Haven Developments has submitted an Official Plan and Zoning By Law Amendment application to the City of Toronto proposing an infill redevelopment surrounding the Westin Prince Hotel at 900 York Mills Road. Located in North York, the site is adjacent to parkland, with the Ontario Association of Architects headquarters just across the Don River, and the 401 beyond to the north. The plan proposes to demolish two surface parking lots and a free-standing restaurant building in favour of several new additions designed by Quadrangle Architects: a 10-storey hotel, two above-grade parking garages, two residential mixed-use towers with heights of 26 and 32 storeys, an 8-storey office building, and a new public park.
Westin Prince Hotel Intensification Infill Re-Development Site Rendering by Quadrangle Architects.
A Natural Heritage Impact Study was developed by Beacon Environment Limited because a portion of the property falls within the City’s Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law 838-2002, and the related City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 658, Ravine Protection. Because most of the existing site is hard-paved surface, the study reported that the re-development would have a similar ecological effect to what currently exists. Although, 114 of 277 existing trees will be removed to which the Study recommends “compensation for removal of trees consistent with the City of Toronto Ravine Protection By-law.” Additionally, a combination of green roofs and white reflective roofs have been designed for the new additions in compliance with Toronto’s Green Standard.
Westin Prince Hotel Intensification Infill Re-Development, Site Rendering looking Southwest by Quadrangle Architects.
The building that will remain during this intensification re-development, however, is the Westin Prince Hotel, completed in 1974 by Ron Thom in conjunction with Reno C. Negrin Associates for the Japanese-owned Prince Hotel chain. It is currently listed on the City’s Heritage Register, which prompted a Heritage Impact Statement created by ERA Architects for the application to the city. ERA suggests that the re-development could help “modernize the property” to maintain the viability of the heritage building as a hotel and conference facility, but recommended “rehabilitation” for the existing building, and contemporary materials for the additions to make them “distinguishable from the heritage fabric.”
Westin Prince Hotel Intensification Infill Re-Development, Site Axonometric by Quadrangle Architects.
A potentially controversial aspect of the application is the two above-grade parking garages, one at 5-storeys tall and the other at 6-storeys tall—referred to as Building A and Building D on the diagram above. Building A would be located in the top north section of the site, adjacent to three existing low-rise buildings and a sports field. Building D is proposed for the heart of the site amongst the Westin Prince hotel, the new 26-storey residential tower, and the new 8-storey office tower. In the Heritage Impact Statement, ERA Architects recommended “exploring design measures to screen the above-grade parking structures” to ensure that the program of the building can’t be seen when viewed from the Westin Prince hotel and the nearby David Duncan House at 125 Moatfield Drive (an adjacent heritage property).
View from nearby office tower looking south onto Westin Prince Re-Development Site. Photo courtesy of AlbertC.
The parking garages are more discreet from from nearby major thoroughfares and the heritage Duncan House, and would be not as apparent as the forward-facing office tower and residential tower, which sit proudly along York Mills Road.
Westin Prince Hotel Intensification Infill Re-Development, Rendering of Ground Floor Retail by Quadrangle Architects.
Commercial retail units are proposed for the ground floor of Building D and the office tower. This will likely be a convenient supplement to the nearby strip-malls at Liberty Plaza and 861 York Mills for both new residents of the development and for hotel guests.
The application was submitted on October 30. The City has 180 days to respond as the Zoning By-Law Amendment application was accompanied by an Official Plan Amendment application. After that time should the City not have rendered a decision, the developer cool appeal to the OMB. As the proposal circulates and evolves through the planning process, we will keep you updated as new information becomes available. In the meantime, you can find more renderings in our database file for the development, linked below. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the space provided on this page, or join the discussion in our associated Forum thread.