high tech toc richmond hill

A new skyline with dozens of towers as tall as 80 storeys is being planned near Toronto

Any time transit gets built in the Greater Toronto Area, whether in the form of light rail or subway, development always follows.

Like the flurry of new buildings reshaping Eglinton in advance of the Crosstown LRT, the upcoming Yonge North Subway Extension is already attracting some significant changes for the roughly eight-kilometre stretch it will serve.

At the line's north end in the Richmond Hill Centre area, a station at High Tech Road could eventually be surrounded by a new skyline that would replace vast seas of big-box retail and surrounding surface parking.

A high-intensity downtown built around transit rather than the car.

high tech toc richmond hill

The high-density community is planned around direct subway access into Toronto, but other nearby transit links will connect commuters to the surrounding region.

Located on an over 17-hectare site around the future High Tech Station — to be built east of Yonge Street and north of Highway 7 — the planned cluster of development is the product of the province's 2020 Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) initiative.

The provincial government announced that it would be advancing two TOCs along the Yonge North Subway Extension back in September, and details about one of the pair of TOCs, the planned High Tech Station community, are now coming into focus.

high tech toc richmond hill

The tallest towers would be positioned closer to the station, forming a tapered skyline around the planned High Tech Station.

Renderings reveal BDP Quadrangle-designed concept plans for dozens of new office, retail, and residential towers, some as high as 80 storeys tall, that would bring approximately 21,000 new units, including affordable housing, and more than 8,200 new jobs to the area.

high tech toc richmond hill

Increased pedestrian activity would be encouraged through a generous public realm.

All of this new housing and commercial space would be supported by a whopping 46K square metres of parkland, which accounts for almost 27 per cent of the entire site area.

high tech toc richmond hill

Public space would occupy over one-quarter of the site's footprint.

These public spaces would include a linear park spanning the entire length of High Tech Station, along with a revitalization of the greenspace below the existing hydro corridor that runs east-west across the site.

high tech toc richmond hill

Transit would form the core of the community, but suburban car dependency could clash with the plan's urban design.

On top of the High Tech station, the community will also be connected to regional services, including the existing Langstaff GO Station/GO Bus Service, VIVA Rapid Transit, and York Region Transit routes. The nearby Bridge subway station and a future 407 Transitway will add even more connections to the south in years to come.

While this large-scale master-planned community has the potential to bring plenty of housing and job opportunities to Richmond Hill, earlier TOCs proposed in partnership with the provincial government have been a source of controversy, fueling accusations that the Ford PCs are paying it forward to their donors in the development industry.

And it looks like this one might generate more whispers, if not flat-out accusations of cronyism.

The application is tied to a trio of companies including Yonge Bayview Holdings Inc. A quick search reveals that this company is linked to the DeGasperis family, a Toronto-area development empire with alleged ties to the Ford government.

Photos by

BDP Quadrangle

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