On behalf of Benny Stark LimitedSGL Planning & Design Inc. has submitted Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-Law Amendment, and Draft Plan of Subdivision applications to the City of Toronto, for a site northwest of the intersection of St Clair Avenue West and Old Weston Road. This is one of many redevelopments in the area that have been triggered by plans for the new St Clair-Old Weston GO station. Over the last couple of months we have run stories about other recent nearby proposals at 43 Junction Street, 189 Old Weston Road, 290 Old Weston Road, and 1799 St Clair West.

What is proposed at here on either side of Benny Stark Street is a TACT Architecture-designed mixed-use, mostly residential development that would be supported by community oriented retail and office spaces, and a new public park. The proposal allows for the City's plans to extend Keele Street south through part of the site, and Gunns Road under the rail corridor and east into the site, and also includes the creation of two new east-west local roads to connect Keele with Benny Stark Street.

Location of Starklands proposed site, image by SGL Planning and Design via submission to the City of Toronto

Referred to as the Starklands development in a couple of the documents submitted to the City's Planning Department, the developers intend that the proposal contribute to the creation of a complete community in what is currently an industrial area. The residential portion of the development would be a mix of ground-level, mid-rise, and high-rise housing options in the form of 29 three-storey townhouses, 3 mid-rise buildings, and 4 high-rise buildings with a total of 1,818 new residential units in one to three-bedroom layouts. The proposal has a gross floor area of 153,447m² resulting in an FSI of 3.40.

Looking northeast to Starklands, designed by SGL Planning and Design and TACT Architecture for Benny Stark Limited

Currently on the properties located at 119 through 125 and 144 through 200 Benny Stark Street is Stark Auto Sales, which stores vehicles written off due to accidents, or recovered from thefts. Adjacent land to the north and east are mostly residential while to the west and south are mostly light industrial and commercial uses owing to the nearby rail corridor. Immediately south of the site is more land currently rented by Stark Auto Sales for use of outdoor storage of vehicles, while immediately east of the site is the Toronto Paramedic Services Station 30 and District 3 Office. West of the site, a minor wooded ravine with a stream that is part of the Lavender Creek System would be impacted somewhat by the City's plans to extend Keele Street. Further west is the Metrolinx/CPR rail corridor. 

The rail infrastructure was once used to service the industry that previously existed on the properties, but is no longer used for that purpose. The railway, however, is key to revitalizing these under-utilized industrial lands through the development of the coming St Clair-Old Weston GO Station, by providing significantly improved transit accessibility that would attract both new residents and new employment. 

Master plan for the Starklands, designed by SGL Planning and Design for Benny Stark Limited

The City’s proposed road extensions through the site are a big part of the Starklands proposal, as the property is currently at the end of the dead-ended Benny Stark Street. The Keele Street extension along the west side of the site would meet the Gunns Road extension along the south side of the site, which in turn would meet Benny Stark Street, Turnberry Avenue, and Union Street near the site's southeast corner, completing major gaps in the local street network.

While Union Street would provide a connection south to the new St Clair-Old Weston GO Station, Benny Stark Street would function as a central road leading north into the development, also providing significant frontage on its east side to the proposed public park. The park could be expanded by the City through conversion of the rear portion of the City’s EMS facility to provide a link to the existing Turnberry North Park. The public park will be centrally located for the entire surrounding neighbourhood to access and enjoy.

Looking southwest to the Starklands, designed by SGL Planning and Design and TACT Architecture for Benny Stark Limited

The southern blocks closest to the new GO Station would comprise primarily the mixed-use component of the Starklands neighbourhood. At grade retail and commercial uses are proposed adjacent to Keele Street, Gunns Road, Benny Stark Street and Turnberry Avenue. The southern end of Benny Stark Street would provide a more intimate commercial main street feel. Main residential and office lobbies would be located at the northwest corner of Gunns Road and Benny Stark Street, adjacent to a large pedestrian square. Residential and office entrances would also be located across the street on the northeast corner of Turnberry Avenue and Benny Stark Street.

The southern blocks are also where the greatest density and tallest buildings would stand. The high rise buildings are proposed at 38 and 46 storeys, with a shorter one standing at 22 storeys. The middle block is primarily residential — four buildings with one 24-storey tower, plus three mid-rise buildings of 10, 8, and 8-storeys that transition to the low-rise neighbourhood to the north — but with ground floor retail and commercial space facing the Keele Street extension. The northern block would be composed of 29 three-storey, lane-based townhouses providing a transition to the adjacent low-rise neighbourhood beyond.

Looking southeast to the Starklands, designed by SGL Planning and Design and TACT Architecture for Benny Stark Limited

The proposal includes 3,578m² of outdoor amenity space in addition to the public park, some of it designed to be publicly accessible including spaces designed to complement the proposed retail patios and provide flexible gathering or quiet seating areas. Additional, private outdoor amenity space for residents' use is provided through amenity terraces that are located on podium tops. These outdoor communal amenity spaces are to be landscaped dining and patio areas, lounge areas, barbecue and cooking areas, as well as featuring some synthetic turf for outdoor activities.

The proposal also includes 3,578m² of indoor amenity space situated on various floors of each building, and always adjacent to outdoor amenity spaces. These indoor spaces are envisioned to include fitness rooms, party rooms, and gathering spaces, to be confirmed at the site plan stage of development.

Current TTC accessibility to the area surrounding the Starklands proposal

The site is currently served by multiple surface transit routes. Bus routes operate along nearby roads including Keele Street, Rogers Road, Old Weston Road, and Weston Road. In addition, the existing St Clair Avenue TTC streetcar is approximately a 10 minute walk from the site, and connects to the subway. St Clair Avenue West is also identified as a Transit Priority Segment by the Official Plan and contains dedicated streetcar lanes. The routings will change significantly with the completion of road extensions through the area and the opening of the new GO station, anticipated to be operational by 2026. The station is planned north of St Clair Avenue West, and west of Union Street along the Kitchener GO Transit line. The Starklands site is located approximately 300 to 500 metres north of the planned station, and would be less than a 10 minute walk. 

Future St Clair Smart Track Station

The proposal includes 723 parking spaces on one underground level in the two southern towers, and two levels of underground parking in the 24-storey tower in the middle block, including 77 visitor parking spaces. In addition, 1,673 bicycle parking spaces are proposed, 240 of that number for short term use.

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like, 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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