While countless offices remain closed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and condos throughout the city sit vacant as more residents trade their city views for the suburbs, a Toronto developer has revealed plans to build Canada Square -- a sprawling mixed-use complex for five office and condo skyscrapers in midtown.

On Monday, Oxford Properties submitted a Rezoning application to City planners seeking to redevelop an existing 9.2-acre site with a 3 million square foot mixed-use masterplan.

Located at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue -- known as 2200 Yonge Street -- the proposal will deliver five mixed-use towers with over 650,000 square feet of new office space, street-related retail, thousands of new homes, new community amenities and landscaped open spaces, improved transit infrastructure, and a dedicated community space, in multiple phases.

“Our phased approach to development seeks to navigate the site challenges to deliver a compelling public realm, new amenities and exciting experiences at each stage of the project," says Mark Cote, Head of Development, Canada, Oxford Properties.

Cote noted that the pandemic has "vividly" demonstrated the need for greater outdoor space in Toronto's urban centres. "Our proposal for Canada Square, where approximately half of the site is dedicated to open space, puts it at the heart of this development."

Andrew O’Neil, Vice President, Development at Oxford Properties told Toronto Storeys the first phase of the project -- which is expected to take between 4-5 years to complete -- could start construction after the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project is finished (expected fall 2022).

READ: Oxford Properties Unveils $2 Million Public Art Installation in Toronto

According to the application, the development is comprised of 2,701 residential units having a residential gross floor area of 216,162.40 square metres, 60,704 square metres of non-residential GFA, approximately 1,000 square metres of community space, and approximately 2 hectares (50% of the site) of open space.

“The rezoning application marks an exciting milestone for the redevelopment plan and builds on the stakeholder engagement process that Oxford initiated back in 2017,” said O’Neil.

“Through continued collaboration with stakeholder groups including the local community, the City of Toronto and transit agencies, we believe our masterplan proposal will deliver significant community benefits and unlock the potential of this technically complex, transit-connected site in the heart of midtown Toronto."

If approved, the development would bring much-needed modern workspace, new housing -- which is planned to be predominantly rental -- transit infrastructure improvements, and create substantial new landscaped open space including new parkland.

To bring the project to life, Oxford has created an award-winning team for the master plan, including an architectural design team led by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Hariri Pontarini Architects, with Adamson Associates Architects on board as Executive Architect, and OJB Landscape Architecture will set the vision for the significant new open space and public realm.

Canada Square Aerial view of existing Canada Square site.

The development plans envision a phased implementation strategy and a series of three precincts with distinct but complementary identities that integrate with the surrounding context.

A mixed-use precinct will anchor the north side of the site featuring an elegant tower that will accommodate 650,000 square feet of contemporary office space and approximately 420 residential units.

Located directly above the Eglinton interchange station for the TTC’s Line 1 subway and Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and planned as the first phase of the redevelopment, this precinct will also accommodate transit improvements including a new TTC bus terminal that integrates with the existing subway concourse. At street level, the public realm will be transformed with a new public plaza that leads from the intersection to a new landscaped open space immediately south of the mixed-use tower.

Canada Square Current view of Yonge and Eglinton

A second precinct will be located on the south side of the site and feature four residential towers including street-related retail and office space for community professional services, such as medical and dental uses.

The buildings are configured with heights scaling down to the south and west, with terracing to provide appropriate height transition to the surrounding residential neighbourhoods. The buildings in the residential precinct will also overlook the new parkland proposed along Duplex Avenue.

The central precinct will feature generous amounts of open space and serves to transition the north-south grade changes across the site while also providing a new accessible east-west route linking Yonge Street and Duplex Avenue.

Finally, a new 10,000 square foot proposed community space will be prominently located in the central precinct, with the potential to accommodate a daycare centre, recreation space or other community services.

“We believe it takes a developer with Oxford’s experience and a collaborative approach with stakeholders to create the most community and social value from one of the most important sites in Midtown,” says Cote.

“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the community, the Councillor’s office and stakeholder groups to ensure the project meets the evolving needs of Yonge and Eglinton and the wider Midtown Community,” Cote added.

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