If you’ve ever driven onto the Don Valley Parkway, you’ve likely taken notice of Toronto’s famed cube house, mysterious green blocks suspended above the ground right next to the road. Now the famed city landmark is officially up for redevelopment thanks to a recently-submitted Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment application.
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Late last week, a development application was put forward to the city to build a 35-storey mixed-use tower with 443 new residential units at 1, 2, and 2A – 16 Sumach Street, referred to as Sumach Artsplace. Thelo Development Corporation and Markee Developments are named as the applicants on the application’s planning rationale.
The diamond-shaped development site is near Eastern Avenue and Adelaide Street East in Corktown, spanning approximately 27,986 square feet. The post-modern cube house, located at 1 Sumach Street, contains two commercial units and one residential suite supported off of the ground by a large concrete column. A series of semi-detached and single-storey homes, some of which date back as far as 1886, also occupy the development site.
The cube house was built between 1996 and 1998, designed by Canadian architects Ben Kutner and Jeff Brown. They originally saw the cubes as a solution for affordable housing on unusable land and planned to construct more. Their plan didn’t work out.
Sumach Artsplace would consist of a 35-storey east tower supported by a 12-storey podium and a six-storey podium component on the western side of the site near old Sumach and Sumach streets. The two pairs of Victorian semi-detached homes located at 6-12 old Sumach Street would be relocated and rehabilitated to anchor the tower’s six-storey podium and new plaza.
Cross-block connections would be incorporated to enhance the public realm, along with 3,100 square feet of retail space that would be set aside for retail, service, cultural or community uses. A north-south mid-block connection would be created using the existing old Sumach Street right-of-way to provide access to the Corktown and West Don Lands neighbourhoods.
The new development would deliver a combination of 119 affordable rental homes and 324 market condo units. The affordable housing suites would support the base of the tower between the third and eighth floors, with the condo units above from levels nine to 35. Access to the rental portion of the development would be provided at the bottom of the six-storey podium, while the lobby to the condo levels would be incorporated into the base of the tower at old Sumach Street. The breakdown of the residences would include 194 one-bedroom, 134 two-bedroom and 41 three-bedroom units.
The triangular shape of Sumach Artsplace is said to be a nod to the historic flatiron buildings located in New York and Toronto.
“An eastern gateway to downtown, Sumach Artsplace provides iconic views approaching from the City’s east end,” explains the rationale. “The 35 storey gateway tower sits at the centre of multiple mobility arteries.”
Approximately 18,761 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces would be incorporated into the project, inclusive of podium decks, communal spaces and a pet wash. Thirty-two parking spaces would be provided via a five-level parking stacker and a three level, multi-row parking stacker. A total of 484 bicycle spaces would also be added on site.