Crosstown LRT construction, while an inconvenience now, will result in a far more transit-accessible Toronto, especially for those living or working adjacent one of the line's 25 stations. The demand for transit-oriented living has prompted developers to rethink properties that dot the future LRT line, often proposing to rezone for mixed-use development. At Laird Station, just three stops east of Yonge and Eglinton, RioCan REIT is proposing an 8-tower community with office, retail and residential uses, as well as additional public park space, a community centre and a Privately-Owned Public Space (POPS) to further animate the neighbourhood. 

Aerial view of 815 Eglinton East in its larger context, image via Google Maps

Currently home to a Canadian Tire, Petsmart, Pier 1 Imports, and a sea of surface level parking, the 'Leaside Centre' property at 815 Eglinton East will have a lot of open land available for intensification when the Crosstown is completed in 2021. The project lies within the boundaries of the Laird in Focus Study, one of six dedicated 'Focus Areas' identified by that City that are ripe for redevelopment along the line. An Official Plan Amendment application was first submitted by RioCan for the development in 2016, with the proposal continuously evolving since then. Most recently, changes have been made to the Quadrangle and Turner Fleischer Architects-designed master plan, in accordance with comments received from city planning. 

Elevation diagram, looking south across Eglinton to the massing at 815 Eglinton E, image courtesy of RioCan REIT

Elements of the proposal's density have been altered slightly in this version: the residential unit count has increased by 18 to 1,673, office space has also increased to 10,117 m², up by 263 m², retail has increased by 1469 m², as has the public parkland dedication by 545 m². Below-grade parking space has been decreased by 133 m², as the City requested the below-grade levels not run under the public park: the City does not want parks that are encumbered by future major maintenance issues.

Changes to the site's density also required a reconfiguration of the building locations and general built form; starting with the proposed road network. Both versions of the plan include a future north-south public road running between Eglinton and Vanderhoof Avenues to act as the development's eastern edge, however, in the latest version, an east-west corridor bisecting the property has been removed in favour of an an L-shaped private road connecting Vanderhoof Avenue to the new north-south road, and the public parkland has been moved from the south-east corner of the site to the south-west, where it now would front onto Laird Drive. Below is an overview of the site plan; Buildings A, B, C and D are residential towers, Building E represents the project's office space, with Building F planned as a community centre. 

Site plan drawing of the 815 Eglinton East master plan, image courtesy of RioCan REIT

The Official Plan has designated the southern third of the property as employment lands, forcing the relocation of the four-storey office building to this portion of the site and the relocation of the community centre further north. The heights of the residential towers, which rise 18, 21, 36, and 38 storeys, have remained the same in this submission, while the floorplates of the towers have been reduced to 750m², in accordance with the City's Tall Buildings Guidelines. Units displaced by the floor plate reduction have been gathered with other planned residential units into three mid-rise volumes along the west side of the site. The first of these buildings is a 10-storey building that fronts Eglinton and is connected to the LRT station, while the remaining two rise 12 and 10 storeys from a 4-storey connected podium that fronts Laird and which houses the 2,100 m² community centre.

Looking north-west past the public park to Building C, image courtesy of RioCan REIT

In terms of public realm, the new plan sets a POPS between the future LRT Station and the community centre. This plot of land is intended to be an animated urban plaza, with City Planning suggesting whimsical elements and public art installations to draw interest to the space. Also altered in this version is the removal of a north-south pedestrian mews planned to run between the 18 and 21-storey buildings, omitted in favour of an extended podium connecting the two tower volumes together.

Additional information and images of the earlier designs 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:  Crosslinx Transit Solutions, GFL Environmental Inc., IBI Group, LEA Consulting, Metrolinx, NORR Architects, Quadrangle, RioCan REIT, Turner Fleischer Architects