The City of Markham has been developing master plans for several years for the redevelopment of lands along the south side of Highway 407 between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue, an area they have dubbed the Langstaff Gateway. Currently characterized by aging, low-rise industrial buildings, the Richmond Hill GO line cuts through it, with Langstaff station located at the north end. Now, plans for the area as a whole are firming up, and the first images are appearing of a proposal for a development at the west end of the site, next to where a station is proposed on the future Yonge North subway extension.
When one thinks of the corner of Yonge and Highway 7, images conjured up are fairly representative of suburban life, characterized by big box stores and open space. Langstaff Gateway aims to change that with an extremely ambitious plan that would offer residents living in the development density that is comparable to that of Downtown Toronto. A big part of the vision for Langstaff Gateway is for residents and visitors alike to be able to enjoy proximity to services and amenities often seen in downtown areas but harder to achieve in more suburban regions such as the communities surrounding the project. The entire Langstaff study area is approximately 47 ha/116 acres, making it quite a large project in both size and stature. On the south, the site is bordered by Holy Cross Cemetery.
In planning since 2008 by consultants Calthorpe Associates (lead), Ferris + Associates, IBI, and MMM, Langstaff Gateway is designed to offer a balanced work/live habitat complete with parks and greenways for leisure and recreation. The plan calls for upwards of 15,000 residential units in the form of low, mid-rise, and high rise buildings. In addition, residential will account for 1,467,520 square metres of space, 33,670 will be reserved for retail, 13,275 will be included for civic space and 7.06 hectares reserved for park space. As the area is long and slim west to east, linear parks will play a big role in the green space plan, which calls for roughly 5.13 hectares of open space allowing for a dense but breathable lifestyle.
A full build-out of the Langstaff Gateway project is contingent on the extension of the Yonge subway line north from Finch. Part of the draw to living north of the city is a quick, one seat ride into Toronto, and while the area is currently served by the Richmond Hill GO train half hourly during peak commuting times, it has no service between 9 AM and 4 PM. The western entry point to the area is served by a flurry of Viva buses travelling between Finch subway station and the Richmond Hill Centre to the north of the site throughout the day, but the planned Langstaff station on the Yonge North extension is seen as vital to providing enough transit capacity to making the plans here work. While the Yonge line already struggles with capacity issues, the Province of Ontario has promised that the Yonge North extension will not open before a new line in Toronto—formerly known as the Relief Line and now dubbed the Ontario line—is built as far north as Eglinton to help relieve some of the passenger demand. In the meantime, GO is also planning on increasing service on the Richmond Hill line to every fifteen minutes, but only at rush hours.
The rendering below shows a proposal by Condor Properties Ltd for a development at 5, 9, 11, and 25 Langstaff Road at the west end of the site, walking distance from the proposed Langstaff subway station. The towers are proposed to rise 37 storeys/118 metres and 48 storeys/154 metres. Both have 8 storey podiums rising from a 2-storey connecting base, and boast 910 residential units total. Due to the fact that Condor Properties' portfolio includes low and medium-rise commercial buildings, and that the are not advertising this project on their website, it may be that this zoning application is meant for an eventual partnership or a sale of zoned land to a residential developer. No architect's name is tied to the rendering below in the materials that have been published by th City of Markham.
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