The Crosstown LRT is poised to add a major upgrade to Toronto's transit network when it begins operation (hopefully) three years from now, but its effects extend far beyond relieving the commutes of Torontonians across the city. Along with new transit comes new transit-oriented development, and the Crosstown LRT is already fuelling explosions of development in areas like Midtown and the Golden Mile. One such up-and-coming area is the intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Don Mills Road, earmarked in the Eglinton Connects Study as a prime location for densification focused around the new Science Centre station, and recently a rezoning application has been submitted to the City for the second of two massive development proposals in the area.
The proposal involves two Build Toronto sites at the southwest and southeast corners of Eglinton and Don Mills, referred to as 770 Don Mills and 805 Don Mills respectively, both of which are currently occupied by large surface parking lots. These properties were marked as surplus by the City in 2010 and subsequently given over to Build Toronto, who have now enlisted Montgomery Sisam Architects to draft a redevelopment proposal for the two sites.
In total, the development would add roughly 2,377 new residential units, totalling 150,684 square metres of residential gross floor area (GFA) with a unit breakdown of 15% studios, 50% one-bedrooms, 20% two-bedrooms, and 15% three-bedrooms. In addition to the new residential units, roughly 5,818 square metres GFA of non-residential uses are planned, including community spaces, along with a minimum of 4,540 square metres of new public parkland and 5,185 square metres of POPS. Two new public streets are planned to serve the development.
On the western site at 770 Don Mills, two buildings are planned, oriented east-west and separated by a linear POPS, with a new public road running along the south edge of the property connecting Don Mills to Eglinton. Building A would be located to the north along Eglinton Avenue and will be comprised of a 52-storey 157.9-metre western tower and a 43-storey 130.5-metre eastern tower both atop a shared 6-storey podium. The podium would contain 'active uses' at its base, with community spaces located along Eglinton, commercial uses located at the northeast corner, and townhouses fronting onto the POPS to the south. The upper floors of the podium as well as the towers would all contain residential units.
Building B is located on the south portion of the 770 Don Mills site, and would feature a 28-storey 85.5-metre tower situated at the corner of Don Mills and the new public road, which would sit atop a terraced 6-storey podium extending to the west. The lower two floors of the podium would contain commercial spaces along Don Mills, with townhouses and amenity spaces located along the new public street to the south and the POPS to the north. The upper floors of the podium and the tower would both contain residential units.
The western portion of the 770 Don Mills property is a triangular plot of land that fronts onto the ravine to the west, and is proposed to become a new public park to serve the new community and provide a connection to the valley. The new 3,270-square-metre park has the working title of Valley's Edge Park, and is proposed to have natural walking trails, play structures, and a covered lookout offering views over the ravine.
Also located on the 770 Don Mills site is the main entrance to the Science Centre LRT station, situated directly on the corner of Eglinton and Don Mills. A new 'urban plaza' is envisioned around the station pavilion, providing a pedestrian connection between Eglinton to the north, Building A and the linear POPS to the west, Building B to the south, and an improved streetscape along Don Mills to the east and south, which is dubbed the Science Centre Promenade and which will improve the streetscape along Don Mills heading south toward the museum.
Science Centre Station will be located underground at Don Mills and Eglinton, between two above-ground portions of the LRT line, with a secondary entrance and 7-bay bus terminal situated off-street on the northeast corner of the intersection. All entrances will be fully accessible, with retail spaces located on the concourse level and provisions for 60 bicycle parking spaces. Construction of the station will use a cut-and-cover approach, with open excavation (including temporary lane closures and reductions) preceding construction of the station platform and entrances. Metrolinx would not confirm whether provisions are being provided for a potential future connection with the Relief Line North, or if the reasoning the station is located underground is to allow for such an alignment, however, a previous statement made at a Design Review Panel presentation for the adjacent Wynford Green proposal infers that this is the case.
The eastern site of the Build Toronto proposal at 805 Don Mills features two more buildings, also oriented in an east-west layout with a new public street running along the south edge of the property connecting Don Mills to Ferrand Drive. Building C is the westernmost of the two buildings and is comprised of a 28-storey 85.5-metre western tower and a 34-storey 103.5-metre eastern tower, both atop a shared 3-to-6-storey podium. The podium contains retail uses at its base along the Eglinton and Don Mills frontages, with townhouses located at grade along the new public street to the south. The upper floors of the podium as well as both towers will all contain residential units.
Building D is located to the east of Building C and is comprised of a 22-storey 67.5-metre tower sitting atop a 6-storey podium. The podium contains community spaces on the ground floor and second level, located on the north side of the building fronting onto Eglinton. The upper floors of the podium and the tower both contain residential units. A new public park is located in between Buildings C and D, while an urban square is envisioned to the east of Building D.
The Build Toronto proposal joins a second, even larger master-planned redevelopment at the northwest corner of Eglinton and Don Mills on the current Celestica site. Dubbed Wynford Green, the master-planned community proposes to add a total of 4,921 residential units spread across nine towers ranging in height from 21 to 44 storeys, several mid-rises, and a series of townhouse blocks following a new public street grid. Along with the residential development, new office space is provided in at least two mid-rises, as well as grade-level retail throughout and a new retail-lined pedestrian 'main street'. Community facilities, including a new arena, and plenty of public parkland are planned.
In total, the Wynford Green and Build Toronto proposals will add at least 15,000 new residents to the area along with thousands of jobs, new public and community facilities, and thousands of square metres of new parkland, all centred around rapid transit and walkable neighbourhoods. Crafted out of the barren asphalt of parking lots, Eglinton-Don Mills is shaping up to be Toronto's greatest example of a complete transit-oriented community development to date, and could become a template of city building for years to come.
We will keep you updated as the design continues to evolve for 770-805 Don Mills, but in the meantime, you can tell us what you think by checking out the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.