Capital Developments and Metropia have re-submitted plans to the City of Toronto seeking an Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendments, and Site Plan Approval for a major redevelopment of the southwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin streets. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, with Giannone Petricone Associates consulting on the retail design, landscape architects gh3, and heritage specialists ERA Architects, the Bloor & Dufferin redevelopment would see the construction of 9 new buildings on the site, ranging in height from 6 to 40 storeys, aiming to create a complete mixed-use community with residential, retail, office, community spaces proposed, and the adaptive reuse of the Kent Street Public School.
This project’s timeline began in 2014 when the Toronto District School Board declared schools on the Bloor & Dufferin site as surplus. Bids were evaluated in the selection of the development team, then April 2017 community consultations helped shape an initial proposal which was submitted to the City in September 2017. Following concerns expressed by City planning staff, community members, and Toronto's Urban Design Panel about—
- the amount of park space
- the quantity of family-sized units
- housing affordability
- provision of community services
- investment into the public realm
- building height & massing in relation to the surrounding low-scaled residential areas
—the proposal has been modified.
The resubmission includes changes to accommodate a variety of design objectives, refining the heights and massing of the proposed buildings, and significant public realm improvements and community building initiatives. Changes include reducing the proposed residential gross floor area and overall density.
The revised proposal includes reduced heights for the two tallest towers on the west half of the site, the tower furthest west down from 44 storeys to 40 storeys, and the tower at the centre of the site reduced even further, from 47 storeys to 39 storeys. Across the new "High Street" to the east of it, a building initially proposed at 11 storeys has been increased in height to 16 storeys.
The tower in the southeast corner of the site has been redesigned to step back more from Dufferin Street, reducing its bulk across from 2 and 3-storey houses. The tower’s floor plate has consequently been reduced from 796 m² app the podium to 686 m², and from 728 m² at the top floor to 566 m².
The changes to the massing result in an overall reduction in gross floor area dedicated to residential, from 147,512 m² originally to 142,027 m² now, with the number of dwellings reduced from 2,219 to 2,098. The unit mix is now proposed as 72 studios (3.5%), 1132 one-bedrooms (54%), 674 two-bedrooms units (32%), and 220 three-bedrooms (10.5%). Most notably, the number of family-sized three-bedroom units is up from 6.5% in response to comments made by the City. In addition, while the developer has expressed a commitment to build affordable housing on the site, the quantity and type of affordable housing is not set yet and will be defined at a later stage in the process.
Although there is not a new rendering to reflect it, buildings along Bloor Street frontage have been redesigned to feature more prominently the first two floors, generally offering retail, to better respond to the two-storey frontages on adjoining blocks.
Amenity space, planned throughout the buildings on the site, has been designed with families in mind. In each case, the spaces are configured in accordance with the framework Growing Up: Planning for Children in new vertical communities. The indoor amenity space is located adjacent to an outdoor amenity area, and a dedicated outdoor active play zone has been included on site. In addition, the indoor and outdoor amenity ratios have been increased, from 1.75 and 1.14 m² per unit to 1.81 and 1.24 m² per unit, respectively.
Finally, the proposal details plans for a significant contribution to the public realm. The proposed north-south high street includes an “activity zone”, creating an outdoor market space for events, retail and restaurants. Central to the proposal is the establishment of a vibrant community hub in the old Kent Street Public School. Around it, a pedestrian “artist commons” will be lined by public art presentation spaces, to be used as a platform for local artists.
Parkland on site has been increased slightly, now 22 m² larger than required by the City. Public space will include a square, water features, and space for community uses. The proposed new laneways and streets will significantly increase connectivity within the site and with the surrounding areas, there will also be two activated laneways with affordable rent “micro-retail” units for small start-up businesses.
Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the field at the bottom of this page.
|Related Companies:||Blackjet Inc., Brook Pooni Associates, Capital Developments, ERA Architects, gh3, Giannone Petricone Associates, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Metropia|