With the news that a sprawling 100-acre revitalization is taking place just south of the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, many investors are wondering if this is the next up-and-coming neighbourhood to invest in. Could it shape north Toronto? Could it make this sleepy pocket that boasts great subway access a major destination for residents from all over?
Based on the size of this development, we decided to compare it to Toronto’s Regent Park revitalization, which is credited with transforming much of downtown’s east end.
Spearheaded by the Daniels Corporation, the Regent Park project revitalized a crumbling, post-war housing development with high-crime rates and a lack of community resources, into a modern, mixed-income community. Now one of downtown Toronto’s most popular communities, the transformation has added residential space, retail and state-of-the-art community facilities. It’s received numerous awards in the process, including BILD’s Community of the Year and Best International Neighbourhood Renewal Program from the International Journal of Neighbourhood Renewal.
With Regent Park’s transformation well underway, we’re now looking towards North York’s own version of this successful regeneration: the Lawrence Heights Revitalization. Lawrence Heights, the neighbourhood immediately south and west of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, currently shares many features with the former version of Regent Park; both low-income housing developments created in the 1950’s, disconnected from their urban surroundings, with little walkability or public realm appeal.
Now developers Context and Metropia have turned their attention to this challenged North York community, which, despite its shortcomings, also boasts excellent access to subway stations, major arteries, not to mention the upscale shopping hub of Yorkdale. Their master-plan has much in common with the successful Regent Park revitalization. Both projects involve partnerships with Toronto Community Housing and aim to create mixed-use, mixed income neighbourhoods that replace existing subsidized housing and add new market-rate housing. Both plan for added retail and office space, along with new parks, trees, community centres and gathering spaces.
Let’s break down these two communities by the numbers, shall we?
|Regent Park||Lawrence Heights|
|Region: Downtown Toronto||Region: North York|
|Size of development: 70 acres||Size of development: 100 acres|
|Borders : Parliament Street to the West, Gerrard Street to the North, River Street to the East, and Shuter Street to the South.||Borders : Dufferin Street to the West, Highway 401 to the North, Bathurst Street to the East, and Lawrence Avenue West to the South.|
|Number of homes expected to be added to the community: 7,410
||Number of homes expected to be added to the community: 5,300
|Jobs expected to be added to the community: 1,100||Jobs expected to be added to the community: 5,600|
|Developer: The Daniels Corporation||Developer: Metropia|
|Community resources added as part of development:
||Community resources added as part of development:
|Transit Access: Two 24-hour streetcars run east/west through the site. It’s a short drive to the Don Valley Parkway.||Transit Access: Both Yorkdale and Lawrence subway stations border the site, along with regional bus routes on Dufferin, Lawrence and Bathurst. It’s a short drive to the Allen Expressway and Highway 401.|