A collection of new high-rise buildings could bring hundreds of homes and greenspace to one of West End Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods.
Last week, an Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment application was submitted to city planners to construct a mixed-use development with a new public park and six residential towers at 5 and 43 Junction Road in the Junction neighbourhood. The towers, ranging from 15 to 35 storeys in height, would house office, residential and commercial uses, plus 1,888 new homes.
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The trapezoid-shaped development site is located near the southeast corner of Keele Street and Junction Road. Spanning roughly 2.6 hectares, the eastern and southern corners of the site are bordered by two rail corridors. Since the 1880s, the site has been mostly used for industrial purposes, including facilities for Comfort Soap Works, Campbell Flour Mills and St. Mary’s Cement. In its current state, the site is occupied by an LA Fitness gym location, grocery store, medical clinic and surface parking.
The proposal would see the redevelopment of the retail plaza into an urban mixed-use community over three phases, totaling 1.43 million square feet of gross floor area. The six new towers would be arranged with the tallest structures at the south corner of the lot, decreasing in height toward the north and west corners. The 15- to 35-storey buildings would sit upon three three- to six-storey podiums fronting onto Junction Road. The existing medical centre would stay in place.
According to the planning rationale by SvN, the project would feature a variety of unit tenures to “meet the varied needs of future residents,” including new condo and affordable rental housing. Five percent of the total residential gross floor area would be delivered as affordable rentals, with 30 percent of the affordable housing designated as two- or three-bedroom suites. Of the 1,888 new homes, the breakdown would include 1,178 one-bedroom, 513 two-bedroom and 191 three-bedroom units.
The proposal would see the creation of a 43,238-square-foot central public park along Junction Road with parkland dedication and landscaped open space. The park is intended to act as a gateway to the redevelopment and a “gathering space for the North Junction community.” A planted berm would be constructed to buffer the park from the rail corridor. Greenroofs, landscaped open spaces and private amenity spaces are also proposed throughout the site.
“Through the COVID-19 pandemic there has been increased emphasis on the need for high quality open space to complement high density development, and this project has an abundance of it,” explains the application’s planning rationale.
In phase one, the proposal would focus on the eastern portion of the site. The first phase entails the creation of three towers reaching 15, 26 and 35 storeys, which would share a six- to eight-storey podium. Phase one would deliver 983 of the 1,888 units, plus new retail space. According to the application’s cover letter, the existing Organic Garage grocery store would be relocated into the new retail facility. Phase one would also include a new public street extending from Cawthra Avenue, terminating as a cul-de-sac at the rail corridor.
“The design and treatment of the southern road terminus is ongoing, but the design intent is to create a more urban character similar to an urban plaza,” said the planning rationale.
The next phase would introduce a single 32-storey tower on top of a three-storey podium with office and retail space, plus 343 residential units. The first phase of the public park would also be delivered in phase two of the project.
The third and final phase would be focused on the western portion of the site, creating an 18- and 28-storey tower with 562 units that would share a six-storey podium. This phase would also see the completion of the public park.
Designed by CORE Architects, each phase of the development would have a distinct architectural appearance. The towers in Phase One would feature black iron spot brick, while the tower in Phase Two would showcase curved concrete balconies that are designed to “pay homage to the former Campbell Flour Mill grain silos” that once operated onsite. In Phase Three, the use of red-tone brick cladding on the towers would be added as a reminder of the “sturdy manufactories that once stood on the site and throughout the area.”
A total of 1,056 parking spaces would be provided onsite, with the majority of the spaces located in underground garages or within parking structures.