SmartCentres REIT is at the forefront of the wave of new developments shaping the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) area, one that shows no signs of abating as new phases are announced in the developer's master-planned 100-acre SmartVMC site. SmartCentres is continuing to seize the opportunity to create a complete community on an almost blank canvas around the VMC TTC Subway station and SmartVMC regional bus terminal. The REIT has recently announced new phases that will bring even more vitality to Vaughan's burgeoning Downtown.
SmartCentres' adage of moving "From Shopping Centres to City Centres" is perfectly epitomized in one of the latest phases to be proposed. The company's shift from large retail centres to mixed-use, high-density developments can be seen clearly in the redevelopment of a section of the block that formerly housed the Walmart at 101 Edgeley Boulevard into a new four-building complex being developed by SmartLiving, SmartCentres' residential sub-brand.
On the northwest corner of Apple Mill Road and Buttermill Avenue, a short walk from the SmartVMC bus terminal and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre TTC Subway Station, the plan calls for towers of 18 and 38 storeys, along with lower-scaled buildings of four and six storeys that will foster a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere at street-level. The four buildings have been designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects with sleek curves that interplay with strong lines that emphasize the towers' verticality, while making use of softer, natural materials framing the mid-rise building and central courtyard space to create a community feel.
A total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 59,191 m²/637,130 ft² is proposed, most of it as residential space, 50,530 m²/543,943 ft² in area, with 624 condominium units spread out across three of the buildings: 368 units in the 38-storey building, 184 units in the 18-storey building, and 72 units in the six-storey building. Anchoring it all, 590 m²/6,350 ft² of retail space is planned within the base of the six-storey building, which will overlook the nine-acre park to begin construction this year, providing human scale and a connection to open spaces. A landscape plan by MHBC Planning comfortably ties the buildings in with the surrounding community. Developing the full 100-acre master-planned site gives SmartCentres REIT complete oversight to ensure that all phases are holistically woven together.
The four-storey jewel box is the only non-residential building in the block. SmartCentres is in the process of determining the best use of this space to serve the site in a rare but welcome case of "architecture-first, details later" planning, but the aim is to further contribute to the pedestrian-friendly environment, creating a landmark presence at the intersection of Apple Mill Road and Buttermill Avenue. Defined by sculptural Y-shaped columns and a marble-clad elevator core, and surrounded by a public plaza, the corner building's human scale would play a prominent role in welcoming pedestrians into the heart of the block. With its distinct look, the jewel box building would also create a transitional dialogue between the institutional uses across the street to the east. Adding even more interest to this corner, a public art feature is anticipated, with a final plan to be determined as planning continues.
The corner building and surrounding plaza will draw pedestrian activity towards a large central courtyard, which will function as a POPS (a Privately-Owned Publicly accessible Space). The central POPS is to feature a mix of trees, decorative paving, and ornamental plantings alongside other landscape features and outdoor furniture. The POPS and the site-wide public realm plan have been designed with similar thoughtfulness to the rest of the master-planned SmartVMC community: to create connections with existing and future public realm improvements while encouraging pedestrian access and interaction through the block. This attention to detail in creating a public realm that interacts with its surroundings has become a defining feature in SmartLiving's planned developments.
Like the other buildings that will combine to realize the SmartVMC community, whether already existing, under-construction, or planned, the plan for 101 Edgeley proposes transit-supportive density made possible by recent infrastructure investments in the area: residents will benefit from close proximity to the SmartVMC Bus Terminal 100 metres to the east, and the TTC's VMC subway station just 200 metres away. On top of that, the SmartVMC community's mix of residential and commercial along with a thoroughly-planned out public realm will combine to foster connectivity a healthy pedestrian and cyclist presence in an area quickly shedding its suburban identity.
The proposed rezoning, Official Plan amendment, and Site Plan applications are all under review by the City of Vaughan.
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 below.
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|Greenloc Environmental Hoarding, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, MHBC Planning, SmartCentres REIT