Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – March 2016

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Check out our weekly news summary “Sun, Shadow & Urban Development” at  http://paper.li/SunPosition/1376522926

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Empty nests >

RT @CTVNews: Vancouver has 10,800 empty homes, mostly apartments: study

Vancouver's rate of vacant homes hasn't changed in more than a decade and is similar to many other Canadian cities, according to a new study

The effort was undertaken in response to growing public concern that vacant homes were contributing to the city's red-hot housing market and leaving many neighbourhoods devoid of inhabitants…


Very Curacao-ish >

How One Developer Is Delivering Urban Infill | via @planetizen

Urban infill is trending again. In fact, most of the housing industry's largest builders now operate urban divisions, allowing builders and customers new access to urbanized, walkable communities.

"We're seeing more demand for closer-in living and urban revitalization, as well as a general trend towards higher-density housing," observes Edward McMahon, senior resident fellow with the Urban Land Institute.

To illustrate his point, McMahon notes that eight of Denver's 13 regional shopping malls have been torn down and are being replaced by mixed-use developments. In Washington, D.C., there's a Walmart with apartments on its roof; in Vancouver, B.C., a Home Depot takes up the ground floor of a building with five stories of housing. McMahon also sees infill opportunities in lower-density corridors to replace underperforming strip malls and their large parking lots. He points specifically to Los Angeles County, where the majority of housing being built is on land that previously had been zoned commercial…


Shadow impact key issue >

LUPZ asks developers to revise plan again for 2 E. Chestnut Hill Ave | Chestnut Hill Local 

Patriot Real Estate Capital – the developer currently planning to convert the former Gallagher Dentistry Office at 2 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. into a two-unit dwelling while adding an additional two-unit structure – must revise its plans again to reduce the structure’s “shadow impact” as part of the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee’s approval motion that passed on March 3 with a 6-2 vote…

The shadow impact made by the proposed structure is minimal, Udis said. The shadow impact is most prominent during the winter solstice at the middle of the day, around 3 p.m.

Despite this, one neighbor was concerned that the shadow would encroach on her sunroom, which she said wasn’t included on the shadow-study drawings.

“In the winter it’s nice to see a little bit of sun when you’re in the sunroom,” she said. “It’s not particularly nice to sit in the shade all afternoon long.”

Udis said architects are currently trying to mitigate that problem. Although, he said, the shadows mainly come from the existing trees which they preserving. The next drawings, he said, will accurately depict the sunroom in relation to the shadow impact.

To reduce the shadow impact, Larry McEwen, co-chair of the LUPZ, asked Udis if the structure could be moved closer to the existing house while at the same time pushing its facade closer to Germantown Ave. That would reduce the setback from 10 to 6 feet, which would thus extend the backyard setback from 14 to 18 feet. This, McEwen said, would give the neighbor more room between her property line and the structure. Udis said his firm will factor in his recommendations into their next set of redesigned plans…


One of our shadow study projects >

RT Pier 27 @Pier27Tower You need to see these scale models of our tower over on @Urban_Toronto, trust us!

Tower at Pier 27, Toronto, architectsAlliance, Cityzen, Fernbrook

image via http://ow.ly/Zej9i

Cityzen Development Group and Fernbrook Homes' Pier 27 community at the foot of Yonge Street is set to grow again with the addition of the 35-storey Tower at Pier 27. Designed by architectsAlliance's Peter Clewes, the striking addition to Toronto's waterfront is represented in the project's presentation centre by a scale model that highlights the tower's exterior features…


RT CityNews Toronto @CityNews Condos throwing shade: Do downtown students have a right to light?

image via http://ow.ly/Zjy71

Canadians have the right to vote, the right to practise a religion of their choice, the right to life, liberty and physical and psychological safety.

But what about the right to light?

In the growing urban jungle, sunlight is growing increasingly sparse as more and more condominiums clog the downtown sky. Parks, playgrounds and general green spaces across the city are increasingly struggling for glimpses of the sun as buildings pop up to block it.

This is the issue facing students at the Church Street Public School.

Established in 1957 and located right in the heart of downtown at Church and Carlton streets, Church Street School has been fighting for its fair share of sunlight for years as developers with dollar signs in their eyes snap up real estate all around it.

A few years ago, a 45-storey condo was proposed for an area just south of the school, which for all intents and purposes would have blocked sunlight from the school’s playground for a good portion of the school day. City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association and a number of community members successfully fought the developer, saving the sunlight for another day.

But it’s happening again.

Another developer has eyed the property – currently a parking lot across from the old Maple Leaf Gardens – with a proposal for a condo development even taller. Once again, Wong-Tam and the CWNA are forced to roll up their sleeves to fight for the childrens’ right to light.

And where is the Toronto District School Board in all this? It’s common practice for a developer’s building proposal to include financial restitution for residents and businesses in the area that would be impacted by the erection of their structure. In the case of Church Street Public School, the payment to the TDSB is rumoured to be $1.5 million for a new playground design featuring artificial turf.

It’s not the first time a development has thrown shade on schoolkids – it’s just the most recent. Back in 2014, parents at Lord Landsdowne Public School fought a developer on College and Spadina that proposed a 22-storey building in exchange for a $1 million playground. And in 2006, the TDSB sold Jesse Ketchum Public School’s sunlight for $2 million to the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Yorkville.

Supporters of development will say that’s what happens when you live in a city – if you want sunshine and space, move to the suburbs. But that opinion is in direct opposition to the city’s goal of making Toronto’s downtown core a family-friendly environment with ample green spaces and smart environmental sustainability projects.

In England, there is a right to light law, of sorts. Basically, under the Ancient Lights law, the owner of a building with windows that have received natural daylight for 20 years or more is entitled to forbid any construction that would deprive him or her of that illumination. As recently as 2010 a court upheld an injunction against a commercial property under the Ancient Lights law.

That’s a good place to start the conversation. If a building threatens an established green space or playground that has been bathed in sunlight for 20 years or more, consultations should take place. And if it’s a school, the TDSB should be speaking on behalf of the parents, not its own financial interests.

It shouldn’t be up to schoolkids to see the light…


Checking In On Octavia's Planned Micro-Unit Apartments | via @HoodlineSF

It's been over a year since we covered plans for Parcels M and N, two narrow Octavia Boulevard-adjacent lots where two micro-unit apartment buildings are in the works. Despite the lack of visible progress, the project is still trucking along behind the scenes. Architect Douglas Burnham from envelopeA+D, which is handling the development, gave us an update.

The project was presented to the Recreation and Parks Commission last December, receiving unanimous approval despite one concern: the building on parcel M (on the corner of Fell and Octavia) will cast a "minor shadow" on Patricia's Green. This concern was dismissed after a shadow study was done, showing that it would only affect the Green on December mornings for about an hour and a half...

Burnham will be presenting the updated design at the next HVNA meeting on April 28th, in advance of a Planning Commission hearing on May 5th...


RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto The One now proposed at 304.3 m/998.1 ft and 72 storeys, in response, it seems (not 100% sure) to shadow concerns from the City.

RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto Our latest 'Growth to Watch For' explores development at the eastern edge of downtown.

This edition of our Growth to Watch For series explores development at the eastern edge of Downtown Toronto along the Church and Jarvis Street corridors between Bloor Street and The Esplanade. With redevelopment on the west side of Downtown having picked up steam earlier, a shortage of redevelop-able space there now means that large-scale projects are now coming en masse to the less dense neighbourhoods along Church and Jarvis on the east side of Downtown…


One of our shadow study projects >

RT UrbanToronto @Urban_Toronto The Stanley is coming to the corner of Church  & Carlton | @mytributehome

Stanley Condominiums, Toronto, by Tribute Communities, Core Architects

image via http://ow.ly/ZyTv0 

For the first time since 1967, Stanley is returning to the storied Church and Carlton intersection, but this time around, it'll be Tribute Communities—not the Toronto Maple Leafs—raising him up. Directly across the street from Maple Leaf Gardens, Stanley Condominiums is set to rise at the northeast corner of Church and Carlton, replacing yesterday's hockey glory with today's fast-paced condominium development. (Oh, how the city is changing).

Designed by Core Architects, the tower will join a growing high-rise cluster along the Church Street corridor north of Ryerson University. The development's 470 suites will range in size from 369 ft² to 1,070 ft², with one to three-bedroom configurations. Rising from a sleek street wall podium that integrates the building into the surrounding context—referencing the scale of Maple Leaf Gardens to the west—the tower will bring a distinctively sculpted presence to the local skyline...


RT Mike Cluett @Mike_Cluett Great article from the Champion on the proposed downtown Milton ON condo.

Milton twin tower condo plans unveilved at open house

image via http://mikecluett.ca/2016/03/downtown-milton-condo-proposal/ 

A group of numbered companies has put forward its plans for a condominium development consisting of an 18-storey west tower and 13-storey east tower with a combined 190 units on lands that front onto Mill and Main streets, west of Martin Street…

The town must approve Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments before the project is given the green light. Current zoning of the lands permits a maximum building height of four storeys.

Along with its application, the developer has submitted a variety of studies to the Town, including reports on air quality, heritage impact, noise feasibility and traffic impact. The municipality is awaiting the submission of an urban design brief, shadow impact study and tree preservation plan…


Great approach to design >

RT Flossy Commercial @FlossyComDevelo Mar 21 amazing.......the top of Salesforce Tower is tapered to minimize it's shadow impact

Burnaby outpaces Vancouver in tower development | Vancouver Sun

Burnaby is putting up a forest of highrise residential towers over the next 25 years, far outstripping anything contemplated by Vancouver. 

Targeting land around rapid transit nodes and four malls — Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds, developers have at least 106 highrise residential buildings with more than 30,000 units proposed or under construction. Of those, 47 are 40 storeys or more in height, according to data collected by a real estate expert with Colliers International. By comparison, there are 68 highrises under development in Vancouver, of which only 13 are 40 storeys or taller…


Cheers, Ralph

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