Rendering of the proposed buildings. View along Laird Drive. Image courtesy of Turner Fleischer Architects.

Leaside Residences LP and Core Development Group are proposing twin mid-rise buildings for the southwest and northwest corners of Laird Drive and Stickney Avenue, south of Eglinton Avenue East, in the Toronto neighbourhood of Leaside.

Oblique aerial photos of the proposed site, 126-134 Laird Drive. Image courtesy of Googlemaps.

The sites at 126 and 134 Laird Drive are currently occupied by low-rise auto-related buildings—car dealerships, automobile service centre—and associated surface parking lots. A 10-minute walk north from the site is Laird Station on the Crosstown LRT line, which is expected to open in 2022.

Existing Mazda car dealership, associated surface parking, and automobile service centre (AML Auto Service) at the south intersection of Laird Drive and Stickney Avenue. Image courtesy of Googlemaps.

The Zoning By-law Amendment application envisions a redevelopment with two complementary 8-storey, mixed-use buildings. The proposed Turner Fleischer Architects-designed buildings contain a total of 143 and 106 residential units, including 4 townhouse units in each building (8 total) along Stickney Drive and 3 live/work units at ground-level along Laird Drive in one of the buildings, and 2 in the other. The buildings will have two levels of underground parking comprising 76 and 46 parking spaces and 140 and 112 bicycle parking spaces. The total gross floor areas are 10,355 and 7,975 m²; resulting density is 4.28 and 4.13 times the area of the two lots.

Ground Floor plan at 126 and 134 Laird Drive. Image courtesy of Turner Fleischer Architects

In the proposed buildings, the ground floor is set back 3.0 metres from Laird Drive, 9.0 metres from the rear lot line and is built to the two side lot lines. The live/work units are located on Laird Drive, as is the main building entrance. Along Stickney Avenue are four 2-level townhouse units with recessed entrances; residential units are proposed for the rear portion of the building, sheltered from the private driveway by a landscaped buffer. The balance of the ground floor contains indoor amenity space and functional building elements. Levels 2-7 are occupied entirely by residential uses. Level 8 is organized with a single loaded corridor and outdoor amenity space while additional indoor and outdoor amenity space is proposed for the mechanical penthouse level. The proposal envisages geothermal energy systems and other sustainability features where possible.

Rendering of the proposed buildings. View from West. Image courtesy of Turner Fleischer Architects.

The Laird elevation holds a strong edge while providing an effective transition in scale to the adjacent low-rise neighbourhoods in the rear through the use of a stepped facade. As illustrated below, the proposed buildings fit within the 45-degree angular planes taken from the rear property line and street lines. From an urban design perspective, the proponents submit that the proposed built form is contextually sympathetic and compatible with the surrounding urban areas, which include similarly-sized (proposed) buildings, and that the buildings at 126 and 134 Laird Drive have been carefully organized, sited and massed to minimize built form impacts.

The South elevation at 126 and 134 Laird Drive provides greater detail on the stepping and massing of the proposed building and demonstrates how the proposed envelope fits within the 45-degree angular plane. Image courtesy of Turner Fleischer Architects.

The project seeks to enhance Laird’s Main Street character by helping to urbanize and beautify two under-utilized sites, create a more vibrant street front, and add dynamism to the pubic realm (through enhanced streetscape elements: wider sidewalks and attractive landscaped elements; active ground floor uses), and thereby contribute "towards the community’s vision of promoting Laird Drive as an enhanced street that is also safer for, and more welcoming to, pedestrians.”

The proponents state that the proposed development seeks to conform to the City of Toronto’s Laird in Focus Planning Study and implement many of the policies and urban design guidelines outlined by local stakeholders and member of the community in the resulting Site and Area Specific Policy (SASP) 568.  As per the Public Consultation Strategy Report, the proposal “specifically aims to: reflect a ‘main street’ condition; provide appropriately scaled mid-rise buildings with front and rear angular planes; provide a consistent 4-storey street façade; propose access to the buildings from the rear lane (and not off Laird Drive); and contribute to a high-quality public realm along Laird Drive.”

Applications for Site Plan Control have been recently submitted concurrently with the Zoning By-law Amendment application. The developers intend to further engage municipal staff, surrounding land owners, and community stakeholders as they move through the process towards application approvals.

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Bousfields, Ferris + Associates Inc., Rebar Enterprises Inc, RWDI Climate and Performance Engineering, Turner Fleischer Architects