Cityzen and Greybrook Advance Designers Walk Plan

A vibrant, verdant, mixed-use development is poised to replace ‘Designers Walk’—the 30-year centrepiece of the local interior design industry—in the The Annex’s north end. In December, Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners advanced the Site Plan Approval (SPA) process with its latest iteration for a 22-storey tree-covered condominium and retail development. UrbanToronto covered the original December, 2019 SPA submission, and revisited the project’s evolution over the past eight years.

Designers Walk, Toronto, designed by BBB Architects for Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners.Rendering: looking north at the building’s south elevation along Davenport Road. Image by BBB Architects.

The northwest corner of Davenport Road and Bedford Road currently consists of a low-rise house, commercial building, and ‘Designers Walk’, a cluster of design showrooms and studios contained within five buildings – all of which would be demolished.

Designed by BBB Architects, the proposed comprehensive site redevelopment seeks to reinforce the central role this institution plays through iconic architecture and public realm improvements. While the proposal is weighted to residential—it brings 100 residential dwellings to the neighbourhood—contemporary showrooms and retail space for design-related uses are envisioned at the first floor.

Designers Walk, Toronto, designed by BBB Architects for Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners.Rendering of earlier design/previous plan – submission 2019. Image by BBB Architects.

Since the December, 2019 SPA submission, the design team has focused on fulfilling the conditions of the Interim Order issued by the LPAT in June, 2019 in order to bring the zoning by-laws into force. A final order was issued on December 2, 2020.

There are no major changes to the built form since the original application. The list below compares key development statistics between the December, 2020 SPA Re-submission and the December, 2019 SPA Submission:

  • Height (incl MPH) increased to 81m (from 79m)
  • Density reduced to 10.4 FSI (from 10.6 FSI)
  • Residential GFA increased to 21,797 m² (from 20,337 m²)
  • Non-Residential GFA decreased to 1,098 m² (from 2,802 m²)
  • Total GFA reduced to 22,895 m² (from 23,333 m²)
  • Unit count increased to 100 (from 92)
  • Outdoor amenity space reduced to 203 m²(from 267 m²)
  • Indoor amenity space increased to 435 m² (from 194 m²)
  • Vehicular parking reduced to 210 (from 212) in five levels of underground parking

Designers Walk, Toronto, designed by BBB Architects for Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners.Rendering: looking northwest at the intersection of Davenport and Bedford. Image by BBB Architects.

Whereas the original proposal included two levels of retail space, the revised proposal only includes ground floor retail. The reduction is a response to uncertainty around the future demand for retail space. The second level now accommodates a significantly larger indoor amenity space (previously located at the third level), guest suites, the property management office, and additional residential units. The amenity club provides three adjacent outdoor amenity areas (previously split between the third level and podium roof), including two terraces and a dog run and relief area. The podium roof no longer accommodates common outdoor amenity space, but instead provides additional green roof and private residential outdoor space.

Designers Walk, Toronto, designed by BBB Architects for Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners.Rendering looking west along Davenport. Image by BBB Architects.

The building’s architectural treatment, with its stepped massing, central opening at grade, and exuberant vertical landscaping, represents a significant departure from the conventional Toronto tall building. In particular, the ‘Vertical Forest’ should position the building as a landmark and contribute significantly to the identity and character of the area. Each floor is wrapped with stepped outdoor terraces or balconies featuring significant green space and vegetation/with extensive vegetation and plantings. The submission includes extensive landscape drawings and details prepared by the landscape consultant, The Planning Partnership. (Also a ‘Vertical Forest Inspection and Maintenance Manual’ prepared by Vineland Research & Innovation Centre)

Of the total 100 residences, the breakdown includes 6 one-bedrooms, 86 two-bedrooms, and 8 three-bedroom suites. The average size for the 2-bedrooms is 197 m², and the average size of three-bedrooms is 308 m².

Designers Walk, Toronto, designed by BBB Architects for Cityzen Development Group and Greybrook Realty Partners.Roof Plan. The building’s form is a response to the ‘boomerang’ lot shape that results from the curving alignment of Davenport Road Image by BBB Architects.

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you’d like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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