Toronto is scattered with high-rise clusters throughout its suburbs, a rather unique trait that is a legacy of the post-war boom and one which heavily defines its cityscape. More recently, however, the location of such clusters has become rather predictable, with nodes being developed around major transit stations and in designated centres. But once in a while, a new high-rise cluster pops up that defies the norm and often catches city planners by surprise. One such cluster is at the interchange of Kennedy Road and Highway 401, where a recent development proposal from KingSett Capital for 2075 Kennedy looks to add more density to a rapidly intensifying neighbourhood.

Aerial view of 2075 Kennedy, shown in colour, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The 2075 Kennedy development would add 3 more towers to the neighbourhood rising 32, 34, and 35 storeys, all designed by Quadrangle. The 32 and 34-storey towers are located in the southwest corner of the site, at the intersection of Kennedy and Village Green, and sit atop a shared 6-storey podium. Roughly 670 square metres of retail will be located on the ground floor fronting onto Village Green. The third and tallest tower is located in the northeast corner of the site, sitting atop its own 6-storey podium. Between the two podiums is a new public park, bordered on its east edge by the backs of the existing Metrogate townhouses.

Rendering looking north, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

Already existing in the area is Tridel's Metrogate community at the east end of Village Green Square, where 5 towers have been completed with another two currently under construction. At the existing hotel property on the south side of Village Green is another proposal for a trio of towers, KSquare Condos, approved, for which the ground was broken for the first two of which earlier this year. Meanwhile, on the north side of the rail corridor, a redevelopment proposal was submitted for a new 5-tower neighbourhood with mid-rises and a park at 20-100 Cowdray Court. Along with 2075 Kennedy, the total number of towers in this area will number 17 if fully built out as proposed.

Aerial rendering showing built and proposed towers in the area, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The three buildings of this proposal are arranged on an L-shaped site on the north side of Village Green. The sliver of property is carved out from the larger block which has an existing 13-storey office building and 1-storey parking garage situated on the site. The proposal would leave the tower and garage untouched, wrapping around them along the edge of the property.

Diagram indicating location of site, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The design of the buildings has been slightly revised from the initial rezoning submission earlier this year. The heights of the towers have been reduced, originally being proposed at 37, 38, and 39 storeys, while the materials and articulation of the facades have been further developed. The unit count has increased from 930 to 985, spread between the three towers, while the above-grade parking has been eliminated.

Rendering looking northwest, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The development garnered some strong reactions from the Panel. mostly in favour, but also some against. While there were many compliments given for the proposal, some big concerns were raised that could lead to further design changes down the road.

Beginning with the positives, Panel members said they were "encouraged by this development" and called the building design "lovely", saying that the project would bring many positive benefits for the larger neighbourhood. In particular, they praised the inclusion of the park, especially since it replaces the surface parking lot that the existing townhouses look onto. They also felt that the pedestrian realm around the built form was well thought out, and the retail incorporated at grade would be a much-needed contribution to a neighbourhood that currently has no retail.

Rendering looking east, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The development did have some issues that Panelists pointed out, the biggest one being the location of the driveway leading to the parking garage entrance in the south building. Situated on the east side of the podium, the driveway effectively cuts off the building from the park and, the Panel stated, interrupts the flow of the public realm. The driveway is also located so that it can be converted into a proper road if the adjacent office block is ever redeveloped. The Panel strongly advised that the location of the driveway be reconsidered.

Site plan, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

With regards to the south towers, some Panel members felt that their planning was "problematic" as they cast shadows over the entirety of the park in the afternoon all year round. They were not sure how to mitigate this issue, but felt that it was a major oversight that could hinder the success of the park.

Panelists were also very curious about the unknown future of the adjacent office tower and parking garage. Since KingSett also owns this portion of the block, the Panel strongly encouraged them to draft a block plan that would predict the eventual development of the office property. They stated that, "if you were to make a plan for the whole site, the plan you showed wouldn't be the plan you'd come up with". Though what was presented fit with the awkward L-shape, they argued, some of the issues might be mitigated if the bigger picture was taken into account.

Rendering looking northeast, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

Finally, the Panel lamented that there was "not any ambition for sustainable design" and that the project was only achieving Toronto Green Standard Tier 1. They pushed the design team to aim higher for Tier 2 and to consider sustainable components early on which could impact the design, such as stormwater management in the public realm and managing the thermal bridging caused by continuous balconies.

In the end, the Panel vote landed on the positive side, with 5 members voting in support and 2 members voting for redesign.

We will keep you posted as the designs for 2075 Kennedy continue to evolve, but in the meantime, you can tell us what you think by checking out the associated Forum or by a leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Ferris + Associates Inc., Quadrangle