If all goes to plan, a proposed Etobicoke development could one day tower over the surrounding neighbourhood at Islington Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West.

A 26-storey mixed-use building with an attention-commanding design could breathe new life into an uninspiring stretch of land that formerly housed a produce warehouse destroyed in a fire in 2013 and has sat vacant, aside from surface parking, ever since.

But its arrival would also come with the destruction of the Sidh Shakti Babaji Mandir temple on Islington Avenue – an move that will surely give the surrounding community something to talk about. With its bold, what some may call innovative, “Jenga-block design,” the proposed development will quickly become the impossible-to-miss focal point in a neighbourhood of homes and low-rise buildings.

Located at 210 Islington Avenue and 99 Birmingham Street, the Taheri Development Inc. project would house 352 dwelling units with retail uses at-grade, with a separate residential lobby area. A total of 1,000 sq. m will be devoted to retail use, with a total of six commercial spaces. Meanwhile, the residential component of the building will contain a total of 352 dwelling units, comprised of studio (54), one-bedroom (201), two-bedroom (58), and three-bedroom (39) unit sizes.

Residents will enjoy 704 sq. m of indoor amenity space and 786.5 sq. m of outdoor amenity space. The second floor will feature a 128.2 sq. m amenity area along the north face of the building. Meanwhile, the seventh floor will offer 583.4 sq. m of indoor amenity space near the centre of the building. According to plans, this will connect with a 786.5 sq. m outdoor amenity area on the rooftop of the base of the building.

210 Islington Avenue and 99 Birmingham StreetTaheri Development Inc.

The development will offer 147 vehicular parking spaces contained within three underground parking levels and 265 bicycle parking spaces. There will be 20 publicly accessible bicycle parking spaces, five residential (short-term) bicycle parking spaces, and 240 residential (long-term) bicycle parking spaces, all located on the building’s ground and first underground levels.

Designed to prioritize the pedestrian and cyclist – with cars taking a backseat in the equation – the building will sit close to the upcoming Waterfront LRT, which will bring higher-order transit along Lake Shore Blvd. Cyclists will enjoy cycling lanes along Birmingham Street.

Conveniently located, with a handful of key retail and community services in the immediate vicinity, residents of the upcoming development will have easy daily access to grocery shopping, dining out, and childcare.

Not only will the development bring shiny new retail to the neighbourhood, it will also add 10 new trees along the street, as well as benches and community space.

Of course, this may be no consolation to worshipers at the Sidh Shakti Babaji Mandir temple. In a neighbourhood still scarred from the fire and in desperate need of both retail and housing, however, many would argue that – while unfortunate – the demolition of the temple is a sign of the times and our current prioritization of smart density creation.

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