‘Scoop 2’, is the marketing name for a 12 storey mixed-use condo development at 1779-1791 St Clair Avenue West in Toronto. The proposal was first brought before the Design Review Panel last May, yielding a range of comments and recommendations that primarily concerned scale, the public realm design, and the building’s connection to its surroundings. The comments were taken into consideration by the project's proponents Graywood Developments and SMV Architects, in an amended design was brought before the Panel last week.
The first phase of this two-part development, Scoop is already underway across Osler Street from the Scoop 2 site. The phase one building, located at 1771 St Clair Avenue West on the east side of Osler, is a six-storey mid-rise, offering a range of one and two bedroom layouts in 72 units. The second phase of development will continue the revitalization of the south side of St Clair in the area, bringing new residents and retail to an area east of The Stockyards which has been lacking in recent reinvestment otherwise.
Scoop 2 is proposed as a 12-storey, 20,900 square-metre mixed-use building which would provide 261 residential units, consisting of 176 one-bedroom units and 85 two-bedroom units. Nearly 700 sq m of retail fronting on St Clair is included. Graywood states the objective of the development is to enhance an ‘underdeveloped Avenue within the City’, by ‘providing sustainable mixed-use Avenue conditions to accommodate mid-rise development and facilitate the revitalization of St Clair Avenue.
The proposal has been designed to encourage an active and pedestrian-oriented public realm, with walking connections through the site. An existing laneway (halfway between Ford and Osler streets) will be maintained for pedestrians moving from St Clair Avenue to the residential back lots south of the site by leaving an open air walkway through the building's ground level. Residential entry points into the building have been relocated to an ‘improved mid block location’, connecting St Clair both to the development’s landscaped courtyard and the public lane, with more convenient access to transit stops west of the site.
A number of public and private areas, including private patios, outdoor dining and seating areas, lawns and garden plots, and a dog enclosure, are all included in the proposal. Several Design Review Panelists commented that they thought that this many separate spaces could be too ambitious, suggesting that instead, some of the green spaces like the lawn and the allotments be transposed to rooftop areas, where other landscaped elements had been proposed. Other features at ground level include bicycle parking (for 321 bikes), the underground garage entrance (for 168 spaces, across two underground levels), and other service areas consolidated behind the development, out of sight from St Clair.
In the time since the initial design review last year, the City of Toronto and the TTC have announced plans to widen St Clair under a rail underpass just to the west to accommodate GO expansion plans. This affects the northwest corner of the property where land will be needed when the widening goes ahead. In response, the building’s St Clair frontage has been articulated to create a stepped facade better suited to the future property line. Until the widening goes ahead, a wedge-shaped space along St Clair will be created with potential for landscaping and public realm elements. A member of the Design Review Panel suggested that this space be used to install a dense bosque of trees that can be moved in the future, when need be.
‘Strong, contemporary masonry’, including a number of different bricks and colours, has been chosen to clad the development. A blend of brick and glazing will characterize the built form at ground level, with covered entry points for residents around the perimeter. Darker brick, glazing, and recessed balconies are proposed on floors 2 through 9. This ‘mosaic’ of up to four kinds of brick is intended to reflect the diversity of the neighbourhood. Metal paneling and glazing will envelop floors 10 - 12 and the mechanical penthouse.
The proposal has been set back from Osler Street and Ford Street, as well as from St Clair—the required 45 degree plane along its frontage—to allow for sufficient light to pass onto the Avenue.
The proposal was generally well received by the Design Review Panel, with 10 members voting to support the development, with one no supporting the design. Ultimately, the development’s current plans for the public realm received most scrutiny. A member commented that the architectural sophistication of the proposal, including the various outdoor areas and the wide building setbacks, need not be too complicated to create a ‘simple but impactful pedestrian space’. With so many retail options on St Clair, the most important things to provide at grade are engaging spaces for pedestrian to walk through and gather in. The building, being a big and bulky structure, will have to seem inviting to people at ground level, and this could be facilitated with a well thought out public realm and a clever separation or ‘breaking up’ of the building’s massing, and mixed-use types.
You can access more information on the Scoop developments on our dataBase file, linked below. To join in on the conversation, head to our associated forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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