A mid-rise, mixed-use, mostly residential rental building could replace vacant industrial buildings at 1233 Queen Street East and Leslie Street in the Toronto neighbourhood of Leslieville. Core Development Group has submitted OPA, ZBA and SPA applications to the City for a proposed development that knits into the largely low-scale residential built fabric of the area. The brick-clad corner structure features step-backs, vertical articulation, and a recessed POPS (Privately Owned Publicly accessible Space) in the northwest corner of the site.
The half-acre lot is located on the southeast corner of the Queen and Leslie intersection. The two low-rise buildings that currently exist on the site are vacant, and until 2020 contained production facilities for Lee’s Food Products, a manufacturer of soya sauce. They were built in 1921 and converted into a factory in 1947, with additions built between 1948 and 1970. According to ERA Architects' reports, there are no significant physical heritage resources on the site, and the buildings are not included on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register.
The low-rise primarily residential neighbourhood also has a mix of commercial and industrial buildings. Across the street to the north is a 4-storey retirement home, and to the west, across Leslie Street, is the Duke of York Hotel, an historic Italianate-style hotel built in 1870. Several existing, proposed, and under construction mixed-use buildings will bring +6-storey developments to the nearby properties.
For this corner lot, Studio JCI has designed a stepped 8-storey purpose-built rental building in keeping with the emerging character along Queen Street and reflects the future planned features for “main street”. The total GFA of 8,906m² represents a density of 4.2 times the area of the lot.
A POPS is proposed to enhance the northwest corner in the form of a covered through-way for pedestrians on the ground floor, protecting the residential entrance and showcasing a feature wall and canopy. Adjacent to it, and fronting onto Queen Street East, is a 250m² space for retail. Directly behind that, an internal amenity courtyard serves as an extension of the ground floor commons and brings natural light to the units above.
The proposed eight-storey height with varied step-backs at the fifth and sixth floors is designed to reflect, and be compatible with, the one to five storey building heights in the general context. The use of step-backs, fenestration, and different cladding on the principle facades facing Queen and Leslie streets is meant to visually break the structure into narrower components to be compatible with the fine grained character of Queen East.
The total 132 apartments are broken down into 84 studios (64%), 1 two-bedroom (1%), 12 three-bedrooms (9%), and 35 four-bedrooms (27%), the latter a rarity in Toronto residential buildings.
Outdoor amenity space is provided through a courtyard on the ground floor, a terrace on the second floor, and a larger terrace space on the rooftop. Indoor amenity space is provided contiguous to the exterior spaces.
Vehicular access to the building is at the rear of the building, to/from Memory Lane which is oriented in the east-west direction. Ground floor vehicular parking accommodates 10 spaces, which include 2 car-share and 8 visitor parking spaces. A total of 160 bicycle parking spaces (144 long-term, 16 short-term), are also proposed. Queen is served by a TTC streetcar line; Riverside-Leslieville station on the Ontario Line subway is targeted for opening nearby in 2030.
Overall, the proposal seeks to redevelop and intensify a portion of the south side of Queen Street East, while integrating with the existing and planned developments in the surrounding area. The potential impact of the proposed development on adjacent heritage resources is mitigated through various urban design elements: brick cladding that is compatible with the adjacent heritage resources; building step-backs to reduce visual impact; maintaining a low-rise streetwall through massing and design; and, detailing that references the area’s historic context, including vermillion red building accents that pay homage to the China Lily factory.
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