Talk of redevelopment has returned to Yonge and Eglinton, this time with a focus on the northeast corner, where high profile developers want to build a 60-storey mixed-use tower.
A developer triumvirate of Riocan, Bazis International and Metropia are rumoured to be submitting a rezoning application to raze the northeast corner of the midtown intersection and build a structure whose scale would be unprecedented in the area.
No formal application has been made to the city thus far, but Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow said in early November a rezoning application could be submitted at any time.
Matlow, who’s met with developers about the project twice, says the proposal includes condominiums, office space and retail. The first few floors of the building would house TD bank’s new midtown headquarters.
Should it be approved at 60-storeys, the tower will be six storeys higher than the Minto building just south of Yonge and Eglinton, currently the area’s tallest. The current zoning for that corner is capped at 21 storeys.
Matlow says he’s intent on seeing the height of the building lowered, mainly because he’s concerned such a size would set a precedent for other developers looking to build in the neighbourhood.
“We’ve got to draw a line in the sand and ensure that while we support reasonable intensification at Yonge and Eglinton as a growth node that we also protect the local neighbourhood designation around it,” he said.
But Matlow also sees the project as an opportunity to improve the corner, which he describes as a cold, concrete wind tunnel.
The councillor points out that just across the street, Riocan is set to build a three-storey addition to the Yonge-Eglinton Centre mall. The plan is to expand the sidewalk space, and he’d like to see the same consideration for the opposite side of the street.
“The sidewalk is so narrow that at a busy time of day, if you’re walking there with a stroller, or if you’re just trying to get though, it’s incredibly congested on the sidewalk,” he said.
Sherwood Park Ratepayers Association president Ben Daube echoed Matlow’s desire for more public space, but says he’s more concerned about how the design will fit in with plans for the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line, and other ongoing nearby development, including Riocan’s redevelopment of the northwest corner, and a proposal for a tower at Duplex Avenue.
“All of this stuff is proposed over the next 10 years and there’s absolutely no coordination,” he says, noting three councillors and two different planning departments govern the intersection. “Without any coordination it’s going to be absolute chaos.”
Daube says it’s worrisome that ratepayer groups in the area are not getting a clear, cohesive picture of how transit stops and new buildings will co-exist.
“The applications are submitted, there’s a line drawn around the boundary and the surrounding context is lost,” Daube says. “We have to talk about connections between the other corners of the Yonge-Eglinton quadrant.
“You can’t just deal with a building in isolation.”
A representative for Bazis said design plans are ongoing. Calls to Metropia and Riocan were not returned.
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