Rendering: ORCA Toronto

Developers behind Toronto’s master-planned ORCA project have revealed a collection of new renderings that provide a more detailed glimpse of the 16-acre master-planned community slated for the city’s downtown core.

In a press release published today, CRAFT Development Group, Kingsmen Group Inc. and Fengate Asset Management — the latter of which is working on behalf of the LiUNA Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada — announced their development partnership for the ORCA project.

A development website created by CRAFT Development Corp. with updated renderings and a project concept video was also discovered by Urban Toronto forum commenters earlier today.

Rendering: ORCA Toronto

The mixed-use project would create high-rise residential buildings, affordable housing, entertainment facilities and open greenspace across 16 acres set above the existing railway corridor that is south of Front Street between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way. According to the press release, CRAFT Development Corp. acquired the air rights for the site from Canadian National Railway in 2013.

“The ORCA Project is focused on addressing ever-increasing housing demands in Toronto, providing new transit-oriented and family-friendly options in the heart of the city, and reclaiming a significant amount of urban space utilized by the rail corridor,” explains the press release.

Rendering: ORCA Toronto

The ORCA project’s video shows the inclusion of raised walkways, paved public plazas and commercial amenities in addition to a series of towers joined together by landscaped, multi-storey bridges in a zig-zag pattern.

Rendering: ORCA Toronto

The ORCA project was first proposed to Toronto city planners in May 2017, who later refused the Official Plan Amendment (OPA) application in January 2018, according to the development application’s most recent cover letter authored by Goldberg Group. The OPA was taken to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) for appeal, which had scheduled hearings for November 2020 and January 2021. Updated plans and documents were submitted to the city in June 2020.

The latest cover letter explains that the world-renowned Safdie Architects and PWP Landscape Architecture firms would be retained by the applicants to prepare the revised concept plan. The ORCA development would include six residential towers with 3,500 homes, according to the application’s project data sheet from June 2020. A 36-storey office building and approximately 522,049 square feet of retail space has also been proposed for the site.

Rendering: ORCA Toronto

With a focus on sustainability, the ORCA project says that it intends to ‘incorporate state-of-the-art technology’ in order to facilitate energy efficiency and a healthy environment across the community.

“We are extremely proud of this union between Craft/Kingsmen and Fengate,” said Carmine Nigro, President of CRAFT Development Corp., in the press release. “With LiUNA guidance, this historic opportunity for the revitalization of a former rail corridor will create thousands of job opportunities as well as homes for a new generation of homeowners.”

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