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Development on the way above subway stations

(Posted Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2007)

By Kris Scheuer

The city and TTC have six subway stations in mind for potential development.

The priority list includes the Eglinton, Sheppard, Downsview and Islington subway stations, as well as the Davisville TTC yard and the north commuter parking lot at Warden.

While not all of the sites will necessarily be developed, some could be underway “fairly shortly,” Domenic Garisto, TTC manager of property development, said on Jan. 24.

Part of the reason the TTC is considering development at subway stations is that Toronto’s Official Plan calls for intensification around transit routes.

“We were to get an additional 500,000 people by the year 2030,” explains TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

That growth projection, made in 2000, was expected to take place over 30 years. Since then an additional 250,000 have already made Toronto home, he said, so the city needs to meet the demand.

The TTC formed a new committee in December to focus on real estate development. It was to meet for the first time on Jan. 25. It replaces an existing one that included TTC and city staff because “we needed to move faster and harder” on development, says TTC vice chair Joe Mihevc.

There has not much interest in building new commercial structures in the past few years, but that may be changing now, says Mihevc.

The subway station at Yonge and Eglinton is on city-owned land. The city will be seeking a developer to build on the southeast block, between Yonge St. and Duplex and Eglinton Ave. and Berwick.

“That will go out for tender to developers in the next few months,” Mihevc said.

A focus review group made up of city staff and members of the community has spent the past five years developing a planning document for the Yonge and Eglinton site, including the TTC lands and the site across the street on the northeast corner.

That process is now complete and city planners are writing a report to be released in the spring. The new document will result in revisions to the existing Yonge and Eglinton secondary plan, which governs planning for a large section of the city.

St. Paul’s Councillor Michael Walker says he will call a public meeting to present the plan to the greater community when the report is released.

The planning document will have hard caps on the heights of any future buildings that will be developed at the TTC lands at Yonge and Eglinton.

Walker explains that the city is essentially selling air rights only, up to a certain height, and any developer who leases or buys those rights will not be entitled to build anything above what the city proposes.

At the Davisville subway site, there are “a couple of potentials” for development above the rail lands, said Giambrone.

The TTC would retain the rail lands where its subway cars are parked, so a developer would be required to construct a “deck” over the yard and build above it.




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