Peter Street Towers Photo: James Bombales

A trio of proposed high-rise developments, including four towers, could significantly alter the skyline of Toronto’s Entertainment District.

Renderings of the projects were on display at Metro Hall Monday evening during a community consultation meeting. The gathering, hosted by Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy, gave those in attendance the chance to view plans that a trio of major developers have for the King-Spadina area. Concerns could also be voiced.

For two of the projects, proposals from Graywood Developments and Carlyle Communities, applications have not been put through to the City. A third, from Humbold Properties Limited, is currently in the rezoning process.

Graywood’s pre-application proposal is for a mostly residential development with commercial tenants at street level at 102-118 Peter Street and 350-354 Adelaide Street West. It encompasses two towers for a combined total of about 900 units. The taller tower would be roughly 50 storeys tall, or about 150 metres — just seven metres shy of the nearby TIFF building — while the shorter tower would be 39 storeys, or a height of about 120 metres.

Graywood brought in Toronto-based firm BBB Architects to handle the design. Greg Alexander, a partner at the firm, told BuzzBuzzHome News that the development’s seven-storey podium was meant to be a modern reflection of its surroundings. “The inspiration was to provide a reference of the warehouse district,” he said of the platform’s curved brick facade in a telephone interview with BuzzBuzzHome News earlier this week. Alexander noted there aren’t any heritage buildings on the site, but that the design plays off of those that are nearby.

Above the podium, a form wrapped in “curvilinear mesh” would rise, creating an “iconic skyline” that’s “a reference to this very special district,” said Alexander.

bbb-architects-adelaide-street-west-2 102-118 Peter Street and 350-354 Adelaide Street West rendering. Image: BBB Architects

The Carlyle Communities’ vision for 122-128 Peter Street and 357 Richmond Street West is a two-tone, 46-storey, 138-metre-tall tower. As with the Graywood proposal, it would have retail at grade. Both this commercial space and a residential lobby would be housed within an open, six-storey podium. Either condo units, rentals, or a combination of the two would make up the tower, said Peter Clewes, principal at architectsAlliance, the firm behind the design proposal. During a presentation, Clewes referred to the tower as “a very simple design that has more of a graphic quality.”

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122-128 Peter Street and 357 Richmond Street West rendering. Image: architectsALLIANCE

In its current form, the Carlyle proposal does not maintain two heritage listed buildings that are on its site. Some in attendance were curious about the fate of these properties, as well as the proposal’s scale.

“When you look at the built form that Peter [Clewes] showed us, you suddenly have a corner that’s huge — huge,” said one attendee after the floor was opened up to questions “And so how does this heritage have any meaning at all?” she asked.

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122-128 Peter Street and 357 Richmond Street West podium rendering. Image: architectsALLIANCE

Unlike the first two proposals on the table, a zoning amendment application has been submitted to the City by Humbold Properties Limited for 217 Adelaide Street West.

If built according to the current proposal, the 56-storey building would soar to a height of about 170 metres. Currently, the location is being used as a parking lot, and if built, the building would incorporate 147 above-ground parking spaces. These, however, are dwarfed by the 423 proposed bike spots. In all, the building would bring 410 residential units to the area. A seven-storey platform could feature “brutalist imagery,” said David Butterworth, senior conceptual designer at Kirkor, the firm handling the project’s design.

But Joanna Kimont, a City of Toronto planner, identified issues with the rezoning application that cast some doubts on the proposal’s future, at least as it was presented Monday evening.

“They are coming in at a higher height than we’d like to see in that area,” Kimont told BuzzBuzzHome News, noting its height of 170 metres surpasses TIFF’s 157 metre height, and that the latter is considered as the “benchmark” for the area.

The main issue, however, is how close the proposed structure comes to the adjacent properties. The City calls for a building to sit between 10 and 12-and-a-half metres back from adjacent properties; the structure in the Humbold proposal is flush with the property to the east and only leaves 1-3 metres between it and the property to the west. “I don’t know moving forward if there’s much more that can be done with this application,” said Kimont, noting the 25-metre width of the lot is presenting a challenge for the developer.

Unless something changes with the proposal, Kimont said the planning department could not support the application in the recommendation report it will eventually prepare for City council. However, the City could choose to ignore the report’s suggested refusal.

Even if rejected by council, Humbold could still appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, said Kimont.

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