Two of Toronto's northern suburbs have been putting a concerted effort into creating new, walkable downtowns in recent years. While Vaughan Metropolitan Centre's rapid growth has been getting much attention thanks to its TTC subway connection and high-flying density, a nascent city centre in Markham is poised to get its own towering skyline. Though strict zoning surrounding the nearby Buttonville Airport has limited tower heights in the area, the municipal airport's impending closure and redevelopment will open up the door for taller buildings in Downtown Markham.

A 2018 proposal from Lifetime Developments aims to bring an ambitious multi-tower community to Warden Avenue, just across the Rouge River and west of Downtown Markham's main cluster at Birchmount Road and Enterprise Boulevard. The plan calls for five luxury residential towers on a 5.8-acre site bounded by Cedarland Drive to the north, Warden Avenue to the east, South Town Centre Boulevard to the west, and the IBM access road to the south. The proposal site was severed from IBM's extensive site here in 2016. The project is to be marketed with the moniker Panda Markham, a nod to the developer's current project at Yonge and Dundas in Downtown Toronto. 

Location of Panda Markham, image courtesy of Lifetime Developments

Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the towers are proposed at heights of 28, 32, 38, 43, and 48 storeys on podiums of varying heights. The towers would house a combined Gross Floor Area of 206,160 m², the bulk of which would be 2,000-plus condominium units. 862 m² (9,280 ft²) of retail/commercial space is proposed in the base of two of the five towers. 1,851 parking spaces are proposed to serve the development.

Looking south to Panda Markham, image courtesy of Lifetime Developments

The project's tallest towers are closest to Warden Avenue. At the far east end, Tower D (as per the image below) rises 48 storeys, with the 43-storey Tower E to the southwest. Heights continue to step down to the west, with the 38-storey Tower C, the 32-storey Tower B, and the 28-storey Tower A.

Site plan, Panda Markham, image courtesy of Lifetime Developments

2,206 condominium units are proposed across the site, largely aimed at families, with 55% of units offering either two or three bedrooms. The unit mix is set to include 982 one-bedroom layouts, 1,118 two-bedroom layouts, and 106 three-bedroom layouts. Residents would have access to 47,394 ft² of indoor and 47,490 ft² of outdoor amenity space.

Looking northwest to Panda Markham, image courtesy of Lifetime Developments

The proposal requires a redesignation of the site's current Select Industrial and Limited Commercial use to an appropriate residential zone. The height being proposed—with the 48-storey tower to far exceed Markham's current tallest—also presents a few hurdles. A Zoning Order for Buttonville Airport limits nearby buildings to a maximum height of 238 metres above sea level, which translates to approximately 18 storeys at this location. As a result, any zoning regulations permitting building heights above Buttonville's height cap would be subject to a holding provision, and would not be constructed without Transport Canada approval. In the meanwhile. the project is currently under review by Markham planning staff.

Panda Markham, image courtesy of Lifetime Developments

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 thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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Related Companies:  Bousfields, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Lifetime Developments