Building more mid-rise housing is one of the potential solutions being talked about to help ease our housing supply challenges in the GTA.
Mid-rise usually refers to buildings of up to 11 storeys, which can readily fit into the main streets in existing neighbourhoods without overpowering the lower density typically found on the surrounding streets.
In 2010, the City of Toronto released “The Avenues and Mid-Rise Buildings Study,” which called for more growth along arterial corridors known as “The Avenues,” and gentle intensification in the form of mid-rise buildings that would be compatible with the adjacent neighbourhoods.
Unfortunately the City has not done what is necessary to enable the development community to readily deliver the mid-rise buildings of the study. The City’s planning department has not taken the critical next steps to update zoning bylaws in support of mid-rise development. Also, our industry has repeatedly asked for more pre-designation and pre-zoning of land to encourage more such development, and it has yet to happen.
Even though it is not easy, the industry is finding ways to deliver mid-rise housing options. According to Altus Group, our official source for new home market intelligence, of the new condo apartment projects that were launched in the GTA between 2014 and 2016, 39 percent were in buildings of nine storeys or less. In Toronto, 25 per cent of the new condominium apartment buildings were under 10 floors, while 61 per cent of those in 905 municipalities were.
A few of the numerous GTA mid-rise developments by our members include PACE on Main by Geranium, which is currently under construction in Stouffville, and Triumph a seven-storey mid-rise in the heart the old village of Schomberg which SigNature Communities brought to the market with great success.
Insoho Developments is a Toronto based BILD member who been constructing mid-rise buildings for years. The loft conversion of The Malthouse at the Distillery District is one of Insoho’s signature developments, featuring 10 unique units that exemplify the building form. Insoho is now selling Imagine, at Kennedy Rd. and St. Clair Ave. E., which features striking contemporary architecture along one of the city’s designated main streets.
Last year, we changed many of the categories in our annual BILD Awards program to better reflect our members’ work in mid-rise. VANDYK Group of Companies was recognized in the new category for Best Mid-Rise Building Design for its The Craftsman Condominium Residences in Mississauga’s Clarkson Village.
This year’s shortlist in the category range from luxury boutique developments to a project featuring a variety of housing units including some priced for first-time buyers. All located in Toronto, the four finalists are Marlin Spring for Canvas, Stafford Homes Ltd for Avenue & Park, The Rockport Group for George Condos + Towns, and the Residences of the Hunt Club.
The winner, plus those in 50 other categories, will be announced at BILD Awards on April 28.