A landmark mixed-use project in an affluent part of Toronto will involve redeveloping a retail space most recently occupied by a Staples store. Proposed to replace it includes a stunning luxury condominium apartment building that will feature commercial space at its base.
A proposed 13-storey residential building with 66 condominium apartment units at 1140 Yonge Street will include three luxury townhouses facing Marlborough Avenue. It will be built above the facade of a commercial space that was originally constructed as a showroom for luxury automobile maker Pierce-Arrow.
Devron and Constantine Enterprises Inc. partnered to develop the property, and Audax Architecture and ERA Architects Inc. are behind the design, including the new tower and the restoration of the facade to its original state.
The vision for 1140 Yonge’s commercial podium, according to the developers, is to serve as a “front porch” for the Summerhill and Rosedale communities. A restaurant space is proposed at street-level with high, arched windows — a patio space on Marlborough Avenue will create a transition from Yonge Street to the adjacent low-rise neighbourhood. The goal is to reanimate the streetscape and provide a more vibrant pedestrian experience compared to the current big-box store format that has operated for years.
The developers say that 1140 Yonge will be “one of the most iconic buildings in the city, at one of the most iconic intersections in the city; one that will celebrate and enrich the property’s heritage, reach for the highest sustainability standards”. It will become the first Passive House condominium in Toronto.
The architecture of the residential building will be inspired by the heritage facade at its base. A stone facade will create a sense of prominence and prestige for the building which would feature apartment condominium units ranging from one-bedroom and spanning about 1,000 square feet to two massive penthouses at the top of the building.
Across the street is a unique retail property referred to as the ‘Five Thieves’, featuring several upscale businesses in restored heritage buildings. A block north is a stunning LCBO store that was once a train station.
The project is a good sign for the area. Prices for the condominium units are expected to be in the millions of dollars. Other nearby projects with pricey units further solidify the desirability of the area which also includes neighbourhoods with substantial houses and townhomes. The historic and wealthy Rosedale neighbourhood is located on the east side of Yonge Street while the upscale Summerhill neighbourhood spans westward.
The Pierce-Arrow showroom was built at 1140 Yonge Street in 1930 and the retail space remained operational until the Pierce-Arrow brand was discontinued in 1938.
The building’s history is interesting. After being used as a showroom for luxury vehicles, 1140 Yonge Street became a warehouse after World War II until it was acquired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1954. TV shows produced here include North America’s longest running television quiz show, Front Page Challenge (1957-1995), the Wayne and Shuster Show, the Tommy Hunter Show, and children’s TV show Mr. Dressup, among others. The CBC made alterations to the exterior of the building to facilitate filming. In 1991 after CBC relocated to a single downtown production facility, retailer ‘The Business Depot’ moved into the space that was later rebranded as Staples.
Part of the existing Staples store building is being marketed for lease for up to a two-year term. The southern half of the former store, spanning about 8,000 square feet on one level, features 35-foot ceilings facing Yonge Street and a 14-foot ceiling further in. A total of 20 parking spaces are available, as well as a loading dock. The northern half of the existing building will become a sales centre for the proposed condominium building. The south retail space is being marketed by brokerage DWSV under the direction of David Wedemire, Stan Vyriotes ,and Vanessa Lynch.