Yet another Greater Toronto Area (GTA) shopping mall will see an influx of thousands of new neighbours, thanks to the creation of a shiny new residential community.

Yesterday, Cadillac Fairview (CF) announced that its partner SHAPE would create a vibrant new community to complement the long-time shopping centre staple CF Fairview Mall (or “Fairview Mall”). CF and SHAPE announced their joint rezoning submission to the City for the first phase of a new Master Plan that anticipates a series of developments that will ultimately surround the mall. 

According to the application, the development will be divided into four separate phases will create approximately 4,700 new residential units.

The parking lands surrounding Fairview Mall will be reimagined to become a complete community that will house a mix of residential, amenity, and retail uses. There will be a range of new parks, open spaces, a combination of private and public streets, and pedestrian and cycling connections. 

The Phase 1 Proposal will replace the existing surface parking lots and driveways and a portion of a five-storey parking structure with three high-rise buildings that will house 58 storeys, 48 storeys, and 38 storeys, respectively.

Screen shot 2022 04 22 at 1Image: Cadillac Fairview

“For more than 50 years, CF Fairview Mall has been a community hub in North York, serving the evolving retail, transit, entertainment, and service needs of the local area residents and businesses,” said Wayne Barwise, Executive Vice President, Development, Cadillac Fairview. “As our longest operating shopping centre in the GTA, the Master Plan redevelopment extends our long-term vision and supports an expanding demographic seeking convenient, high-quality, and accessible residency in a dynamic, transit-connected community.” 

Consistent with Toronto’s booming trend of new transit-oriented neighbourhoods, the first phase of the development is located at the doorstep of the Don Mills TTC station, sitting on the south side of the shopping centre and fronting on to Sheppard Avenue East. This phase is approximately 1.1 million sq. ft of mixed-use development. A new pedestrian urban plaza, the “Village Green,” will occupy real estate between the TTC and the residential buildings, providing much improved pedestrian access for the entire community living, working, and shopping in the area. 

The conversion of mall parking spaces into homes marks a loud and clear departure from a prioritization of the car -- something we're seeing a lot more of as of late.

“SHAPE could not be more excited to expand into the Toronto market alongside our valued partner, Cadillac Fairview. Following our incredible success with RC at CF Richmond Centre, we’re ready to raise the bar, engage the local community and set a new standard for urban living with the complete reimagination of CF Fairview Mall,” said John Horton, President and CEO, SHAPE. 

Screen shot 2022 04 22 at 1Image: Cadillac Fairview

In the meantime, Fairview Mall is currently completing a previously announced $80M renovation and revitalization that is transforming 230,000 sq. ft of existing department store and other retail space -- including a T&T supermarket outlet -- to introduce a slew of exciting retail and restaurants and improve pedestrian access to Don Mills subway system. The anticipated renovation is set to be completed in late 2022. 

Fairview isn’t the only GTA mall set to become the site of a shiny new residential development. In November, Yorkdale Shopping Centre announced it would add apartments to its designer-filled real estate. Oxford Properties Group said it would add apartment buildings to the sprawling mall, which is regarded as the most valuable shopping centre in Canada. That’s not all: Oxford has plans to add homes to two other malls in the GTA; Square One Mall and Scarborough Town Centre. 

At a time when prime land around existing transit stations is scarce and residential supply is needed, the eyes of developers have turned to the city’s shopping centres and their valuable real estate as a solution. Whether the new developments are enough to bring people back into the physical shopping mall will remain to be seen.

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