Downtown Toronto is rich with history from the past couple of centuries, which developers must grapple with as they work to evolve the city. Streetwise Capital Partners Inc. is looking to do just that with their Zoning By-law Amendment application for 505 Parliament Street in Cabbagetown. The proposal involves a mid-rise building retaining elements of a historic theatre.

Looking northeast to 505 Parliament, designed by RAW Design for Streetwise Capital Partners Inc

The site, a rectangular lot about 1,143m² in area, is an assembly of 505 and 509 Parliament Street, is on the east side about 50m north of Carlton Street. On 505 currently is a 2.5-storey mixed-use building with commercial at grade and residential units above, while at 509 stands the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT), with the building’s construction dating back to 1929-1930.

Looking east to the theatre at 509 Parliament Street, image from submission to City of Toronto

Streetwise's plans for a redevelopment of the site by RAW Design retains the western elevation of the theatre. The plans are for a 10-storey mixed-use building standing 36.62m. This would include retail at grade, while the levels above contain 85 residential units. The single elevator puts the proposed building well-below the 1 elevator per 100 units threshold.

The second floor would cantilever over the southern end of the site, below which would be a walkway to the back. The eastern main wall is set to have a 1.5m step-back to allow for an outdoor terrace for units. Floors 6 through 10 would feature further step-backs and provide further private terraces for residents.

Looking east to 505-507 Parliament Street, image from submission to City of Toronto

Of the 6,809m² of gross floor area (GFA), the ground floor would comprise of 406m² of retail space. Four pedestrian entrances are planned for each of the three retail units and the residential entrance proposed for the mid-point of the retained western wall of the theatre. The plans include 297m² of amenities, with 229m² outdoors, including an outdoor space on the 10th floor.

An aerial view of the site and surrounding area, image from submission to City of Toronto

Vehicular parking would be provided via the ground level on the eastern side of the site. With five parking stacker systems off Broadcast Lane, there would be a total of 26 residential parking spaces and 2 visitor spaces. There would also be 90 bicycle parking spots, with 12 for short-term use.

There is a century of history at 509 Parliament. Originally the Carlton Theatre, it was purchased by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) in 1955-1956 and turned into a recording studio. It was subsequently purchased by the CCDT in 1995. Nevertheless, the Heritage Impact Statement included in the proposal concludes that the building only has nominal heritage value.

An aerial view of planned surrounding developments, image from submission to City of Toronto

With Castle Frank station about 900m to the north of the site, and College station about 1.25km to the west, the site is well-served by TTC surface routes that connect to both, and therefore the developer argues, an ideal area for increased density in exchange for loss of heritage. Ontario Line 3, targeted for opening in the early 2030s, will have a station at King and Parliament streets, accessible in about 10 minutes from the site via bus.

The proposal notes the heavy development activity in this area of Toronto. As the city evolves with vertical growth and improved transit, difficult decisions are being made on what parts of history to keep and what to let go. The proposal for 505 Parliament would retain some elements of the history on its site while focusing on growth and intensification.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, 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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