Plans for the redevelopment of a block on the east side of Downtown Toronto with several years of planning history have evolved again. What was previously a single development has become two after the lot was severed by ONE Properties and its eastern half sold to Tricon Residential. New renderings of both proposals hint at what we can expect when plans are ultimately translated into reality.
Perspective rendering looking southeast to 245 Queen Street East, image via submission to the City of Toronto
The site is located in Toronto’s Moss Park area on the south side of Queen Street East and east of McFarrens Lane, initially an assembly of all of the properties continuing east to Ontario Street and south to Richmond Street East.
Looking northwest to the proposal for the eastern half of the original lot, image via submission to the City of Toronto
The site first saw a development proposal in 2016, in the form of a dramatic three tower scheme designed by Arquitectonica with a total of 1,645 residential units. But with heights of up to 45 storeys (160 metres), in a neighbourhood characterized by low- and mid-rise development, the scheme was rejected by City Planning, while the Design Review Panel (DRP) voted unanimously for a redesign, citing an unsatisfactory heritage strategy among other issues.
Looking northwest to the original 2016 three-tower proposal, image via submission to the City of Toronto
After the 2017 announcement that a relief-line station would likely be built steps away at Queen and Sherbourne, the proposal was resubmitted with the three tower heights increased to 47, 52 and 56 storeys (at 174, 188, and 201 metres respectively) and the number of residential units jumping to 1,820. A 150 room hotel was also added. To address the concerns of the DRP, a greater number of heritage facades were retained as part of the updated plan.
Looking northwest to the taller three-tower proposal from 2017, image via submission to the City of Toronto
Owing to a lack of a decision on the part of the City, in early 2018 the application was appealed to the OMB. Planning for the site, however continued to evolve, and in mid-2018 a completely redesigned project was presented to a community workshop. Once again, heritage retention was increased, although this time building heights were reduced, to a maximum of 37 storeys (128 m). In another major change, a new 1,400 m² public park was now proposed for the middle of the site, fronting onto Queen Street.
A 2018 massing proposal for 245 Queen Street East, image via submission to the City of Toronto
In August, 2018 a settlement was agreed to between the developers and the City and ratified by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT, now called the Ontario Land Tribunal). In the settled scheme, the park shifted south to Richmond Street, with the massing shifted north towards Queen Street. The building heights were slightly reduced again, with a new peak height of 33 storeys (113 m).
In 2019 we got our first detailed glimpse of how the new massing would look in reality with a rendering of tower A, on the site’s western half.
A rendering of the 2019 proposal for 245 Queen Street East, before the lot was severed, image via submission to the City of Toronto
In May of 2021 the lot was split, and the eastern half sold to Tricon. The western half, still owned by ONE, will proceed along the lines laid down in 2019. Meanwhile, on the eastern half, towers B and C are moving in a slightly different direction.
Site plan with new site details following severing, image via submission to the City of Toronto
Although the site has been split into two, the proposed development of Tower A remains similar to the 2019 proposal. Graziani + Corazza Architects have taken over as project architects: recent renderings show their design for what will be a 25 storey-tall tower with 446 residential units (including 35% two-bedroom and 16% three-bedroom units).
Perspective rendering looking northwest to 261 Queen Street East, image via submission to the City of Toronto
Rendered perspective of the 245 Queen Street East facade, image via submission to the City of Toronto
On the eastern portion of the original site things have changed more substantially. The new Hariri Pontarini-designed scheme for Tricon includes 824 rental units, bringing the total to 1,270 units between the two developments. With a new architect comes a completely new design, helping to differentiate it from its next-door neighbour. It also includes a landscape plan by Claude Cormier + Associates.
Looking southwest to the proposal for the eastern half of the original lot, image via submission to the City of Toronto
Looking east to the proposal for the eastern half of the original lot, image via submission to the City of Toronto
With both proposals fitting within the guidelines established under the 2018 agreement, the plans are now in a position to move forward.
You can learn more from our Database files for the projects, linked below. If you’d like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
* * *
UrbanToronto has a new way you can track projects through the planning process on a daily basis. Sign up for a free trial of our New Development Insider here.