145 st george street toronto

Toronto apartment tower could be demolished to build a haven designed for cyclists

A paradise for cyclists could soon replace an existing apartment tower in Toronto's The Annex neighbourhood.

A planning application from developer Tenblock seeks to bring a 28-storey residential tower to 145 St. George Street, a site currently occupied by an existing 12-storey apartment tower.

Known as the Prince Arthur Apartments, the current building — home to 130 units — was constructed in 1959, part of an initial wave of dense, modernist development that swept across the city during the postwar years.

Plans call for the current apartment building to be torn down and replaced with a new tower designed by Architects–Alliance that would add a distinct presence to the neighbourhood skyline.

The proposal stems from an earlier submission filed in May 2021. Just shy of two years after landing on the desks of city planners, a new plan has been tabled, incorporating several major revisions.

145 st george street toronto

Aerial view facing east over 145 St. George Street. Rendering by Architects–Alliance.

The updated proposal responds to feedback from city planners, perhaps most notably introducing a mix of market-rate units and affordable rentals, while offering the right to return for residents of the existing apartment tower.

Other changes include revisions to the design that reduce shadow impact on Taddle Creek Park, expressed through a pitched roofline that doubles as a height transition from the taller buildings along Bloor Street.

The building would include 142 rental replacement units for residents of the current tower who would be displaced, along with 256 new affordable rental and market-rate units, for a total of almost 300 homes — more than double what exists on the site today.

One of the project's biggest updates comes in the form of its cycling-specific amenities.

A previously proposed parking component has been almost entirely eliminated, and the current plan proposes just five short-term vehicle parking spaces with electric chargers at grade, including a pair of car-share spaces.

Removal of parking is estimated to increase construction speed and the delivery of much-needed affordable rentals by three months, made possible by the recent elimination of city-mandated parking minimums.

This move also supports the project's environmental goals of reducing carbon emissions from construction and operating emissions from car trips.

In addition, it provided the project team with a unique opportunity to go all in on cycling infrastructure and amenities.

145 st george street toronto

A network of connected cycling amenities and infrastructure, designed by architects MJMA, will be housed in the tower's basement and offer facilities for a range of bicycle types, including cargo and e-bikes.

145 st george street toronto

Ramp for cyclists leading into the project's basement. Rendering by MJMA.

Plans include a dedicated bike ramp, maintenance and washing stations, charging stations, equipment lockers, and other facilities designed to promote and support cycling.

145 st george street toronto

Shops will offer cyclists a place to get their rides tuned up and repaired. Rendering by MJMA.

Almost 480 bicycle parking spaces will be included in the development, meaning these amenities would likely see plenty of use from residents.

145 st george street toronto

A dedicated bike wash station. Rendering by MJMA.

Most visible in this bike-forward plan will be a new retail space at street level, proposed to house a 'Bike Café,' which the project team states will offer "bicycle repair, sales, and light food and a venue to support casual and organized cycling culture and events."

145 st george street toronto

Podium and public realm at 145 St. George Street. Rendering by Architects–Alliance.

Further supporting this plan to create a cyclist haven, a Toronto Bike Share station will be added to the corner of St. George St and Prince Arthur Ave, while new landscaping will bridge the public realm onto the property with features like a public water fountain and street furniture.

All of this cycling infrastructure will allow the project to decrease annual emissions by 40 per cent compared to the initial proposal for the site, and reach carbon-positive status more than four years faster than first proposed.

Lead photo by

Architects–Alliance/IQ Vision

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