City staff recommend refusing new supertall Yorkville skyscraper plan

A new 94-storey “supertall” tower has been proposed for 15 and 19 Bloor St. W. adding another massive development next door to The One, at 1 Bloor St. W. There is so much development proposed or under construction, the area will be the most dense part of Toronto and most likely Canada.

The application is set to take the next step of its journey along the city of Toronto’s development process this month at the Toronto & East York Community Council. According to a report published ahead of the meeting, city staff are recommending that the application be refused.

“The application has not demonstrated that the proposed tall building can be accommodated on the site in a manner that is appropriate within the existing context,” states the decision report. “The development as proposed, does not conform with the Official Plan, the Downtown Secondary Plan, and, does not meet the intent of the Tall Building Design Guidelines.”

The application will be considered on May 24.

The decision report also recommends that city council “authorize the City Solicitor, together with appropriate staff, to appear before the Ontario Land Tribunal in support of City Council’s decision to refuse the application, in the event the application is appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal.”

The newly proposed development combined with continued construction of The One, redevelopment of the subway station and Hudson Bay site at the northeast corner and another tall tower across the street would keep the area in hoarding and temporary lane closures for a long time.

The tower, if approved, could establish a peak height at Bloor and Yonge where the tallest buildings in the area will be built up at the prominent central location serviced by two subway lines.

A “supertall” tower is any skyscraper more than 300 metres tall. The proposal for 19 Bloor St. W. is just over 301 metres. The One tower, which is under construction just 15 metres away, will stand at 338 metres, while the One Yonge Skytower further south of Front Street is proposed to be 312 metres.

Rendering of the proposed development at 19 Bloor St. W. at right with The One shown at centre

The One has submitted an application to increase the number of storeys in its building from the current 85 to 94.

The new development proposal requires a zoning by-law amendment for the 94-storey mixed-use building that will include retail uses at-grade fronting onto Bloor Street West, and residential uses above (1262 residential units) with access provided on Balmuto Street. The residential mix for the condo will include 10 per cent three-bedroom units and more than 20 per cent two-bedroom units.

The development would also provide four levels of underground parking for a total of 70 parking spaces including residential and visitor parking, as well as car-share and dedicated short-term pick-up/drop-off spaces. That means there is one parking space for every 18 condo units, which is as it should be for a location that is completely walkable, with two subway lines, and separated bike lanes.

The city removed parking minimums for developments back in December, 2021, which is a good thing. There is little need for a personal vehicle especially in this area of the city. The development also proposes a secure bicycle parking space for every unit.

What the area doesn’t have a lot of is green space.

Map shows the development site in orange (city of Toronto application)

Interesting to note, the building plan also includes a dedicated outdoor amenity space for “pet relief and exercise, reducing pet-related pressure on nearby parks and public spaces.”

There are also indoor and outdoor amenity spaces on the third, and 10th floors including a co-working space for residents who work from home.

The property is currently occupied with two-storey buildings, including a vacant retail building (previously housing an “H&M” clothing store) and a Scotiabank branch, located at the corner of Bloor Street and Balmuto Street.

The Holt Renfrew location across the street from 19 Bloor St. W. is also proposed to be intensified with a new 71-storey mixed use building.

The city planning department will now need to organize public meetings as the application makes its way through the city’s rigorous and lengthy development process, which usually takes many years from application to construction and finally occupation.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO