Over the last several years, an increasing number of development applications have emerged along Kingston Road in Scarborough — the latest proposal may be its most forward-thinking yet.

Located near the intersection of Kingston Road and Eglinton Avenue East, developer TAS is proposing a 20-storey purpose-built rental building at 3730 Kingston Road. Currently occupied by a strip plaza, an initial application for the site was filed in 2021 by the previous owner for a 14-storey mid-rise building. TAS acquired the site in 2022, bringing architects SvN on board to completely reimagine the project.

Despite the 6-storey increase, no additional density was added to the site and the overall unit count for the development decreased from 435 to 384 units. “Although our proposal is taller, it maintains the same amount of density as the previous planning application, but is more environmentally sustainable and cost efficient.”, said Mark Chemij, Director of Development at TAS, “This allows us to deliver community benefits like affordable housing, our with improved sustainability targets and community benefits.”.

Image Credit: SvN / Office ISO

We also asked Chemij about the significance building a purpose-built rental building at 3730 Kingston Road, versus a traditional condominium. “The decision to build a rental building was based on a combination of both market opportunity and TAS’s impact objectives. Scarborough Village currently contains rental apartment towers but much of the existing rental stock is older, and we see our development as an opportunity to provide some much needed rental housing with modern suites and amenity offerings. From an impact perspective there is more opportunity to reduce operational carbon from a rental building compared to a condo, so moving forward with a rental makes it easier to tackle climate change which is one of our impact objectives. A rental building also allows TAS to provide affordable rental units to the area, which also falls under our impact objective of broadening affordability.“.

Image Credit: SvN / Office ISO

Urbanize Toronto spoke with Dennis Rijkhoff, Senior Associate at SvN, to share more details about the design of the project. “We’ve really tried to bring a forward-thinking approach to how a high-rise design can fit into Toronto’s evolving inner-suburbs.”, said Rijkhoff. Many developments proposed in the Kingston Road area have been mid-rise buildings, in order to better ‘fit’ within the existing character of the neighbourhood. While often looked at as ‘gentle-density’, mid-rise buildings typically allocate the majority of their floor area to residential units, leaving residents with small balconies to call their backyard, which presents challenges for fostering a sense of community within the building.

The transition between mid-rise and high-rises was really about trying to make best use of the site. There’s lot of pressure on developers to add density to sites, because land is so expensive. So to make a development work, you need to add density, but the challenge becomes how do you shape this density? How do you make best use of it and make it appropriate for the site and neighbourhood.”. — Dennis Rijkhoff

Rendering of shared courtyard within 3730 Kingston Rd.Image Credit: SvN / Office ISO

One of the projects standout features is a shared courtyard within the building, described as an outdoor extension of the residents’ homes. Designing the development as a high-rise tower allowed SvN to stack units vertically, opening up space for the feature. “This change in typology was really about changing the shape (of the building) so that we could use the space on site in a better way. We don’t just live in our apartments in a building, we live in our neighbourhoods, and that’s primarily shaped by the streets and the outdoor spaces.”, said Rijkhoff, emphasizing, “It’s not about height, it’s about how you engage with the rest of the city. For this site, mid-rise didn’t allow us to engage with the city in the right way, it felt too dense, so (the tower) freed up enough space on the site that allowed us to create a better building overall.”.

Image Credit: SvN / Office ISO

The area surrounding 3730 Kingston Road is expected to change considerably over the coming years, with nearby development proposals and the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

As the area transitions from a low-density car-oriented suburb to a transit-oriented neighbourhood, we will likely see more redevelopment occurring in the area, particularly on sites with large amounts of surface parking which are under-utilized.”, said Chemij, commenting on the future growth and potential that TAS sees for the neighbourhood.