Mel Lastman Square could soon enough see a new view across Yonge Street, if a newly-submitted proposal to revamp 5051-5061 Yonge Street is approved.

Submitted by Urban Strategies Inc. on behalf of FCHT Holdings (Ontario) Corporation, the proposition says it will "transform an underutilized site located in North York Centre," presenting a 42-storey, mixed-use development as a solution to the address' improvement.

Including office space, residential uses, and active retail uses at-grade, the proposal states the site's redevelopment would present several community benefits to North York Centre, and the City of Toronto at large.

These virtues include: the delivery of a mix of uses and transit-supportive densities in an urban growth centre; the increased supply of contemporary office space; public realm and streetscape improvements; and design excellence, contributing to the overall vision for both North York Centre and the Yonge Street Corridor.

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Located just north of the Yonge and Sheppard intersection, 5051-5061 Yonge Street's direct surroundings are lively; offices, retail, community centres, residential areas and parks are all just a short jaunt from the address in any direction.

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"The Proposed Development represents good planning," reads the proposal submitted to the City. "The Proposed Development is: compatible with surrounding uses; better supports the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and City of Toronto Official Plan for the area than the current Secondary Plan and zoning regulations; is complimentary to the neighbouring built-form; and responds to municipal and provincial policy direction for the Site and surrounding area."

Consisting of a 42-storey (135 metre, excluding mechanical) mixed-use building, the site's transformation would integrate with the surrounding context, with respect to both built and planned structures. The first six storeys would serve non-residential uses, including grade-related retail running along Yonge Street between Hillcrest and Elmwood avenues.

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A total of 11,104 square-metres are proposed for non-residential use, including 750 square-metres of retail space and 10,354 square-metres of office space -- the latter of which, the proposal says, amounts to approximately 9% of the needs for North York Centre to meet its office space needs to 2041. Where spacial details are concerned, a "flexible floorplan has been integrated," which serves to accommodate a variety of non-residential uses and office configurations.

"Despite the supply of office space in North York Centre, the demand for this space is limited," the proposal documents read.

"Altus Group Economic Consulting demonstrates that the share of both total employment and office based employment in North York Centre has been on a downward trend over the past 10 years. The office market in North York has experienced limited demand for new office supply over the past 10 years, with the majority of new office supply in the Toronto North sub market occurring in the City of Vaughan."

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The documents explain the proposition for a mixed-use development as being a response to -- and integration of -- the reality that already exists in the surrounding area.

"The total net employment in North York Centre fell by 1,610 jobs (4.4%) between 2011 and 2018, an average loss of 230 jobs per year. Office based employment in North York Centre also fell by 2,820 jobs (9.3%) over the same period, an average loss of 403 office based jobs per year," the planning documents say.

"In fact the February 2020 report by Altus Group concluded that 'the office market in North Yonge is anticipated to be heading to a state of gross oversupply over the forecast period. It is estimated that by 2036 there will continue to be an excess supply of approximately 116,128 square metres (1.25 million square feet), and approximately 78,595 square metres (846,000 square feet) in 2046.'"

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It's with consideration to the fact that excess office space really isn't needed in the neighbourhood that the proposal presents a residential tower as poised to top the structure. Including a total of approximately 350 dwelling units, the structure is poised to offer 227 one-bedrooms (65%), 106 two-bedrooms (30%) and 17 three-bedrooms (5%). This segment of the tower's floor plate is 750 square-metres, and unit sizes would range from 47 to 80 square-metres.

What's more, the development would provide a total of 528 square-metres of indoor amenity space, and 724 square-metres of outdoor amenity space, located on the seventh floor. The seventh floor will also feature 391 square-metres of green roof.

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While the approval process has yet to be undergone, the proposal lends itself to imagining how the development would (or will) ultimately present itself: a place to work, live, and play... with a major emphasis on the "live" and "play" parts.

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