The paramountcy of the car in mid-century planning led to the construction of the city's inner suburbs with ample amounts of land afforded to low density uses. Although there are certainly exceptions to this former planning orthodoxy, the Golden Mile in Scarborough is not one of them. Dominated by big-box retailers and light industry, the neighbourhood is far from reaching its carrying capacity. The catalytic effect of the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT is already being felt in the neighbourhood with a proposal for the construction of a cluster of towers at 1891 Eglinton Avenue East, at the corner of Eglinton and Pharmacy Avenue. The parcel of land as it currently appears as well as the site plan for the new project is below:
The applicant, Sherman Brown, proposes to build 1,640 residential units in five buildings ranging in height from 30 to 40 storeys at 1891 Eglinton Avenue East. Three of the buildings will contain mixed-use podiums with 6 213 sq. meters of office space while 14 843 sq. meters of commercial/retail space will be spread among the same three buildings as well as a one-storey retail building at the southwest corner of the site. A total of 2,540 parking spaces are to be included in a two-level parking garage while 84 surface spaces are intended to primarily service visitors as well as the retail and commercial tenants. Given the zoning designation as employment lands, the applicant is requesting that the site be redesignated as mixed-use. The application will also be reviewed within the context of the ongoing Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown Planning Study. It is important to note that under the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) produced by Metrolinx in 2008, and subsequently endorsed by Council in 2009, Eglinton Avenue is identified as an intensification corridor. The report outlines major arteries that will benefit from upgraded transit services and marks them as areas to accommodate additional growth and development. Elevation plans for 4 of the 5 buildings are below. The elevation plan for the single storey retail building (Building D) was not included in the application.
The architect of record is Kirkor Architects and Planners.
Given the abrupt change in land-use and density, there is concern within the community as to the appropriateness of the development. Local opposition is focused on the height of the proposed towers as there is no precedent in the neighbourhood for a similar degree of density. Residents south of the development in the low-rise Clairlea neighbourhood are particularly concerned over the scale of the buildings as well as the increase in traffic that will be triggered by the influx of new residents. Although the height of the proposal is of legitimate concern, the intensification of an under-utilized plot of land is certainly a welcome development as is the intention to include substantial retail space. Hopefully the decision to have the podiums of the towers meet the street will spark the creation of a more dynamic and friendly pedestrian environment.
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