SmartCentres REIT Introducing First Phase of Golden Mile Redevelopment
In Toronto’s east end along Eglinton Avenue East, the Golden Mile area of Scarborough is to be transformed from a collection of expansive industrial parks and big-box shopping centres into an urban, mixed-use community. SmartCentres REIT is one of the many developers working to help realize the City’s Golden Mile Secondary Plan—which sets a guiding vision for development in the area—with the coming redevelopment of their 29-acre property at 1900 Eglinton East. The site (bounded by Eglinton Avenue to the south, Hakimi Avenue to the east, and Ashtonbee Road to the north) is to be flanked by two of the upcoming Crosstown LRT stops at Pharmacy and Hakimi Lebovic.
Site of 1900 Eglinton East, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT
The proposed development—to be developed under SmartCentres’ residential sub-brand SmartLiving—is being planned as a pair of towers forming a gateway to future phases of the property’s master plan. Located at the southwest corner of the wider redevelopment site, the proposed first phase of towers will rise from a 2.02-acre plot that fronts directly along Eglinton, a site currently occupied by a single-storey bank branch and surface parking.
Plans for this proposed development recently advanced with a resubmission of their Zoning By-Law Amendment application, with updated designs by architects—Alliance for the pair of condominium towers, a 40-storey west tower and 38-storey east tower containing a respective 461 and 438 condominium units. The towers will be anchored by a new private pedestrian mews on the east and a combined 1,219 m² of retail space on the south. The towers’ ground floors will also feature lobby and amenity spaces that face out onto a central 524 m² public plaza.
Renderings of the towers have been generating attention, with a design defined by a checkerboard of perforated and textured metal mesh-enclosed balconies. The screened balcony treatment will work towards both form and function, creating a distinctive skyline presence while adding privacy for residents and contributing to the towers’ sustainability and energy ratings.
Looking northeast across Eglinton Avenue to 1900 Eglinton East, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT
The buildings will establish an initial infusion of residential density and open park space plus walkable retail in the area, which will continue to further energize the existing open-air shopping centre, with an existing 380,000 ft² of commercial leasable area on the property—currently operating at nearly 99% occupancy. In the long term, all buildings will be redeveloped with a mix of low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise buildings with opportunities for street-related commercial, residential uses, parks and open spaces, as well as a new public/private road system.
Looking northwest to public plaza at 1900 Eglinton East, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT
The proposed change to the area is another example of SmartCentres’ publicly announced Project 512, to transform their properties “From Shopping Centres to City Centres,” to create vibrant, complete mixed-use communities. In this case, aligning with the City’s vision outlined for the area to intensify the Golden Mile. The project is an important move towards the Golden Mile area transitioning into a more modern, healthy, and successful pedestrian and transit-friendly neighbourhood, with the wider area revitalization’s introduction of higher-density uses vital to the success of the Eglinton LRT.