While plans for the ambitious Rail Deck Park project have been dashed by a recent provincial tribunal decision, downtown Toronto may still see a new urban park built in the heart of the Entertainment District.
Earlier today, Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, Spadina-Fort York Councillor Joe Cressy and CreateTO CEO Steven Trumper announced plans to redevelop the site at 260 Adelaide Street West through a joint venture with developer CentreCourt. The major redevelopment would see the downtown fire hall known as Fire Station 332 relocated to make way for a mixed-use development with over 600 new residences, including affordable housing units, community space and an EMS post.
The privately-owned surface parking lot north of the fire hall, at 229 Richmond Street West, would also be acquired and transformed into much-needed parkland in a rapidly growing area of the downtown core. Funded by Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the park would include walkways, shaded patios, and verdant trees and grassy areas, as seen in the initial renderings. A below-grade parking facility would be operated and funded by the Toronto Parking Authority, replacing the lost surface spots.
“This is an exciting project on many fronts and an extremely complex transaction involving multiple partners,” said Tory. “It will address program needs for numerous City divisions and create a range of City-building opportunities, including the potential for affordable housing in the downtown core, addressing the state of good repair of City infrastructure, and the potential to create a new park and an EMS facility – or other investments to be determined by City Council.”
Toronto developer CentreCourt owns the adjacent property at 254 Adelaide Street West, which would be combined with the City-owned site to create a residential building with a larger podium and tower floorplate. This would enable the construction of up to 652 residential suites, including a target of 30 percent affordable rental units. The future podium of the Adelaide Street tower would also house 10,000 square feet of community space and include a new EMS post for Toronto Paramedic Services.
“Working through CreateTO and City divisions we have ensured that any development at 260 Adelaide Street West will include a significant number of affordable housing units,” said Bailão. “Leveraging City assets for affordable housing is crucial to our broader success across Toronto as we ensure that people who wish to live here can afford to do so,” she added.
“With this acquisition and revitalization – and through our joint venture with CentreCourt – we are using one City-owned property to fund and achieve significant city-building objectives in the downtown core and ensure the best use of the City’s real estate assets,” added Trumper.
The existing fire hall at 260 Adelaide Street West would be relocated into the podium of nearby Metro Hall at 214 Wellington Street West, in a space that is presently occupied by Employment & Social Services. Renderings show the fire hall’s driveway would front Wellington Street West and replace a grassy lawn area and public art installation.