Choice Properties REIT and Woodbourne Canada Management Inc. are planning a new residential tower in the Parkway Forest area of North York. Within walking distance of Don Mills subway station and Fairview Mall, the area has gone through somewhat of a renaissance in recent years with the neighbouring redevelopment of Emerald City by ELAD Canada. Along with the new homes, the area is benefitting from a new Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed community centre and new swimming pool as well nestled into a central park space. Now, on an under-utilized block in the northeast quadrant of Parkway Forest, Choice and Woodbourne are looking to add a new tower with 339 residential units where currently there are only 5.

Looking west to 123 Parkway Forest in North York, image courtesy of Choice REIT

The Parkway Forest area, east of Don Mills Road and south of Sheppard Avenue, was first built out in the 1960s, with seven-storey rental apartment buildings built close to the Don Mills-Sheppard intersection, and then with mostly 17-storey Tower-in-the-Park style slabs and Y-shaped towers in the 1960s to the east. Several blocks in the area were up-zoned in 2006 through an OMB decision (the City had initially refused, despite the Sheppard subway having recently opened in 2002, to up-zone the land), and was then up-zoned again via the OMB in 2015, and then again but via the City in 2017. Through the density increases, ELAD Canada was able to build their Emerald City condo towers—which climb as high as 36 storeys—along with low-rise townhouses and mid-rise replacement rental buildings.

The site would share with existing buildings on Parkway Forest Drive, image courtesy of Choice REIT

On 'Block D,' as seen in the aerial view above, there was only one 17-storey, Y-shaped tower in the centre of the site, surrounded by a sea of under-appreciated lawn and surface parking. As part of the Emerald City plan, on Block D along with an improved public realm, a new mid-rise building went in at the northwest corner and a 19-storey tower at the northeast corner of the block… but in the southeast corner, five townhouses were built facing an open green space.

The new building site, shared with existing buildings on Parkway Forest Drive, image courtesy of Choice REIT

It's on this site where Choice and Woodbourne commissioned IBI Group to design a 29-storey building that would make much better use of the space, replacing the 5 rental townhomes at grade in its podium and adding 334 new units above, all the while maintaining good separation distances between buildings for light and privacy, bringing a more comfortable feel and walkability to the surroundings through denser urban fabric, and at the same time providing more of the much needed new housing that the GTA is short of in an area with significant local amenities and transportation infrastructure. A plaza with several convenience retailers and a grocery store is steps away to the southeast.

Looking north to 123 Parkway Forest in North York, image courtesy of Choice REIT

Sheathed in a fair amount of masonry, including a significant injection of red brick cladding to impart warm tones to Parkway Forest, the building at 123 Parkway Forest Drive—rises three storeys following the curve in in the road before it steps back at the fourth and seventh storeys to rise as a point tower for another 23 storeys. Across the building, the unit mix is proposed as 25 studios (7%), 193 one bedrooms (57%), 87 two bedrooms (26%), and 34 three bedrooms (10%). Amenity space is planned at ground level, on the mezzanine one floor above, and on the seventh level where the terrace atop the podium will be put to best advantage. An underground garage is proposed to accommodate 176 vehicles, with 142 resident spaces and 24 for visitors over five levels, while 255 proposed bicycle parking spaces include 231 spaces for residents and 24 for visitors.

Looking west to 123 Parkway Forest in North York, image courtesy of Choice REIT

The planning approvals involve a density increase over the area, and Choice and Woodbourne are seeking amendments to the local secondary plan and the zoning, looking for a Floor Space Index increase from 3.99 times to 4.23 times across broader the area, although on the site itself the FSI would only reach 3.61 times. Considering that lot coverage near many subway stations in Toronto can be upwards of 20 times, the ask here is relatively low.

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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Related Companies:  Choice Properties REIT, COUNTERPOINT ENGINEERING, IBI Group