Redevelopment at Roncesvalles and Howard Park to Preserve Heritage Bank

A proposal by Propeller Developments at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue has been modified at the Site Plan Approval stage followed zoning approval from the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The original application was submitted to the City in 2014, seeking permission for a 7-storey commercial building, subsequently revised as a 6-storey building, and recently approved at 5 storeys.

Location of 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLocation of 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

Around the site is low and mid-rise buildings, with the typical early 1900s buildings in the area two or three storeys high, with single family or semi-detached homes on side streets, with retail and restaurants lining the major streets. Recent redevelopment in the area—mostly condominiums with retail at grade—have been mid-rises. Yesterday we covered construction updates on one such mid-rise, The Roncy, kitty corner across Roncesvalles and Howard Park to the northwest. 

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking south to 421 Roncesvalles Ave, Initial 7-storey proposal from 2014, designed by superkül for Propeller Development

The site at the southeast corner has an area of 446.4 m² with frontages of 12.2 m along Roncesvalles Ave and 36.5 m along Howard Park Avenue. It is home to a John Lyle-designed, 1914-built, 2-storey, heritage-designated former Dominion Bank branch which fronts onto Roncesvalles. A single story section and a surface parking area is located on the eastern portion of the lot. The building currently houses the offices of NAK Design Strategies, who are handling the landscape architecture work on the redevelopment. 

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking southeast to 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, 6-storey version from 2016, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

Each version of the building has been designed by superkül. The current—and theoretically final—design of the proposal (see three images down) is 25.55 metres-tall including the mechanical penthouse, and has a gross floor area (GFA) of 1,765 m², which is comprised of 1,472 m² (83.4%) of office space, and 293 m² (16.6%) of retail. The new build—which is meant to keep the heritage building prominent and to not compete with it—is clad in blue-tinted capless curtain wall and stepped back 3.5 metres from the Roncesvalles Avenue wall, and one metre from the Howard Park Avenue wall. The glass will have bird-friendly markings up to 12 metres as per guidelines to prevent bird-strike. 

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking southeast to 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, 5-storey version from 2019, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

With ERA Architects handling the heritage preservation aspects of the design, the two-storey portion of the Dominion Bank building would be restored and used as the base of the new building. The ground floor would have a restaurant in the former bank branch facing Roncesvalles, and a retail shop facing Howard Park to the east. The lobby for the four office floors above will be located facing Howard Park between the restaurant and the retail unit in a recessed, glass-fronted space. The portion with the retail unit will be clad in bricks reminiscent of the non-heritage single-storey section which is being replaced.

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking southeast to 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, early 2020 version, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

While parking is available to the current building at the east end of the lot, the proposal will extend the building to the rear public laneway, removing the parking lot and 2 curb cuts, with there being no replacement parking provided. This was accepted in the zoning approval due to the site’s proximity to transit, its location in a pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood, and its proximity existing public parking nearby.

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking southeast to 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, December 2020 version, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

The building will have bicycle parking facilities for both visitors to and occupants of the building, with the ground level near the entrance proposed to have 10 short-term bicycle parking spaces, and 28 long-term bicycle parking storage spaces proposed in a dedicated room in the basement, accessible by elevator from the building’s entrance.

421 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, designed by superkül for Propeller DevelopmentsLooking southwest to 421 Roncesvalles Avenue, December 2020 version, designed by superkül for Propeller Developments

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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