There are a number of new developments which are currently taking place or have recently been completed which directly affect our community. Please refer to the number on the map followed by a detailed description:
1. Hullmark Centre (SW of Yonge St and Sheppard Ave)
Status: Nearing Completion
This development by Tridel consists of 2 towers (37 storey on Yonge St & 45 storey on Sheppard Ave). The height is 177 M (as compared to the official plan limit of 100 meters). Approximately 825 units, 71% residential, 21% office and 8% retail. 1249 parking spots including retail allowance. The development will include a food retailer.
This is a large and complicated project with over 1 million sq. ft. of floor space, two subway connections and a busy location on a relatively small footprint. The first year of development was the hardest and most disruptive given the large number of trucks that were required for demolition and excavation (2 months) followed by 8 months to pour the foundation. On-site lanes have been used to stack 12 to 15 trucks. Trucks are only allowed right turns in and out. The Poyntz subway remained open through out the entire project. An effort was made to minimize disruption and allow for the construction to be completed as quickly as possible. Even then, there were problems such as trucks periodically backing up on Sheppard. WLHA continues to liaison with the builder and City Transportation.
WLHA, Tridel (developer), Councillor Filion and City staff agreed in March 2010 to close the sidewalk on the north side of this construction site rather than closing a lane for eastbound traffic on Sheppard Ave to allow sufficient space for construction activities. All agreed it would be safer for pedestrians if they didn’t have to cross construction entrances and better for traffic flow if a lane wasn’t closed. Despite extensive signage and barricades to redirect pedestrians to the north side of Sheppard East, they continued to walk on the south side, presenting an unacceptable safety concern. In the spring of 2011 the south lane of Sheppard East was transformed into a sidewalk. When using this walkway, please watch out for construction vehicles crossing to enter the site.
link to developer's website
2. Emerald Park (NW of Yonge St & Poyntz Ave)
Status: In Progress
This development by Bazis / Metropia consists of two towers, 39 and 30 storeys on a 3 storey commercial podium. A total of of 565 residential units and over 13,000 sq. m. of non-residential space are being built.
WLHA supported the application provided the developer would build what was in their application. Councillor Filion shared the WLHA's concern that the developer could potentially acquire the critical City owned real estate needed to complete the development block, and simply flip the property to another developer who could apply to build something totally different and likely less desirable. An innovative agreement to structure this safeguard was put in place by the city. The development was conditional on the sale of a city-owned laneway to the developer. The developer was able to purchase the laneway from the city on the condition that it will build exactly what it planned to build. As part of the development proposal, the community will benefit from a new community centre paid for by the developer, to be built as part of a new Lansing United Church on the site of the current church. The developer has paid the City for development work on Lansing United Church as agreed in exchange for density rights, and has met it's financial commitments required by the City to transfer title of the laneway. WLHA continues to closely monitor the Church and Emerald Park construction projects.
link to developer's website
3. St. Edward Catholic School at 1 Botham Road
A new 425 student elementary school (junior kindergarden to grade eight) has been given the green light from the Toronto Catholic District School Board to proceed with development on property it acquired at 1 Botham Rd. Construction of the school required no permissions from the City other than site plan approval.
After a very lengthy and comprehensive consultative process the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC)’s report on the four schools in it’s cluster recommended that 1 Botham be a “community” based school to accommodate students currently attending St Edwards plus future area growth. WLHA has worked with Board staff to mitigate traffic and safety concerns.
Councillor John Fillion held a community meeting where concerns were expressed about the traffic the new school will bring, and absense of sidewalks for pedestrian safety. The Councillor committed to review a number of ideas with City Transportation and worked with the community to further explore those options. It was decided that a new sidewalk will be built along Franklin Ave from the school to Yonge St. A number of Franklin Ave residents have contested this decision. The WLHA expressed concern that there was inadequate post-consultation work done with the community regarding the sidewalk.The sidewalk was completed during the fall of 2013.
The original move-in date of September 2013 has been delayed by several months. The school opened its doors in January 2014.
Link to School Website
4. Sheppard Ave West Secondary Plan
The City`s secondary plan for this area, which runs along Sheppard Ave West roughly from Beecroft to Easton, specifies a 2 story height limit and limited commercial use. Unfortunately this plan is so old and out of sync with their current expectations for commercial zoned property on arterial roads that it carries no weight with City Planning staff, nor with the OMB. Planning staff vision is reflected in the draft Mid-Rise Study (Click here
to download PDF) which favours 6-8 storeys, subject to 21 "performance standards". Of the 21 standards, the most significant one for the relatively shallow lots on Sheppard West is the 45 degree angular plane restriction, which effectively limits building height to 4-5 commercial storeys.
Land owners in this area are not rushing to re-develop these commercial properties. They claim it’s not economically viable. At the same time, they are they not investing in building or property maintenance so sites are increasingly becoming an eye sore and a nuisance for adjacent homeowners. Most area residents would like to see this area cleaned up by re-development of some sort, but what land use, height and density would be desirable?
As noted below, precedence was recently set to build 4 storeys commercial buildings but the project did not proceed despite it’s approval. Now we have a near by application pending for 5 storey residential with ground floor retail use. While the odds of Mayor Ford’s recent suggest to privately fund an extension of the Sheppard subway from Yonge to Downsview may seem remote at this stage, it has also drawn interest in seeing the Sheppard West Secondary Plan area extended into the adjacent established residential neighbourhoods. Annexing a block or two north and south of Sheppard from Beecroft to Easton for would allow sufficient lot depth along Sheppard West to build high rise instead of mid-rise. Speculators have been buying properties on the north side of Bogert for some time, hoping to see this eventually happen, which has arguably had an adverse impact on the neighbourhood.
WLHA does not have a formal position on the desirability of these or other options at this point. We will continue to keep residents informed of related issues and to encourage proactive discussions with a variety of stakeholders.
(a) 275 Sheppard Ave West
This application was to build a 5 story commercial building on 3 lots on the south side of Sheppard W opposite Addington Ave (west of Senlac). WLHA worked with an active group of concerned Bogert Ave residents through a series of public and private meetings. WLHA was concerned for the residents adjacent to this project AND for the precedence it will set for the entire Sheppard West strip from Easton to Beecroft. Sadly the community was caught between a rock and a hard place. Residents said they could accept 3 storeys. The City`s own planning staff favour increased density on arterial roads and the OMB frequently allows densities beyond City Planning standards. Councillor John Filion shared WLHA's concerns and helped negotiate a settlement with the developer for 4 storeys that included concessions for landscaping on adjacent homeowners properties to buffer massing concerns. Despite all the pressure applied to the City and the Councillor to expedite a decision because the owner claimed he needed the space for his business use, upon getting the approvals the property was immediately listed for sale. It will be interesing to see what the next owner will want to build.
(b) 258-264 Sheppard Ave West
Status: ongoing community consultation
You may recall in 2008 the Lansing (retirement) Residence applied to rezone this property to build a 5 storey (14.4m), 50 unit seniors residence for more independent living, to be serviced from the existing Lansing Residence kitchen. Road access was to be via their 10 Senlac Rd entrance. City planners and Councillor Filion assured WLHA in community consultations there was no potentially adverse precedence within the Sheppard West Secondary Plan area given the very specific property usage requested. The application was approved however the applicant did not proceed with construction. They eventually sold the property and the new owner has recently applied to build a 5-storey (17.9m), 42 unit residential apartment building with ground floor retail with access from Sheppard West, not Senlac. A community consultation was held on June 20, 2011. Further discussion is required with the community to define permitted commercial uses for the ground floor and other concerns regarding height, density, parking, garbage, and building asehtetics. Given the ramifications this application has for the rest of Sheppard West, WLHA will remain closely involved. Stay tuned.
For more information concerning development issues, please contact our director, Jason Campbell.