toronto-rail-deck-2

Rendering: Sweeny & Co Architects Inc.

A developer has an ambitious proposal to deck over a rail corridor in downtown Toronto so that a large public park — and several buildings — can be constructed atop the train tracks.

An application to amend Toronto’s official plan was submitted yesterday, according to the City’s development applications database.

Urban planning consultancy R.E. Millward + Associates put together the application for P.I.T.S. Developments Inc., according to the application paperwork.

The application files, which refer to the plans as the ORCA project, outline intentions to build a platform over Toronto’s Union Station Rail Corridor from Bathurst Street to Blue Jays Way.

The goal is to create a base for the construction of eight buildings and a sprawling public park that would run the length of the site.

The proposed park would total roughly 12.4 acres, accounting for 58 per cent of the site.

But it “would require a partnership with the City of Toronto, up to or including the purchase of the open space to bring it into public ownership,” the application states.

rail-deck-park-rendering

Rendering: Sweeny & Co Architects Inc.

P.I.T.S. Developments’ proposal also includes plans for eight towers, seven of which would include residential units.

A total of 2,750 would be spread across seven of the proposed buildings, as per the application.

The site would also include offices, retail space and possibly a new GO Transit station.

To move forward, the developer would need to purchase air rights from the Canadian National Railway Company and Toronto Terminals Railway for the space over the corridor, which they currently own the rights to.

“The proposed rail corridor overbuild presents a unique opportunity to re-connect old neighbourhoods with new ones by stitching back together street blocks and pedestrian linkages that have been severed from a century of rail operations,” the application reads.

City officials have been publicly floating a similar plan to deck over the rails and create a park since August 2016. However, those plans were for 21 acres of public space.

And they didn’t include condo or rental units, either.

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