North York is in the planning sector spotlight this week after developers Sorbara Group presented the City of Toronto with a proposal for a mixed-use, multi-building development on a 6-acre lot at 33 Walsh Avenue in the Pelmo Park – Humberlea area nearby the southwest corner of the former borough. The project, called Westdale, will include the construction of six towers ranging from 14 to 40 stories, an on-site road network and a new public park. Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, the complex would feature 2,452 new housing units versus low-rise units.
Enlarged view, looking southwest of Westdale at 33 Walsh Avenue, image from filing with the City of Toronto
The vacant lot has been prepared for development for years, largely due to its designation as a residential neighborhood in the city’s Official Plan (OP), but remained vacant after a proposal approved by the Adaptation Committee was never built. With two new applications filed for Zoning Bylaw Amendment (ZBA) and Site Plan Approval (SPA), Sorbara’s new proposal hopes to turn things around and activate the dormant land with new residential and retail opportunities, the other could conduct local intensification.
Satellite view of site and surrounding area, image from City of Toronto filing
The site is bounded by busy streets, with Walsh Avenue to the north (Walsh Avenue connecting the west end of Wilson Avenue to Albion Road) and Weston Road to the west, and is vehicular-oriented. However, there are several surface transit routes that serve the site and eventually connect to rapid transit stations. The area adjoining to the north is primarily characterized by individual low-rise single-family homes, with very few proposed developments within a 1km radius, even fewer of which qualify as high-rise; In other words, delivering over 2,000 units would mean a dramatic shift in density. Across 401 to the south, Weston is a higher-density residential area with several high-rises and dozens of mid-rises along Weston Road.
Westdale’s site plan works with an irregularly shaped lot and summarizes how the proposal intends to house six towers and a park. The signage system begins with Building A, a 14-story building located near the center of the site. It descends to 10 stories along Walsh Avenue. Buildings B and C, 21 and 23 stories respectively, are located at the eastern boundary of the site and stand on a common 10-story C-shaped podium.
In the northwest corner, 25-story Building D rises above its own 12-story L-shaped podium, bounded on the north by the park, which extends to the north-west corner of the lot. Finally, the site’s tallest towers, Buildings E and F, rise from a common L-shaped podium at the site’s southwesternmost corner, reaching 40 and 30 stories, respectively.
Site plan with labeling system for buildings, image from template at City of Toronto
So far there is only one rendering that offers a lifelike view of the completed development, but from what we can see so far the six towers all share a common outer glass surface that serves as a base for varying accents of white frames to encircle the to articulate volume . The framing seems to protrude far enough from the facades to mark balcony edges while appearing almost like an exoskeleton.
Looking southwest of Westdale, a multi-building gated community at 33 Walsh Avenue, image from a filing with the City of Toronto
Residents of the complex would be prompted to descend from the upper reaches of the towers to enjoy the ground floor where most of the non-residential infrastructure is located. A strip of retail units will be offered on the western boundary of the site, with entrances on Weston Road to also welcome non-resident foot traffic. At the class level of each building, residents will also find the interior areas, which add up to a total area of 4,932 m² over the entire development. The interiors also have direct access to one of the three outdoor areas on the ground floor, while the roofs of the various landings provide the additional outdoor area, also totaling 5,062 m².
Landscape plans for the grade level of development, image from submission to the City of Toronto
Of the 2,452 total units, less than 1% would be studios, 66% would be one-bedrooms, 22% would be two-bedrooms, and 11% would be three-bedrooms, meeting the city’s requirement for a percentage of family-sized units. A total of 1,316 car parking spaces and a further 1,840 parking spaces for bicycles would be available underground on three levels.
UrbanToronto will continue to monitor the progress of this development, but in the meantime you can learn more from our database file linked below. If you wish, you can join the discussion in the dedicated project forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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