When ONE Properties first proposed a trio of towers rising as high as 56 storeys on the southeast corner of Queen and Sherbourne back in 2016, our readers and Forum contributors were immediately divided between being supportive and opposed to the development. The controversial proposal at 245 Queen East was viewed as either a positive injection of density into a crime-ridden neighbourhood that would also intensify development at a potential Relief Line subway station, or it was seen as being the beginning of gentrification that turned a blind eye to the existing communities of one of Toronto's poorest neighbourhoods, perpetuating the social inequality of the city's housing market.

Previous proposal for 245 Queen East, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

Regardless, the Design Review Panel and the City seemed to side with the latter view, criticizing the project as being too tall, too dense, and too ignorant of the surrounding context. The development went quiet for over a year with no apparent progress, but recently, a completely redesigned proposal has been submitted to the City that involves a significant reduction in height of the towers proposed. Whereas the previous iteration listed Arquitectonica, S9 Architecture, and Sweeny &Co Architects as the design team, only Sweeny &Co's name appears on the most recent set of drawings.

Revised proposal for 245 Queen East, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

The revised proposal maintains a three-tower configuration, but with a reorganized massing. The towers now rise to heights of 24, 28, and 37 storeys, reduced from the previous scheme of 47, 52, and 56 storeys. The massing has been shifted to allow a new public park to be situated along Queen Street to the north, replacing the central 'urban room' that was previously proposed within the shopping plaza. The number of residential units has been reduced from 1,820 to 1,468, but the gross floor area of non-residential uses has increased slightly. The revised proposal still maintains a mix of uses on the site, with residential (both rental and condo), office, commercial, and hotel components included.

Revised proposal for 245 Queen East, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

Building A stretches along McFarrens Lane on the western edge of the site and contains the greatest mix of uses. Rising 28 storeys to a height of 102.1 metres, the L-shaped building contains retail spaces on the ground and second floors with office spaces on the remaining three levels of the 5-storey podium. A new 124-room hotel is situated on the northern portion of floors 6 through 16, with the main lobby entrance situated along McFarrens Lane to ensure a continuous public realm along Queen and to avoid interfering with transit and traffic flow. The remainder of the building will contain residential uses, with 519 rental units proposed. The massing of the building presents a tiered form stepping back from a consistent 12-metre streetwall along Queen, with the 28-storey tower portion situated to the south of the site along Richmond.

Revised ground floor plan, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

Building B is located in the northeast corner of the site and is proposed at a height of 24 storeys and 89.8 metres. The ground and second floors houses retail spaces, while the remaining three floors of the 5-storey podium contain office spaces. The upper floors of the building contain residential uses, with 437 condo units. Much like Building A to the west, Building B maintains a 12-metre streetwall along Queen with a series of stepbacks to the 24-storey tower, which is situated at the southern end of the building.

Revised seventh floor plan, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

Building C is located in the southeast corner of the site and is the tallest building of the three, reaching a height of 37 storeys and 128.1 metres. The 4-storey podium contains retail at ground level, with office space on the remaining three floors. The remainder of the building contains residential uses, with a total of 512 condo units proposed. Building C wraps around the three-storey heritage building at 412 Richmond East at the corner of Richmond and Ontario Streets, which is no longer included in the development. Much like Buildings A and B, the 37-storey tower of Building C is stepped back from all four facades and is located at the centre of the podium.

South elevation of 245 Queen East, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

The revised proposal for 245 Queen East also includes a greater heritage component, with retention of the heritage facades along both Queen and Richmond Streets. As well, all new buildings afford significant setbacks from the retained facades.

In addition, a new 1,400-square-metre public park is proposed at the centre of the block fronting onto Queen Street, located between Buildings A and B. Two mid-block connections separate the three buildings from one another, one in the form of a POPS connecting the new park to Richmond Street to the south, and the other in the form of a laneway connecting the park to Ontario Street to the east.

Revised roof plan, image courtesy of ONE Properties.

The revised design is still in its early stages, and changes may still be forthcoming as it moves through the planning process. The development was appealed to the OMB late last year with a pre-hearing scheduled in August 2018, and it is not yet known how the recent design changes will impact the hearing. We will keep you updated as further details emerge of the proposal, but in the meantime, you can see the previous design renderings in our database file for the project, linked below, join in the discussion by checking out the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Arquitectonica, NAK Design Strategies, ONE Properties, S9 Architecture, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc.