A massive mixed-use, masterplanned community in Scarborough is one step closer to reality, after developers and the City of Toronto came to a settlement this week.
“After 4.5 long years of visioning, planning, designing, redesigning, and negotiating, we are proud to say we have reached a settlement with the City of Toronto for our Scarborough Junction Masterplan,” Matthew Young, President and CEO of Republic Developments wrote in a LinkedIn post. “This is an incredible opportunity to reshape South Scarborough and set the gold standard in masterplan design in Canada.”
Bordered by St. Clair Avenue East, Danforth Road, Kennedy Road, and a rail corridor, the triangular block of land is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, but is currently occupied by a number of warehouses, commercial buildings, and parking lots, as well as the MLS Arena.
Historical uses of the 10.62-hectare site, which includes 3569, 3577, and 3585-3595 St. Clair Avenue East, 636-646 and 641-663 Danforth Road, and 411 and 415 Kennedy Road, have resulted in contamination, but the lands will be “reimagined and reclaimed as a clean, healthy, and vibrant neighbourhood.”
"This is a really incredible opportunity. We've had our fingerprint on every component of this masterplan to ensure that it was designed for the future and that it would enhance the community — not just the one we were building, but the surrounding area, too," Young told STOREYS. "We knew with this opportunity we could rewrite the story of Scarborough."
Scarborough Junction will be transformed with 10 new development blocks and two new public parks, criss-crossed with pedestrian pathways, cycling networks, and public squares.
The plan includes 14 towers ranging in height from 19 to 58 storeys — a reduction from the 17 towers included in the original application. The tallest towers will surround a new central park, which will serve as the heart of the community, and lower structures will be situated along St. Clair.
Imagined by architects Giannone Petricone Associates, the towers’ design will be varied, with differing materials and silhouettes creating a "distinct skyline," the spacing of which allows for open views of the sky, and better access to sunlight, the developers say. Brick podiums make for a residential feel despite the sleek glass towers they support.
"Of all the projects I've worked on in my career, I've never worked on one that was so universally supported [by the community]," Young told STOREYS.
"The overwhelming majority of people were very supportive of this. I think the reason for that was because we weren't taking anything away that they really loved or that they felt close to, they just saw the things that we were adding and that they felt were going to improve their lives, improve the community, and improve the neighbourhood."
A Scarborough native himself, Young's roots helped put residents at ease that the project would be overseen by someone who knew, and would respect, the area. Scarborough Junction was actually the first deal Republic made as a company.
The number of housing units rose from 6,619 in 2020 to 7,391 in 2022. The final number of new homes at Scarborough Junction will be 7,655, more than 200 of which will be classed as affordable.
Per the latest development application, the majority of units will be one-bedrooms, at 4,659. Another 1,647 units will be two-bedrooms, 701 will be three-bedrooms, and 384 will be studio units.
Over 200,000 sq. ft of retail space, approximately five acres of new parkland, and a new GO Station have been planned for the site, alongside a playground, a flexible sports court, a daycare, and possibly a new community centre, too.
There will be 3,478 vehicle parking spaces to accommodate residents, visitors, and shoppers, as well as 6,326 bicycle parking spots. In addition to the GO connection at its doorstep, Scarborough Junction benefits from convenient access to the TTC and Crosstown LRT, making it amongst Toronto’s most well-connected communities, and positioning it for growth.
The inclusion of the new GO station puts the project on a "critical path," as its delivery hinges on Metrolinx's electrification of the rail line. Young's goal is to spend 2024 advancing necessary site and subdivision plans before moving towards the marketing of condos and rental buildings, with construction ideally beginning in late 2025.
"For a long period of time Scarborough has had a bit of a PR problem. But that can be fixed," Young said. "I understand Scarborough. I understand that is really incredible. To me, it's some of the best real estate in the city."