CAPITOL THEATRE: 2490-2514 Yonge Street, 10-12 Castlefield Avenue, and portions of 20 Castlefield Avenue and 567 Duplex Avenue
The development is at the site of the heritage-designated Capitol Theatre Building. Located directly behind the north end of the site, at 2512R Yonge Street, is the heritage designated First North Toronto School (1850) which has been used as the Orange Hall for nearly a century.
In June 2018 Madison Homes submitted a redevelopment proposal that included both the Capitol Theatre Property, adjacent retail building to the north and the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) Lot at the rear. This concept proposed a 21-storey tower at Yonge and Castlefield. The TPA lot had previously been identified by City Planning as the location of a future park.
The plans were re-submitted in July 2019, for a 14-storey building. The revised proposal excluded the TPA lot at the rear. LPRO sent a letter create new link in place of this to the Councillor and City Planner on August 13, 2019, listing key concerns regarding the height, heritage, and shadow impacts of the proposal.
A Community Consultation meeting was held in September 2019 and attended by approximately 50 people. The issues raised at the meeting included: building height, heritage preservation, the proposed future park, parking, infrastructure capacity and conformity with the Midtown in Focus Plan.
The development was on the Agenda for the North York Community Council (NYCC) meeting of January 8, 2020, but the item was deferred to March 12, 2020, so that issues regarding a TPA land exchange and the heritage designation could first be resolved. LPRO sent a letter to NYCC on January 6, 2020 again asking for changes to the building including to prevent shadowing over the future park.
The City Planning Report recommended approving the building and designating the TPA Lot to a “Parks and Open Space” Area to secure it as a future park. LPRO presented at the March 12, 2020 NYCC Meeting to raise concerns over the 14 storey building height at the back overlooking a future park, looming over two sides of the abutting one storey heritage listed first school in North Toronto, and setting a precedent for more 14+ storey buildings on Yonge Street. NYCC approved the City Planning report and the application was subsequently approved by City Council at its May 28, 2020 meeting.
The final proposal approved by City Council is 14-storeys and 50.4m tall. The upper storeys would terrace back from Yonge Street and the north portion of the building will be 9 storeys. The building will include 150 residential units and 1,403m2 of retail. An underground garage with 191 parking spaces will have access from Castlefield Avenue. The façade and marquee of the historic Capitol Theatre building will be retained. In addition in October 2021 Toronto City Council approved an Official Plan Amendment changing the permitted land use on the Castlefield Parking Lot site from “Neighbourhoods” to “Parks and Open Space.” This will allow for the creation of a park, something which was envisioned through the Midtown Parks and Public Realm Plan in 2018. The park will be up to 3,700 m2 (40,000 sq. ft.) in size, which is more than 7 times the size of the nearby St. Clements Parkette.
250 LAWRENCE AVE. W. (Former Lawrence Medical Building)
LPRO, South Armour Heights Residents’ Association, Upper Avenue Community Association, Bedford Park Residents Organization and residents of the Bedford Glen neighbourhood and Rosewell Ave, along with many others in the community, raised the funds to hire a lawyer and planner to defend the community’s interests at the OMB/LPAT hearing which commenced in May 2018.
Though the OMB/LPAT did not rule in favour of the City and residents’ organizations, LPRO and the other residents groups’ involvement and strong opposition directly impacted the developers’ plans. This included a reduction in height from 11-storeys to 9-storeys with a greater setback from the ravine, 159 units versus 264, a public parkland dedication and pathways leading to the ravine. LPAT also ruled that a Site Plan Working Group composed of local residents must be struck to be involved in the next stages of planning. LPRO took part in this committee which resulted in further refinements to the plan.
Since the LPAT ruling, the developer has agreed to construct the onsite parkland dedication (as opposed to the City) at 219 Glengarry Avenue. Demolition of the property at 219 Glengarry Avenue has concluded and it is expected that the construction of the park will occur within the same timeframe as the construction of the condominium building.