A development application at 284 Lawrence Avenue West is fuelling discussion regarding the fate of the onsite Pusateri’s, with its latest resubmission in Toronto’s Bedford Park neighbourhood. Situated a 13-minute walk of shorter bus ride from Lawrence station on Yonge Line 1, the revised proposal aims to introduce a blend of residential, rental replacement, and retail spaces to this community. Developed by First Capital and designed by Turner Fleischer Architects, recent updates to the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications showcase the evolution of the project.

Looking northeast to 284 Lawrence West, Toronto, designed by Turner Fleischer Architects for First Capital

Nestled at the northeast corner of Lawrence Avenue West and Avenue Road, the assembly of parcels includes the popular Pusateri's grocery store, a fixture in the community since 1986. With this resubmission, the development's assembly now encompasses additional parcels at 272 Lawrence Avenue West and 1549 Avenue Road, expanding the project's footprint and potential impact. This expansion has resulted in the full assembly encompassing 272 through 290 Lawrence Avenue West and 1507 through 1549 Avenue Road.

An aerial view of the current and previous sites and surrounding area, image from submission to City of Toronto

Initially proposed as 10 and 13-storey buildings in June 2020, the project has undergone several revisions, culminating in the current proposal of 12 and 14-storey mixed-use buildings plus a new public road and a new park. The inclusion of additional parcels has increased the proposed Gross Floor Area (GFA) from 41,972m² to 61,581m², with 4,439m² dedicated to retail. In addition, the unit count that started at 455 has increased to 665.

Previous design for 284 Lawrence West, designed by Turner Fleischer Architects for First Capital

The current proposal showcases buildings reaching heights of 45.5m and 52.35m, notable increases from the initial heights of 34.8m and 46.4m. Amenities have been considered, with 1,489m² of indoor and 1,335m² of outdoor space. With two elevators in the shorter tower and three in the taller one, the development would feature one elevator for every 133 units on average, indicating long wait times.

The northern building has transitioned to a 12-storey structure, with increased setbacks at ground level and additional step-backs above, resulting in less shadow on an adjacent public park. The 14-storey building, meanwhile, has evolved from an L-shape to a U-shaped design, optimizing its footprint for better sunlight access. The former POPS space between the buildings would now be a private driveway, while new greenspace is now reallocated elsewhere.

The U-shaped south building, image from submission to City of Toronto

The revised layout introduces a new public road along the east side of the site running from Lawrence Avenue to the south, to Douglas Avenue to the north, enhancing connectivity within the site and to the surrounding neighbourhood. The relocation of a public park to a more prominent position at the north end of the site would increases its size from 982m² to 1,088m².

A notable feature of this proposal is 2,870m² in area allocated for a food store facing the corner of Avenue Road and Lawrence, hinting that Pusateri's could conceivably more from their current location on the north half of the site into the new space on the south half of the site, assuming it is constructed in a phased nature to allow that, and assuming Pusateri's continued interest in the location. Architectural drawings indicate an 842m² retail area in the northern portion, plus three smaller additional retail spaces facing Lawrence Avenue.

Ground floor plan, image from submission to City of Toronto

The development would include a three-level underground garage, providing 566 resident, 66 visitor, and 71 retail parking spaces. While visitor parking has remained similar, resident parking space has significantly increased from 387, while retail parking has decreased from 150 spaces. Furthermore, 141 of the spaces would be equipped with Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, and 10 would be designated Light Electric Vehicle spaces. In addition, the plans call for 453 long-term and 47 short-term residential bicycle parking spots, along with 6 long-term and 15 short-term spaces for retail use.

Private driveway leading to underground garage, image from submission to City of Toronto

The context of this development within Bedford Park’s landscape is seen in surrounding projects along Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue West, showcasing several mid-rise developments planned, underway, and recently completed. Northwest of the site, the 7-storey Avenue & Park at 1580 Avenue Road was completed in 2022. Further north, 1670 Avenue Road is proposed at 8 storeys. East of the site, 250 Lawrence Avenue West is wrapping up construction and standing 9 storeys.

Looking east to the Pusateri's at the site, image from Google Maps

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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Related Companies:  Bousfields, First Capital, Turner Fleischer Architects