Suddenly becoming one of the more talked-about parts of the city, Toronto's Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood is poised to transform in the coming years, with the recent news of a Studio Gang-designed rental project adding to ongoing efforts to revitalize the area. Adding to the refurbished buildings, new mural, and more animated streets, plans to re-make the southeast corner of what was once a more vibrant intersection are taking shape now too.

Aerial view of Yonge and St Clair, image via Slate Asset Management

Last week, an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) was tabled with the City of Toronto to allow for a pair of adjacent high-rises to be constructed on a site spanning between St Clair West and Pleasant Boulevard along Yonge. While the two projects are proceeding separately, the joint OPA has been submitted in order to facilitate a more comprehensive assessment of the block as a whole, allowing the two tower sites to be considered in a shared context.

The 1 St Clair East site (shaded) and the 1421 Yonge site (outline), image via submission to the City of Toronto

South of St Clair, Terracap Management's plans for the site at 1421 Yonge have actually been underway since late 2014, with a rezoning application resubmitted to the City in November of last year. Now planned as a 46-storey mixed-use tower with 379 residential units, 7,200 m² of office space, and 2,500 m² of street-fronting retail, the Wallman Architects-designed project is continuing its way though the planning process, with OMB-led negotiations now underway.

1421 Yonge, image via Terracap

Initially proposed as a 42-storey tower, the Terracap project proved contentious with members of the community and local Councillor Josh Matlow, with the first proposal rejected by the City in late 2015. The project would replace a collection of low-rise but fine-grained street-fronting retail, as well as a five-storey commercial office building, and 13 rental apartments.  

Podium levels, 1421 Yonge, image via Terracap

To the north, another tower may eventually be planned at the corner. Currently occupied by a 10-storey office tower, the smaller site is part of Slate Asset Management's large portfolio of Yonge and St. Clair properties. Held through Midtown Yonge Properties Inc., the property has the potential to prove a marquee component of Slate's plans for the neighbourhood, though the scope of a concrete proposal for the site has yet to be revealed.

Aerial view of the block, image via submission to the City of Toronto

When Slate's plans for the neighbourhood first came to light last June, however, a more modest Gensler-designed retrofit of the podium levels was being touted, similar to the ongoing and planned treatment for the other commercial buildings in Slate's local portfolio.

Slate's previous Genlser-designed concept, image via Slate

According to a planning rationale prepared by Urban Strategies Inc., the proposed OPA—which takes both tower sites into account—would help "provide for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Block, and in a manner that supports tall building development and public realm improvements. The proposed OPA to the Yonge-St. Clair Secondary Plan will allow for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Block in the form of two tall buildings and a coordinated base building condition."

Slate's portfolio of local buildings, image via Slate

More specifically, the new OPA submission seeks for the City to consider the 1421 Yonge submission with regard to a high-rise redevelopment to the north. As it stands, the "proposed [1421 Yonge] tower location would limit the ability to provide adequate tower separation between a future tall building development on the 1 St. Clair Avenue East Site," the planning rationale argues.

According to the submission, the current 1421 Yonge proposal hinders the viability of redeveloping the more prominent corner site immediately north. Given the current layout and massing of the 1421 Yonge proposal, the rationale argues that another tower meeting the City's Tall Buildings Guidelines of a 750 m² floorplate and a 25-metre separation distance from its neighbour would not be possible. 

We will keep you updated as plans for the area continue to take shape, and the planning context evolves. In the meantime, you can learn more about the proposed 1421 Yonge development via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversations in our associated Forum threads for 1421 Yonge and 1 St Clair East


Related Companies:  Great Gulf, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Janet Rosenberg + Studio, Terracap Management