Choice Properties REIT, owners of the plaza at 2280 Dundas Street West, have released concept renderings, a site plan, and preliminary numbers for a proposed redevelopment of the site and of the adjacent high school site across from Dundas West subway station and Bloor GO and UPX station in Toronto's West End.

A view of the site, with the adjacent TDSB lands to the north, image via Choice Properties REIT

First introduced to the community at a meeting in June 2017 where locals were given the opportunity to spell out their ideas for the land, Choice REIT engaged Urban Strategies, Giannone Petricone Associates, and Public Work to create a concept plan or the plaza's redevelopment. Something that was made clear at that first meeting was a desire held by many that the adjacent Toronto Catholic District School Board's (TCDSB's) Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton High School at the corner of Bloor and Dundas be incorporated into the plan. An initial concept was debuted at a second public meeting in October 2017, and feedback was gathered at it. As well, a storefront gallery has been in operation ever since at the site, with about 1,700 walk-ins over the last several months, where Choice has been happy to answer questions and take more feedback.

Now, having added Hariri Pontarini Architects to the team, and formal discussions with the TCDSB and the Toronto District School Board (which leases the school to the TCDSB) to build a new school in the southwest corner of the site, Choice has returned with a reworked and more fleshed-out concept plan that all be the basis of a soon-to-be-submitted application to the City of Toronto for an Official Plan Amendment.

Site plan for Choice Properties REIT's OPA application for the Bloor-Dundas Redevelopment proposal, image by Hariri Pontarini

The reworked proposal adds one new north-south road to the site, and two east-west roads, while bringing a pedestrian mews southeast from the corner of Bloor and Dundas into the heart of the site. Nine residential towers are proposed with about 2,600 units planned, in around a 50-50 mix of Choice-managed rental suites and condos built with development partners. (The final ratio of rentals to condos is still to be worked out, as is the percentages of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom suites.) Affordable rentals are also to be part of the mix, but again, the numbers are still to come.

Looking northwest across the Bloor-Dundas Redevelopment site, image by Hariri Pontarini Architects

Office space in the updated concept is now on the east side of the site close to the railway corridor in snaking 7 and 10-storey structures that overlook a sheltered galleria. Choice is tailoring tech firms that will want substantial space located just minutes from downtown and the airport via the GO Train and Union Pearson Express trains that stop just to the north of the site.

Transit connections are key to the development, image by Hariri Pontarini Architects

Choice's plans call for space for about 3,500 jobs onsite, meaning that the live-work ratio of space here is quite balanced. Retail will be found at the base on most buildings, and will include a new Loblaws and LCBO to replace the current stores at the plaza, while adding many new stores and restaurants. Construction will be phased so that the current stores can operate until the new ones are ready to open. The same continuity of operation is planned for the high school: it will stay open in its current location until the new school at the south end of the site is ready to open in the fall of the same year.

Landscaped park and POPS space will knit the site together, image by Hariri Pontarini Architects

Knitting the site together will be a new park and POPS space, and areas reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, all still in an early concept stage. Plans for the office building include a cycle-in bicycle garage in the Dutch style, the first instance of which we have heard of for Toronto. A fly-through video of the site produced by the Choice REIT team shows off these attributes.

Choice intends to submit the Official Plan Amendment application in the next few weeks, while a Zoning Bylaw Amendment will follow as the OPA submission solidifies.

More renderings and details of the plans can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. If you're like to engage in the conversation, you can visit our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Counterpoint Engineering, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Urban Strategies Inc.