Category Archives: intensificatioin

Industrial Chic: where-ever you can find it

Thanks largely to the NCC’s penchant for eliminating Ottawa’s industrial heritage, we have extraordinarily few industrial sites to convert into condos, lofts, or trendy retail.

A few years back, retail pioneers took over industrial space on Elm and Spruce Streets. The trend then spread to the adjacent City Centre building which has many great industrial features: high ceilings, cheap space, lotsa concrete surfaces. I used to joke the only thing it was missing was Stephen Beckta.

A similar trend has taken over the industrial garages on Beech Street, east of Preston. The baseball bat factory gave way to architect’s offices (certain similarities in function there…) and some food establishments that probably depend a lot on the lunch crowd from NRC next door.

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Latest on the block is Beechbone, an offshoot of Whalesbone. Currently open just 11 to 4 on weekdays, it’s rather like an oversize food truck. Only two inside tables, plus some outside picnic tables,  it offers fresh seafood take out.

IMG_0282

 

As for converted lofts, our own “distillery district” or warehouse district … not likely unless someones makes new “old” buildings. The recent sneak peek at a twelve storey condo project in the ‘hood was pulled back by the developer for some re-cladding when the preview audience panned the [somewhat annodyne] modern exterior in preference for something grittier and more reflective of the neighbourhood heritage. This doesn’t mean “faux historique”, of course: just look at the Urban Kaos-designed red caboose building at Breezehill and Somerset to see a neat spin on industrial chic.

The new Tamarack building proposed beside the Grace Hospital has a facade that is alternating planes of old industrial and very modern.

tamarack grace

 

I like the old industrial bits best. What do you think?

New developments on Bronson

Two new developments are coming forward on Bronson Avenue. One very big; one very small. One by a big Toronto developer; the other by a local.

The small one is for a demolition and infill on the west side of Bronson between Christie and Gladstone. The proponent has tentative plans for a three storey infill, consisting of a ground level business, with two floors of apartments above. Both apartments are three bedrooms and the layout is conducive to family living. There is also a proposed basement apartment. The building is snuggled up to the north side of the lot, with the driveway to three rear parking spaces and many of the windows facing south.

394 bronson site plan

 

Don’t squint too hard at the site map set into the bottom right corner of the picture above, as it is for somewhere else, in Orleans, not Ottawa.

This type of small scale infill generally receives support from the local community association. It has been our theme for some time now that it is important to preserve low rise zoning in the established parts of Little Italy and Chinatown so that smaller developers can acquire lots and redevelop the west side in an incremental and organic way. (Big developers should be playing in the vacant brownfields).  In contrast, the City has been following a “plan for very high rises” approach, which requires land assembly. A number of the resultant proposals, eg Taggart’s on Norman Street, are sorely out of scale. Neighbourhood busting is the result of vacant lots and boarded up houses awaiting demolition.

Mind, the City is not all sweetness and light on the small Bronson project either. Recall that the fight over a road diet for the Bronson traffic sewer lead last year by Rescue Bronson. The group “lost” the fight for a complete street, but did force the City to greatly enhance the landscaping, some of which occurred on adjacent private lands. So the City proceeded to rebuild Bronson in that dreadful four lane format leftover from the ignorant ’50′s. But it hasn’t removed from the books its earlier idea to widen the street. So our newly reconstructed Bronson, set to last another century in its current format, requires new buildings to be set back another 3m so that the road can be widened some day. Welcome to planning in Ottawa.

The second development proposal for Bronson is from the Brad Lamb corp of Toronto. They are hinting at a proposal for 196 Bronson, the Ottawa Construction Association HQ at the top of Bronson Hill. That large land assembly was accomplished in the usual way: acquire adjacent single house, abandon it, dilapidate it, board it up, wait til neighbours complain of vandalism, offer to tear it down, expand parking lot. The land assembly now includes significant frontage on Bronson and runs through the lot to Cambridge Street. It is the turquoise bordered square below:

196 bronson zoning map

 

West of the site is St Vincent Hospital; on the opposite site of Bronson are two apartment towers and the Bronson Centre (former Immaculata HS). Immediately north are heritage-zoned properties, actually home of Heritage Canada. The height limit on the subject land is currently 14.5m.

 

Interestingly, there is a similar sized land assembly further south on Bronson, at Carling, where Montreal developer Samcon is proposing a condo.

For this lot, however, Brad Lamb has rejigged his SOBA project, rearranging the blocks a bit, to propose this:

196 bronson brad lamb view 1

 

196 bronson brad lamb view 2

 

Presumably the taller portion is on the Bronson side and the lower on the Cambridge side, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the other way around. From the top of Bronson Hill, the views to the north, east, and west will be stunning, and it’s a short walk downtown to make up for the lack of amenities along Bronson.

No word yet if the ground floor will be street-enlivening commercial space or just parking garage, such as Charlesfort likes to provide on the ground floors of its downtown condos (see Bronson at Powell).

Recall that Bronson functions so badly that the City discourages commercial development along the road, most recently trying to close out an already-open doctor’s office because it might aggravate traffic congestion. Highrises won’t cause any congestion, however, because the City says so.

Presumably the garage entrance will be off quieter Cambridge, since the City prioritizes commuter traffic over local access. This will give new residents a sort of video-game experience with the wheel chair bound residents of St Vincent Hospital, co-located on Cambridge.

News Headline: Developer listens first …

On Tuesday evening a most strange and wonderful event occurred on the west side. A developer called a meeting of neighbours and area residents, and then listened. And listened hard.

Mizrahi Developments builds luxury custom homes in Toronto. Some of these homes are in a mid-rise condo format. They have bought the Joe’s Audio and Bella Restaurant site on Richmond Road at Island Park Drive.

The site is zoned for six stories, with planning direction to go up to 9 at the corner to make a gateway statement. The planning therefore envisions a nine storey building right at the corner, with a six storey portion further to the east, closer to the new Thiberge Homes condo (designed by Hobin) opposite the Metro grocery store.

A flaw in the CDP plans is the extensive site contamination, which is estimated to cost $1 million up to $2 million to remediate. Thus Mizrahi suggests something in the 12 and 9 will be required to get enough sellable space to cover the remediation cost. Mizrahi “guarantees” that they won’t be asking for further upzoning as the project progresses. They claimed to be laying their cards on the table.

After that, they are listening. Have they met the Councillor? No, just a meeting to introduce themselves, barely two hours before the public meeting. But the public is getting the first say.

How about the planning department? Haven’t looked them up, yet. Will mosey over on Friday, maybe.

The Community Association? Nope, not yet.

The builder introduced the sort of projects they build in Toronto. Which is custom homes. Some of which are custom homes in a condo format, eg Hazelton Avenue project pictured. Their projects employ “timeless, classic” architecture, like limestone exteriors, house-like windows (NOT curtain walls), moldings, panelling, etc.

133 hazelton

No, they don’t have any proposal for the site, yet. They just figured out how much sellable space they need to make the project work, and what do the neighbours want or what are they concerned about?

How many units? Dunno. Depends on what people want. We don’t provide pre-made boxes, and certainly not small units appealing to investors. Somebody comes and wants 3600 sq ft on the third floor, we design that. Or  2400, or 1600 ft. Any of their provided layouts are starting points to spark conversation, but homes are custom built.

Will they be affordable to young buyers wanting to move into the west end but unable to afford a traditional house? After a bit of polite waffling, they reiterated they build large, finely finished custom homes. So, no.

How much parking? Dunno for sure, but certainly more than one space per unit, probably two. All indoors. As will be the guest parking, the commercial parking, the garbage areas, and the loading dock [compare that to Claridge's new condo tower on Preston with no indoor loading dock or indoor garbage loading area].

Where will the exit be?  - we hope not onto the quieter residential streets behind. Agree, it won’t be there, that would be unpopular. We’ll put it on West Wellie directly.

What about construction noise and dirt? Mizrahi promised the site will be so clean you can walk by it with a baby stroller and not get the wheels or your shoes dirty or even damp. The construction hoarding will be generous and attractive [compare that to the pathetic stuff Ottawa allows elsewhere on Richmond and the city, as featured in a previous posts,http://www.westsideaction.com/hoarding-sidewalk-space/; and http://www.westsideaction.com/pedestrian-safety-sheds/ ].

What about over-viewing adjacent homes? They will work with each and every homeowner to address their concerns, and the developer claims a great track record in ensuring privacy and quality outdoor space for both the condo and neighbours. Better by design.

You’ll block sunlight! Where? – we’ll work with you to prevent shadows. (I must confess I was getting somewhat sceptical at this point, but the audience was lapping it up, although most of the public grossly overestimates shadow effects).

What sort of retail? And will the sidewalks be wide enough, ie wider than at the adjacent condos along Richmond? (this last comment was interesting, given they are employing the same architect as those condos further along Richmond and at Our Lady of the Condos site). You want wide sidewalks – we like them too. We’ll make wide sidewalks (no word on yet on whether the city planning dept agrees to bigger setbacks). Main tenant will be Bellas.

What about the parkette at the very corner? Will it be saved? Yup, saved. And improved. You tell us what you want to see there, we’ll put it there. [I'd suggest a restaurant patio at the corner on the building site, a glass fence, and a fountain in the park to mask car noise].

By this point, the audience was running out of steam. Questions increasingly became prefaced with “gee you’re great why don’t [other developers , insert name here] do what you do?”

Off on the side, someone was busy taking notes of all the concerns and objections. Once the project comes forward, there will have been some compromises, but because they will have been discussed first (after all, there are bound to be conflicting positions among the neighbours, depending on which side they are on, the city planners, the community assoc, etc) the major objectors will be defanged and the project will be introduced with considerable goodwill.

It was a beautiful sight to see the consultative approach at the early stages of a project. Objecting once the developer has spent hundreds of thousands on a first set of plans is not a good strategy. And its a set up to fail to object at Planning Committee. And it is good strategy for a developer to get out of the starting gate with a proposal that is geared to meeting community goals and avoiding objections. It might even generate pre-sales. It seems to be a consistent approach that the firm takes, witness its web site video:  http://mizrahidevelopments.com/#/intro and their other web content.

It’s a good strategy. It would be even nicer if more developers and communities tried it. Because it takes at least two to tango, and the new and old make up the community.

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The main quibble I could have with their presentation were the inevitable objections that it will generate too much traffic on already busy (failing, in neighbour-speak) streets. It’s not obviously a fallacy that building the condo a few blocks further away will somehow mean no traffic on the street in front of this site, and the building can’t educate everyone about the difference between their site which originates the traffic and the streets that carry all the traffic, but I’d like to hear one try.

 

 

 

Building a liveable Ottawa

So, on Tuesday night I trotted off to the City’s launch of its OP (official plan) and TMP (Transportation master plan) tweaks.

My, so many fine words. So many nice drawings. Lots of display boards. Mind you, there are some pretty fine words in the last plan too, like the promise that public spaces would be designed for pedestrians first, cyclists, transit, then motorists. To those fine words, every neighbourhood has their own response. Ours is: Bronson Avenue !

Some observations:

  • the traditional traffic analysis uses “level or service”, rated A thru F, for motorists. No measure of pedestrians, cyclists. New measure will include pedestrians in a “level of comfort” measure. Good, but separate does not equal Equal. I’d rather have a pedestrian and cyclist level of service directly comparable to the motorist one, using the same A thru F scale,  and a combined “liveable street index” also rated A thru F.
  • the cyclist presentation made a valiant first attempt at showing that roads of different speeds could have / require? different cycling facilities. This was a big deal in the presentations given by guest speakers we have had for the last few years from cycling nations in Europe. Except, I think they would be appalled at the continued expectation in our standards that cyclists will continue to share the roads with fast moving vehicles. I’d love to see our proposed facilities compared to Dutch facilities for each roadway speed. For example, the Dutch demand that cyclists be on a separated path once road speeds hit 50kmh. So, no bike lanes on Scott. Or Albert. Or Carling.
  • Alas,  the typology of cycling facilities related to road size and speed was not carried over to pedestrians, who are supposed to be satisfied with a 5 or 6′ concrete sidewalk glued to the curb, even if the adjacent road has a speed of 70kmh and is major truck and bus route. Who exactly wants to walk in those conditions? Walls of noise, dirt, pollution  slush and spray … Would you let your 8 year old walk to school in those conditions? Where is the index that says a glued-to-the-curb works for 30kmh residential streets, but a 40, 50, 60, or 70kmh requires a physical setback, buffer zone, or elevation difference or safety wall between the walk and the speeding vehicles? Do any of our Councillors actually walk anywhere? (kudos to Hobbs who continues to be car free).
  • i failed to notice any distinction between “greenfield” new road locations where there is often plenty of room for cycle paths and walks to be set back from fast roads, and existing urban conditions where it is expensive or challenging to achieve that result. Will  future Bronsons be rebuilt with sidewalks, then bike paths, then reduced numbers of traffic lanes, to fit into the available space, or will we continue merrily on with the car-has-already-ruined-this-place-just-carry-on mentality that characterizes Watson’s Ottawa and its 1970′s car-first priorities. In short, the principles need a “shall” statement preceding them.
  • After a lengthy opening address on the evils of car dependent urban form on human health, I didn’t notice any bold measures to curb the car and its unhealthy effects on Ottawa residents. We don’t need advertising campaigns, bus ads, and other proactive feel-good stuff. We need concrete action. Where are bold measures, such as mandating parking charges for all land users (ie, an end to “free” parking)? The City could start today by ending free parking at all its facilities. Get those pay-and-display machines out to Plant Bath and Nepean Sportsplex now! Might even make a profit, too.
  • I did notice and appreciate a semi-promise to avoid double-left-turn lanes at intersections.
  • I did notice and appreciate a higher target level for modal split. At the same time, promises of ever more spending on more roads and more greenfield development following the same models we now use, that increase density but don’t make Barrhaven or Riverside South genuinely walkable. Our new suburban neighborhoods like like a collection of garage doors with backyard-facing housing behind them.
  • I remain unconvinced that density targets alone will increase walking and healthy outcomes and active transportation and complete communities. Density may be a feature of successful neighbourhoods from the first half of the twentieth century, but they are not the only factor. There is urban form, the age and income mix, etc. Will building $700,000 condos on the 30th floor of an infill generate the same happy results as the 1920′s built form?? All evidence I see says NO.
  • Hume insists that within a few years zoning will match the plans. That will be helpful. What does that do to the Centretown plan and the Bayview-Carling plan, both of which have Dark-inspired key features of having the zoning mismatched to the OP and CDP so that Sec 37 monies can be extorted from the builders (and thru them, lest anyone be so naive, from the buyers of those units who have been deliberately excluded in our fair city from buying ground-based housing, supposedly to reduce sprawl but also to protect existing neighbourhood voters from low-rise intensification).
  • Hume also promised a development charge review. I’d like to see those predictable charges replace Sec 37. And the City could appease a lot of neighbourhood opposition to change by promising that the first year or two of additional revenue earned from any development would be spent in the immediate vicinity of the project. Then the city gets to keep the remaining 99 years of revenue all for itself. Yup, I’ll take a bribe today.
  • Ottawa boasts of its urban boundary. And its huge size is supposed to bring all of the surrounding area into one comprehensive urban planning zone. But just as for the greenbelt, the city-boundary has already been jumped by commuters and government road building to permit motorists to commute from ever-farther distances. Drive till you can buy that single family home! We are now exporting the worst forms of low-density suburbia to surrounding towns like Kemptville and Arnprior. The short-term greenfield economics seduces those small towns that every day look more like Barrhaven c1979. The best way for Arnprior or Kemptville to have live-work-play complete communities is to have a $5 or $10 toll on the road to Ottawa at the City boundary. Live in Arnprior if you work there, but not if you are then going to drive all thru my city.
  • the city is going to change the measure by which is provides roads from the current sizing of asphalt lanes to the peak hour (7.30 to 8.30am) to sizing them for the average of the peak period (ie, the three hour window). This will reduce the amount of road by 15%. And I have a bridge for you to buy, cheap. Many urban roads are so over-capacity that I don’t think it will make any change at all. This might have an effect on new roads to Bradley Estates, but for the rest of us, I think this is fine words with no real impact.
  • there was no acknowledgement of the world-wide trend to reducing speed limits (and thus reducing the road widths and geometry required to sustain high speeds) to make cities liveable  So Mr Hume thinks we will all be happy living in denser housing adjacent speeding traffic and or congested traffic (yes, the two do go together)  on narrower roads with minimal standard sidewalks glued to the curb??  Waiter, the reality cheque please !

 

 

The tale of the virgin developer, the tiny apartment building, and Christmas presents under the Balsam

From time to time, development applications appear that raise more questions than they answer. The one at 13 Balsam is for me such an application.

The applicant is an Italian small-business owner, a newbie to development. He owns a single lot, upon which he proposes to build a five storey apartment building. It would have an elevator, and all of 8 apartments (4 two bedroom; 4 one bedroom). The ground level would consist of a building lobby and the rest of the ground level would be at-grade parking, presumably closed in a garage.

The application has only this one elevation, no floor plans, no construction details. The planning application is written by Fotenn; architects are Liff and Tolot.

The zoning for the lot is presently 33′ high, ie 3 stories. The application is for a five storey building, plus elevator penthouse, plus roof decks to provide the site’s “open space”.

The limit for building wood frame construction is four stories. This could conceivably be wood frame on top of a poured concrete podium level encompassing the garage. But hybrid buildings like that are rare, presumably for a reason. The proposed building would be between the Z6 condo (four stories, wood) and an approved-but-not-yet-constructed town-house development on Rochester:

I talked to several people in the know, and some developers, including developers of high rises and low rises, and no one thinks the building is economically feasible. The concrete, the elevator, the small number of units to absorb the costs … the most kind comment I got was that it would be “surprising if it were viable”. The other comments would bruise tender feelings.

It is always possible that the owner is proposing something without knowing his costs. But surely his planners and architect would be alerting him to the risks.

Of course, there may be an entirely different agenda afloat. All that follows is pure speculation, but here goes:

  • the site is small and innocuous, unlikely to draw a close look
  • the proposed building may strike some as so unlikely to get built, why worry about the rezoning
  • but the planners are the big guns, Fotenn, who also represent Fanto, developer of the nearby UNO townhouses
  • and the architects are the same ones who designed UNO townhouses, an approved development at the corner of Rochester and Balsam (left, in the streetscape pic above)
  • and the Fanto application originally was for a 7 and 9 storey apartment buildings that was turned down by the city amidst much objection that the area was to remain low rise intensification
  • the UNO project has, rumour tells me, run into an underground plume of chemical pollution that may necessitate very expensive remediation, including reconstructing part of Rochester Street. I’ve heard the number $1.25 million tossed about
  • and said large additional expense may make a town-house development unviable.

So, if a creative and cynical person [who shall remain nameless] strings it all together, this is what I get:

The developers of a town-house project need to increase revenue, which means more units, which means apartments. But having already been turned down for a rezoning to apartments … they need to demonstrate that things have changed and a rezoning is warranted. The site is already in close proximity to two zoning anomalies, the 18 storey senior’s tower at Rochester/Balsam/Gladstone, and a 1950′s 7 storey apartment on the street behind the site. The recently constructed Z6 condo on Balsam/Booth is four stories, but rezoning permitted five (it proved uneconomic to build five, so a floor was lopped out to make it four).

If Council were to approve yet another apartment, say an innocuous little five storey infill at 13 Balsam, then it becomes that much harder to argue that rezoning the UNO site for apartments, say 7 or 9 stories,  is not appropriate or compatible, surrounded as it would be by other high buildings or permissions. In this scenario, 13 Balsam doesn’t have to be build-able, just permitted.

Of course, from a community perspective, preserving some low-rise areas within the city is important. A good liveable city has a balance of low, mid, and high rise zones. But from a developers perspective, rezoning can resurrect a project, restoring lost profits, or create larger profits than otherwise permitted.

As if the above conspiracy theory isn’t enough, there are other forces at work nearby.

If I was a land owner on the north side of the Queensway, seeing the Bayview Carling CDP is heading for massive upzoning on the south side, and that said CDP is next going to focus on the neighbourhood on the north side of the Queensway,  I would be wondering if it would be prudent to develop my lot for town-houses or hold on for a bit in the hope of getting apartment zoning.

There are other develop-able sites in the immediate area too, on which town-house proposals seem to be going forward very slowly.

Of course, all this might be the product of an over-wrought imagination afflicted with paranoia, and some developer virgin really will shock the established development industry by building an economical five storey micro-boutique building. ‘Tis the Christmas season, after all, banishing the forces of Darkness, and all.

 

The Dark-side condo shower

Back in October, the City hired George Dark to conduct a “charette” – a planning exercise for the Otrain corridor and neighborhood along Preston, south of the Queensway.

As related here previously, the charette charade seemed little more than an exercise in bombarding the neighbourhood with high rises. Mr Dark presided over a large plan of the neighbourhood,  chummily accompanied by the city’s leading developers and their agents, raining down Styrofoam cut-outs of high rise apartment buildings. (http://www.westsideaction.com/charettes-or-is-it-charades-on-the-west-side/)

The local community association is holding a public meeting of upset residents in the area. The poster below pretty accurately captures their feelings.

Less obvious is the sense of betrayal, that the community went along with the first phases of the CDP (for seven long years !) agreeing to high rises on the vacant lands, former industrial lands, along the OTrain corridor. In return, there was a steep down gradient in the height zoning to the edge of the EXISTING low rise communities.

The main worry was how to ensure the City didn’t back out of the zoning agreement once developers said “if he can get 40 stories over there, why can’t I ??” That of course, was never answered.

But no one expected the City to step in before the CDP was finished, import an out-of-town “expert”, deus ex machina,  to radically change the course of the CDP at the last minute.

The community association is still playing ball, though, trying to insist that the City stop ad hoc rezoning in favour of waiting until the CDP is done. But isn’t the writing on the wall? The City wants high rises. Lots of them. And it has promised to honour CDP’s.

Ergo, CDP’s will now be directed to permit lots of high rises.

In accord with the City’s previous slights-of-hand, such as on the new Centretown CDP, the area will remain zoned one thing ( low rise), and the big squares on the planning maps will continue to identify the area as “low rise”. Except the fine print will say low rise permits 20 story buildings. There, everybody happy?

This project fits the City’s new definition of low rise in the Bayview-Carling CDP. And remember, blocks and blocks of residential streets will have this zoning:

You can read more about this particular project in a previous post.  (www.westsideaction.com/95-101-norman-street-blockbusting-begins/)

Condomania on Carling: Domicile joins in

Domicile has a proposal winding its way through the bureaucratic maze at City Hall. It’s for a 18 storey condo building on Rochester Street, between the Queensway and Carling Avenue, near Dow’s Lake.

Here’s what the street looks like now:

Domicile owns the lot running from Pamilla Street and Rochester (the intersection in the foreground) all along Rochester to the red brick wall of a 3 1/2 storey low rise.  Domicile already has permission to demolish the elderly house in the middle .

Here’s an aerial view of the lot set within the south Dalhousie neighborhood:

The Queensway runs east-west across the top of the picture, and Carling Avenue across the bottom. The big black office tower is the Feds, the Logan building housing NRCan. Preston Square, the popular mixed-use development on Preston, is shown at the top centre-left. Domicile’s lot is just to the left of the Logan black tower, outlined in red. We can zoom in to see it up closer:

Notice the long, low building running parallel to the left side of Domicile’s lot. This is Barry Hobin’s office building, running all the way through from Pamilla to Norman Street. It was so prescient of him to buy a few years ago before the land rush.

The lot is currently zoned for 14.5m, or 5 stories. But that isn’t a hindrance.  Domicile is proposing a 18 storey building. It would have 132 condos, 3 “townhouses” facing Pamilla, 113 parking spaces for residents, and another 25 for guests. There would be 1453 sq ft of commercial space facing Rochester, enough for one large or two small storefronts.

Here are two street level views of the proposed tower. It is a big change from Domicile’s usual buildings, which are dominated by brick exterior walls punctuated with individual windows. This appears to be an “all glass” tower. Hobin is the architect. Ottawa Hydro contributes those third-world-ish wooden poles holding up electrical wires. They add character to the ‘hood.

 

The building is quite severely stepped back in a saw-tooth pattern from the southeast corner to the southwest corner. This exterior pattern is more expensive to build than a square building.  I’ve been trying to figure out if this is done to maximize views, but I do notice it lets lots of light onto the lot next door. Which is owned by Domicile’s architect, Barry Hobin. If and when Hobin retires, and develops his lot into another 18 storey tower, it will offer him significant benefit, opening up vistas and letting light in. If I were building on Domicile’s lot, I would give long thought to potential conflict of interest in letting the guy next door design my building, but then I’m probably too cynical and paranoid to boot.

Here’s the street view from Pamilla Street. In the left pic, that Volkswagen is parked in front of Hobin’s building site, with Domicile’s stepped back façade behind. I notice the Domicile building has a projecting flat roof on the top floor, something Hobin also put on the midrise recently constructed by Thiberge on Richmond Road a few doors east of Island Park. *

 

Here are some aerial and perspective views from different angles. The first is a flat elevation:

Rather more interesting is this one, that adds in several approved or proposed buildings:

Starting from the OTrain on the left in the above pic, notice the diagonal placement of the Arnon towers (positioned that way until the City decides it doesn’t need his front corner for the OTrain or LRT). The artist shows great restraint in putting only two towers on the Dow Motors lot, since there is room (going along the tracks) for at least four. Claridge’s 42-storey Icon tower is shown at the corner of Preston and Carling. This building is getting a redesign, see tomorrows story.

A third building has appeared on the Arnon block that currently holds two mid-rise red-brick office towers (shown in blue) designed by Alistair Ross. I vaguely recall that he had original planning permission for three towers on this site. The front lawns along Carling that belong to the feds are shown holding a parade of towers.

Moving down Rochester, there is an unknown tower, and then Domicile’s proposed tower. In the background, the giant parking lot and former trucking terminal belonging to Arnon, immediately south of the Sakto complex at 333 Preston (Xerox, Adobe, et al) is shown with two towers. I am aware that Arnon is talking to the city about what to put there, including a large retail presence, maybe someone’s grocery empire.

All of the above anticipated towers are roughly in accord of what I know of the City’s thinking on its Carling-Bayview CDP, and certainly also in the mindset of George Dark, who recently held a planning event in the neighbourhood that saw a veritable meteorite shower of high buildings impact onto the neighbourhood.

Most curiously though, is the 18 storey high rise put right on Preston, at Norman. If my memory serves me right, this is currently a large lot holding a two storey office building including the Bank of Nova Scotia. Hmm. Isn’t Sketch-up wonderful?

Finally, here’s a Photo-shopped view from the Arboretum cycle path along Dows Lake. In this view, the forest of condo towers has been thinned down to just Domicile, Claridge, and Mastercraft-Starwood.

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* for a closer up view of the baseball bill on a condo, see http://www.westsideaction.com/look-up-way-way-up-jerome/