One project that we are currently working on is the Shops on Steeles, a proposed mixed-use project in Markham at the North East corner of Don Mills and Steeles.
Shops on Steeles. Mixed Use Development. Steeles Avenue East & Don Mills Road, Markham, ON.
The property is right on the border of the town of Markham and the city of Toronto bordered by Don Mills Road, Steeles Avenue and Highway 404. The site is an underused commercial property like many others – with a retail mall and restaurant pads, surrounded by big parking lots.
The developer, Bayview Summit, would like to improve the mall and believes that they can justify these improvements by intensifying the use of land to create a bigger market that would shop there.
Our plan – which includes consolidating all the retail to create room for high density residential on the site achieves many objectives by enhancing the commercial floor area, adding population that will support the commercial activities, redefining the public realm with new street front buildings and uses, hiding the majority of parking in decks or below grade, providing an alternative and affordable housing to the neighbourhood, with the end result being a sustainable mixed-use precinct in an existing community that provides necessary intensification. High-rise, high-density wasn’t needed in the past, but now it is.
Shops on Steeles
It’s important, in my opinion, to redesign many of our suburban retail plazas so that space is maximized with residential buildings,engaging street fronts and green areas. This replaces the vast grey parking lots with lively, bustling communities.
Most people in downtown Toronto live in neighbourhoods that lie just behind retail areas, not directly on top of them. The idea with Shops on Steeles is to let people live in a residential community that has its own park, close enough so that they can walk over to the commercial area.
Shops on Steeles
Planners tend to think of ‘mixed-use’ as a vertically stacked built form like our Hullmark Centre, where the residential sits directly on top of the commercial. But I’d say that our plan for Shops on Steeles is also mixed-use.
Shops on Steeles.
If we broaden our definition of what mixed-use means, we allow suburban areas to grow in diverse, organic ways and avoid repeating the same model on every block. Communities need diversity, just as they need intensification.
Shops on Steeles has been referred to the Ontario Municipal Board and will be heard in March. STAY TUNED.
Read more about mixed-use development at the website of the National Association of Homebuilders.
We are delighted to announce that our work on the Kilgour Residences has been awarded a Masonry Design Award from the Ontario Masonry Contractors’ Association.
The Kilgour Residence
We were very proud to win because we designed Kilgour to be a masonry product based on the neighbourhood in East York, where the predominant homes are red brick, in the Georgian style. These are units not for people who will re-sell, but for real people who want to live in the community, or maybe those who shift from older to newer homes in the area. They respond to a residential style that they are familiar with. This style fits in with East York’s residential architecture. It’s recognizable, identifiable and comfortable.
The Kilgour Residence
With such a high level of masonry detailing, our challenge was in finding talented masons. We needed to ensure that the contractors were properly trained, so through the Daniels Group, we ran a course on how to put masonry together. We set up a program and the masons went to school to ensure the high standard that the project required. For the course, the masons had to build examples of the details to prove that they would reach the right standard.
In the end, the building fit the neighbourhood and was extremely well received.
Our team included Daniels, Elio Dallas Construction Inc. and Sigmund Soudack & Associates Inc.
For more information on the Ontario Masonry Awards, visit their website.