In the decades since its Bohemian heyday, Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood has gradually evolved into a luxe shopping destination and a 'see and be seen' kind of place. On Yorkville Avenue itself, the area's established high-end character is continuing to evolve—and become more pronounced—as the posh 'village' becomes home to a growing number of international luxury brands.

The future home of Chanel at 100 Yorkville, with 102-104 seen at left, image via Google Maps

This year, Chanel is set to replace the Teatro Verde home furnishing store at 100 Yorkville, while a flagship new Christian Loboutin store at 99 Yorkville is already open next door, bringing a global luxury brand to the intimately scaled Toronto street. Right across the street at 101 Yorkville—the longtime home of Over the Rainbow Jeans and Summer's Ice Cream—the low-rise retail complex is also subject to a 35,000 ft² redevelopment, following the site's $17.8 million purchase by Greybrook Realty Partners and First Capital Realty in 2016. 

101 Yorkville, image via Google Maps

Meanwhile, the neighbouring properties at 102-104 and 106-108 Yorkville are also slated to be redeveloped as a more upscale retail destination. Initially subject to individual proposals, the neighbouring properties at 102-104 and 106-108 Yorkville now form a new submission by First Capital. Both of last year's initial submissions were put forward by First Capital subsidiaries, with the resubmitted—and re-designed—proposal now set to be evaluated as a single project by the City. 

106-108 and 102-104 Yorkville's existing buildings (l-r), image via Google Maps

The two existing properties are adapted house-form buildings, and are currently occupied by a relatively eclectic mix of retailers, ranging from high-end fashion and optical boutiques to a South Street Burger, as well as a recently shuttered sushi restaurant. Both buildings also feature a partially underground lower level topped by additional retail space, providing a high concentration of storefronts—and all the street-level activity they potentially catalyze—along a relatively narrow Yorkville Avenue frontage. 

Initial AUDAX design for 106-108 and 102-104, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Designed by AUDAX Architecture, First Capital's initial plans for the site (seen above) called for the revamp of both 102-104 and 106-108 Yorkville. The partial demolition of the site's three-storey buildings would see a new set of retail frontages meet the street. Both buildings retained individual spaces, with AUDAX's designs showing considerable sensitivity to the rhythm of the site's existing house-form typologies. 

AUDAX design for 102-104 Yorkville (r-l), image via submission to the City of Toronto

Meanwhile, the new submission offers a somewhat different architectural solution. Now designed by Toronto's Kearns Mancini Architects, the redevelopment would still re-configure the site as a more upscale retail destination, while partially departing from house-form typologies in favour of a simplified retail frontage at 102-104 Yorkville. Compared to residential developments, plans—and designs—for commercial developments are typically more strongly contingent on tenant specifications, meaning that the evolution of these projects is often driven by future tenants' specific needs. 

The new Kearns Mancini design, image via submission to the City of Toronto

With five tenants now planned across three above-ground floors and a basement level, the new redevelopment plan would maintain some of the site's fine-grained retail character, though—as with the previous submission—the concentration of street-fronting commercial spaces would not be quite as it is now. Three multi-level storefronts face the street at grade, with a fourth space, accessible via a pedestrian laneway east of the site, planned for part of the basement, and a fifth on the third floor. 

Another view of the new Kearns Mancini design, image via submission to the City of Toronto

While the buildings would share back-of-house spaces—and some degree of aesthetic continuity—the two properties would continue to read as discrete typologies. At 102-104, the glassy new frontage highlights the luxurious double-height space fronting the street. Next door, the 106-108 Yorkville frontage (above) is still imagined as a more solid presence, with the configuration of windows hinting at the area's house-form character. 

Aerial view of the combined 102-108 site in its broader urban context, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Architecturally, the project still maintains the general scale of the existing built form. Since Yorkville Village is designated as a Special Identity Area, the City's planning guidelines require the scale and materiality of new development to show deference to existing context. From the street, both properties read as two-storey structures, with the third and final storeys stepped back behind a pair of terraces. At ground level, landscaping by Terraplan Landscape Architects could contribute new seating and small-scale public realm enhancements.  

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We will keep you updated as more information about the plans becomes available, and the planning process continues. In the meantime, you can learn more by checking out our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread. 

Related Companies:  AUDAX architecture, First Capital Realty, Gillam Group, Kearns Mancini Architects