4 Things to Know About the Future of Lower Yonge
The post-industrial swath at the foot of Yonge Street will be transformed into a mixed-use precinct anchored by Pinnacle International’s Toronto Star site redevelopment. A public meeting on Tuesday revealed four insights.
1. It’s Got Great Potential
Lower Yonge precinct comprises 30 acres of underutilized properties, most privately owned, noted city planner Willie Macrae. This includes the Star site (1-7 Yonge St) and adjacent Loblaws and LCBO lands. Only the Star property is at the development application stage, but the others are key to tying this part of the waterfront in with neighbouring East Bayfront and a reconstructed Queens Quay. The precinct will have a mid-block pedestrian arcade running diagonally from Yonge to a public central park. New PATH connections will be made, too.
2. Pinnacle Is Aiming Very High
Pinnacle's plan creates a new centre of gravity at 1 Yonge, with three residential towers proposed for the north portion: 65, 80 and 95 storeys. The developer is negotiating heights with the city and has appealed its application to the OMB. But architect David Pontarini said there’ll be 30 metres of “breathing room” between buildings and the scale of the 80-floor tower is akin to One Bloor East (which he designed) or Mirvish+Gehry Toronto. And the 95-storey giant? “The foot of Yonge deserves to be a landmark tower site.” On the south side, 30-, 18- and 13-storey buildings (mostly office) will integrate with a reclad Star tower, with floors added.
3. Old Will Blend With New
The redevelopment retains the Redpath Sugar factory, there since 1959. The city wants to maintain a portion of the heritage-listed office and warehouse properties on the LCBO site, too, though city planner Willie Macrae said a planned extension of Harbour Street will “punch through” the warehouse's southern half. An overhaul of Gardiner Expressway ramps will involve removing the Bay on-ramp, shortening the Lower Jarvis off-ramp to land at Yonge, removing the circular York off-ramp, and truncating the Bay off-ramp at Lower Simcoe.
4. CRE, Public Space Shall Live in Harmony
Pinnacle's delivering loads of commercial real estate here, including office buildings with large, open floor plates, and retail lining street edges, some of it two floors (loading will be done mid-block, trucks entering on a turntable to save space). Yonge will have a landscaped promenade with widened sidewalks, and buildings are to be set back at corners, providing additional public space. The complex on the site’s south side will have a central food court and 50k SF community centre with pool and gym overlooking the park. Childcare centres and a library will be part of future redevelopments, Willie noted.