Our Growth to Watch For series continues west from our trip along Dupont, St Clair, and Eglinton West as we venture into the northwest corner of the city, taking a look at development occurring throughout north Etobicoke, the western edge of North York, and Weston. It's a quieter area of the city development-wise, with projects often a couple of kilometres apart. Nevertheless, a variety of new projects of different uses and scales is on the way, and the area is in a good position for future development given transit projects in the area, with the Finch West LRT to break ground, the Crosstown LRT under construction, and plans forming for its extension westward along Eglinton to Pearson Airport.
Our journey begins at Eglinton and Black Creek Drive, arching west and north through Etobicoke before heading back east, and then south along Weston Road, where we will give an overview of all projects about to be completed, progressing through construction, or working their way through the various stages of the planning process.
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We start at the terminus of the Crosstown LRT, with the site for the new Mount Dennis Station at the corner of Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive, along with the 'EMSF', now well into construction. In addition to connections with GO and bus routes, Mount Dennis Station will also be home to a maintenance and storage facility for the Crosstown vehicles. 2017 was a big year for the massive transit project, with the completion of tunnelling and the installation of the first rails taking place. A January 2018 flyover video from Metrolinx shows what's been accomplished here so far:
Heading west a couple of kilometres, past the Humber River and Scarlett Road, a proposal a couple block north of Eglinton at 45 La Rose Avenue could add a 7-storey residential infill building on a high-rise apartment site. Headed by Richview Developments and designed by Turner Fleischer Architects, the building would contain 187 new units while maintaining the existing 16-storey rental apartment tower on site. The developers have appealed the lack of a decision by the City to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), and the first pre-hearing comes up in April.
Along Eglinton Avenue West, a series of developments are planned or are being built on easement lands that had been held by the City since the post-war era for the potential construction of an extension of Highway 403—known as the Richview Expressway—that would have transformed Eglinton into a highway between the 401 in the west to the planned Highway 400 extension through the Black Creek Valley in the east. During Rob Ford's time as Mayor, the lands were transferred to Build Toronto and sold off, the results of which are beginning to materialize in the open space along the avenue.
One such development to take advantage of the freed up space is a rather massive proposal by Lanterra Developments for the Plant World site at 4000 Eglinton, just east of Royal York Road, which would see a complex of five residential towers constructed measuring in at 33, 30, 27, 24 and 18 storeys. Designed by the IBI Group, the entire development would add roughly 1,900 new residential units with ground-level retail to the high-rise apartment neighbourhood. An October 27, 2017 OMB pre-hearing for the appealed plan was cancelled last year, and a mediation session was held on December 18, 2017 instead. While there has been no word yet on what was hammered out there, a settlement hearing is scheduled for March 12, 2018.
Another kilometre and a half further west, Build Toronto and the Trinity Group are preparing plans to transform a suburban plaza with a plan called Richview Square. Named for this stretch of Eglinton's original moniker, the development combines land from the existing plaza (the back of which is seen in the image below) with the open land along Eglinton, and replaces most of the surface parking and open land with new mixed-use commercial/residential buildings. While a couple of community consultations took place in 2017, a submission has not yet been made to the City.
Immediately to the west of this coming proposal, is an active project by Shannex. Construction for a retirement residence at 4650 Eglinton, began in 2017. Named Parkland Eglinton, it is designed by the IBI Group and Robertson Simmons Architects, the two 9-storey buildings connected by a 5-storey central wing will contain 272 rental units geared toward seniors, with neighbourhood daycare located on the ground floor.
Passing National Homes' recently completed The Townes of Richview at the intersection of Kipling and Eglinton avenues, we take a quick detour into the suburban neighbourhood south of Eglinton to find an infill proposal by Minto on the former Kipling Grove Public School site at 19 Glen Agar Drive. Located in the heart of a low-rise residential neighbourhood, the development by RN Design will replace the school and yard with 12 single detached houses, 72 rear-loaded 3-storey townhouses, 28 two-storey standard townhouses, and a 937 sq m (0.2 acre) public park, bringing a total of 112 new residential units to the area.
Jumping back up to Eglinton, another townhouse project located in the former expressway right-of-way is finishing up just west of Kipling Avenue. The first phase of Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes' Widdicombe & Eglinton Condos finished in 2016. Phase 2, also designed by TACT Architecture and RN Design, will be complete in 2018.
To the north and west across the 401 we get into the industrial areas of Rexdale where entirely different surroundings mean that different types of development are being proposed. West of Martin Grove on the north side of the 401, a 3-storey self-storage facility at 55 Kelfield is seeking site plan approval, and could rise beside the expressway in 2018. To the north of the huge 401/427 interchange, a couple of developments could add density to this low-rise office park this year. The first is a two-storey office building at 2 International Boulevard, splittable among multiple tenants, approved in November 2017 to replace the existing low-slung modernist two-storey office building on the site. The new building is larger, built closer to Carlingview Drive along the west side of the site, its surface parking lot to grow too, to accommodate more cars for the larger workspaces.
On the south side of International Boulevard, one building east of Carlingview, a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and Site Plan Approval has been applied for from the City for a new Holiday Inn Express, mostly aimed at people needing accommodation close to Pearson International Airport. The 7-storey building designed by API Development Consultants / Saplys Architects was submitted to the City in August, 2017.
Heading north about 3 kilometres, the 684-acre site of the Woodbine Race Track fills the area between Highways 27 and 427 south of Rexdale Boulevard. The huge site is mostly empty or simple surface parking lots, and is an obvious candidate for redevelopment, with hundreds of acres available to intensify while preserving the horse racing facilities on half the property. Accordingly, the property has been the subject of development speculation over the past decade, as Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) seeks to increase revenues. Initially, a massive tourist destination dubbed Woodbine Live! was proposed, which would have created a retail, entertainment, restaurant, and nightclub district, with office and retail components built during a second phase. This proposal died in 2013 when WEG split with developers Cordish, but in 2015 Toronto City Council allowed an expansion of slot machines in the casino area to bolster the racetrack's income. In May 2017, a reworked scheme was submitted to the City, with revisions made in Dec 2017 at about the same time the new proposal appeared before the Design Review Panel. Still early in the design of the new version, the DRP wanted to see changes to the plan which proposes designated districts, each with a different theme that together create a mixed-use neighbourhood. Phase 1A of the master plan is a Gaming District—the only portion for which there is an active development application—which would see the construction of a casino and resort complex, complete with hotel and performance venue, connected directly to the existing Grandstand on its east side and stretching northward from the racetrack. Phases 1B through E include the Urban Village, a retail and restaurant district with a fine-grained road network that aims to create an urban shopping experience with ample storefronts and walkable streets. Office, entertainment, and commercial uses would also be included, ensuring a mixed-use district with visitors at all times of the day. This phase also includes plans for 'Woodbine Square', an outdoor plaza and gathering space that can be programmed to host events. The Urban Village encompasses the area west of Queen's Plate Drive to the edge of the racetrack, and north to Rexdale Boulevard.
To the east of Highway 27 and on the same side of Rexdale Boulevard is another August 2017 submission to the City for a 7-storey Holiday Inn, this one designed by n Architecture Inc. The building has 111 hotel suites plus amenities, and a free-standing restaurant pad close to Rexdale Boulevard, seen at lower right below.
On the north side of Rexdale Boulevard across from the race track is the Woodbine Centre. Last year we noted ambitious but not particularly polished plans to redevelop much of the surface parking lots at the mall by the owners. Since that time, no submission has been made to the City, and all traces of the plans have vanished.
A condo development on the west side of Queen's Plate Drive across from the Woodbine Centre is moving toward its second phase. Royale Grand Woodbine Developments completed Phase 1 of The Lexington last year, and has submitted plans to the City for a 13-storey, 125-unit Phase 2 designed by Turner Fleischer Architects. Both buildings back on the greenery of the Humber Arboretum, one of Toronto's most expansive parks.
On the west side of the Humber Arboretum, Tribute Communities is now registering people for condo and freehold townhomes in a development called Humberwood Heights Townhome Residences. The three and four-storey blocks of homes are designed by Icon Architects.
Returning to Highway 27, on the east side north of the West Branch of the Humber, Etobicoke General Hospital is undergoing a major renovation and expansion. The project is headed by Infrastructure Ontario and designed by HDR Architects, and features a 250,000-square-foot (23,200-square-metre) 4-storey patient wing, along with a 17,000-square-foot (1,580-square-metre) renovation to the existing building. Mostly completed on the exterior now (as opposed to the naked steel frame seen in the image below under the crane), it is expected to open early in 2019. Coming up sooner is the new Etobicoke Wellness Centre, seen at the right of the image below. Opening in the Fall of this year, the 7-storey building will house mostly outpatient services.
Further north in Etobicoke, it's mostly quiet on the development scene, other than the expansion of a food processing plant in the Claireville area. If we follow Finch Avenue eastbound over to Albion Road, however, we run into more projects again.
At 1155 Albion Road just west of Islington Avenue, a 5-storey seniors' residence is proposed for the south side, overlooking the West Humber parks and ravine. Designed by Romanov Romanov Architects, the building would offer 67 suites for the growing seniors pop
Heading north on Islington Avenue, we cross over the Humber River into North York. A long block north of Finch is the site The Step Condos. In sales, Step is a 5-and-a-half-storey mid-rise condo by Terranata Developments. Designed by Jonathan Weizel Architect, the terraced building features a series of stepbacks bringing the scale of the building down towards the east where it backs onto a mature low-rise neighbourhood. Resubmitted to the City in 2017 for an Official Plan Amendment, a Zoning Bylaw Amendment, and Site Plan Approval, we should see movement here in 2018.
Returning to Finch Avenue, we make our way eastward to the Emery Village area of North York, where jus shy of Weston road there are plans by HS4 Finch Investments Inc. to redevelop a car wash wedged between two fast food restaurants with something far more substantial. The Icon Architects design for 2370 Finch West would bring an attached 15-storey condo and 8-storey seniors residence with 209 and 59 suites respectively. The November, 2017 submission to the City will require both an Official Plan Amendment as well as Zoning Bylaw Amendments.
Less than a block further along we come to where a multi-phase rental development on the southeast corner at Weston Road is adding substantial new density. Phase 1 of Medallion Properties' Casa development, designed by the IBI Group, three towers rising 10, 10, and 28 storeys comprising 634 units, was completed last year. Phase 2 of Casa, which would add two more towers of 26 and 30 storeys, totalling 514 additional units, was appealed to the OMB, but will be supported by the City at a settlement hearing there later this month.
Future phases are planned for the north end of the lot near Finch, with Phase 3 adding two buildings of 8 and 12 storeys totalling 270 units, and Phase 4 adding three more buildings of 8, 8, and 12 storeys totalling additional 310 units.
Making our way south along Weston Road, The Brownstones at Westown, a the sprawling townhouse development at Weston and Sheppard Avenue headed by Lindvest and designed by RN Design, is now finished (the photo below is a year old) other than for a retail plaza which is still on its way to round out the new neighbourhood.
Jumping south of the 401, a residential proposal by Dov Capital Developments is looking to redevelop an industrial site at 8 Oak Street just east of Weston Road. Across Knob Hill Drive from a grocery and big-box shopping complex, the development is designed by Michael Spaziani Architect and is comprised of fourteen 3-storey townhouse units, two 8-storey mid-rises with 182 and 185 units, a 6-storey retirement home with 128 units, and a 3,363-square-metre (36,200-square-foot) public park. The project was appealed to the OMB, and is working through complicated planning issues mostly tied to removing the land from Employment Area designation. A motion s coming before the OMB this month to further the process, but there is no indication yet of how long it may take to resolve the situation here.
Moving south into Weston Village, a new development by the Rockport Group in partnership with the City of Toronto is adding a 30-storey rental tower and Artscape hub on the site of a vacant parking lot at 22 John Street and 33 King Street (not to be confused with the downtown roads of the same name). Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, the proposal will see 370 rental units constructed alongside 7 new townhouses and a 1,200-square-metre (12,900-square-foot) public space, which would provide for an enhanced summertime Weston Village Farmer's Market. In addition, the rear portion of the podium of 33 King Street will be repurposed into a 760-square-metre (8,200-square-foot) Artscape Weston Hub, as well as a self-storage facility. The building is now just over halfway to its final height, and it will top out in the Spring.
South of Weston and Lawrence, a proposal by the private non-profit developer Options for Homes would see a 21-storey affordable condo tower constructed at 10 Wilby Crescent, alongside the Humber River on a former industrial site. Dubbed The Humber, the Architecture Unfolded-designed building proposes to add 235 new units to the area, and is currently working its way through the planning process. Options intends to have the units for sale later this year.
Back on Weston Road again, Old Stonehenge Development Corporation submitted a Zoning Bylaw Amendment application to the City in December, 2017, proposing a 25-storey residential tower immediately beside Weston GO and UPX station. The Core Architects-designed building at 1695 Weston Road would add 240 high-rise homes to a site that is well-served by transit.
Further south and just off of Weston Road, we end off this instalment coming nearly full circle at a site that overlooks the Eglinton Flats parks from a perch atop the valley sides. Here, redevelopment plans for the West Park Healthcare Centre located on Emmett Avenue near Jane Street and Weston Road are evolving.
Initially, a rezoning was approved back in 2010 for an addition to the hospital, along with a reserved block of land for future expansion, and a third block allocated for 'complementary non-hospital uses', potentially residential. However, a recent change to the plan was resubmitted in 2016 to build an entirely new 6-storey 460-bed hospital building comprising roughly 70,000 square metres of floor area to be built out in two phases, along with the retention of the existing Long Term Care Building. The two additional blocks of land earmarked for future expansion and non-hospital use remain relatively the same, with minor tweaks to density allowances. Preliminary massing models have been illustrated by HOK Architects, and the re-submittal was approved in March, 2017. Since that time, a Request for Proposals was tendered to a shortlist of bidders on July, 28. A winning bidder has not yet been announced, but one can assume that will come soon.
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ED NOTE: This article was republished with 2370 Finch West added in.
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Next up, our Growth to Watch For series will cross the Black Creek and head up Keele Street, tour through the Yorkdale area, and head towards North Toronto and the Hoggs Hollow area. In the meantime, make sure to check out the database files and Forum threads for each of the projects mentioned for more information. You can tell us what you think of all the developments happening in the city by joining the discussions in the associated Forum threads, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page!