² of space and is dispersed throughout the towers' podium levels. This is a substantial increase from the previous 2,108m² of retail space initially proposed. Additionally, over 3,100m² of office space is now proposed, and overall would create a job gain on the property.
Along with the height increase, the minimalist-modernist design of the towers has progressed subtly. As the buildings grew thinner and taller in order to achieve more parkland at ground level, gentle waves created by varying window frame thicknesses rise up the side of the buildings. The floor plates are now 700m² for the smallest tower, 834m² for the northeast tower, and 957m² for the southeast tower.
At ground level, perhaps the biggest change is the expansion of the proposed public park. By removing the 6-storey building that would front onto Elm, this allowed more room for a much needed public park. Extending up from Elm, the park will open up onto privately-owned-publicly-assessible spaces (POPS), continuing through the site onto Gerrard, and would overlook the currently under construction Barbara Ann Scott Park. Seating areas will be provided throughout the POPS, encouraging both active and passive uses within the space.
Not changed since first proposed is the reconnection of the existing east and west portions of Walton Street, which would allow for a better flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Walton is proposed to function as a woonerf, from which the residential parking ramp would be accessed. The hotel parking would be accessed through a new ramp along Gerrard, removing the current one.
575 vehicle parking spaces would be located through five levels of underground parking while 2,446 bicycle spaces would be provided, including over 260 spaces for visitors. Amenity space would be found in all three towers, with 4,349m² dedicated indoor space, and 2,416m² of outdoor amenities.
As this project currently awaits a second date at the DRP, we will be sure to follow this project closely and keep you updated as the plans become more concrete. In the meantime, you can find renderings of both the new and earlier versions of the proposal in our dataBase file, linked below. Feel free to share your thoughts on the refinement in the comment space provided on this page, or join in the ongoing conversation in the associated Forum thread.