The Kilmer Brownfield Equity Fund acquired this former service station in the east end of downtown Toronto at the gateway to The Beach neighbourhood. The site (1/3 acre) is located on two major public transit corridors (the Queen Street East streetcar line and the Woodbine Avenue bus), providing excellent connectivity to the downtown core and to the Bloor/Danforth subway. The site is well situated, given its prominent location and its proximity to Toronto's beaches and trails along the shores of Lake Ontario, as well as its close proximity to the variety of retail and service commercial businesses on Queen Street East.
This stretch of Queen Street East has undergone various mid-rise mixed-use redevelopments in recent years, including the redevelopment of the former Woodbine Racetrack southwest of the site, and other residential condominiums ranging from 4- to 6-storeys with retail uses at grade along Queen Street East. An historic fire hall and its iconic clock tower located east of the site is widely viewed as a landmark in The Beach, reflected by its being listed as a heritage building.
Kilmer submitted a rezoning application to permit the development of a 6-storey residential condominium building (approximately 70 residential units), with commercial uses at-grade, two levels of underground parking (including 19 commercial parking spaces) and a green roof. The proposed building is consistent with the existing neighbourhood character and will complement other recently approved and constructed mid-rise buildings in the area while maintaining appropriate views to the fire hall. Redevelopment of the site will significantly improve the streetscape and pedestrian realm on both Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue, support existing infrastructure including public transit, and provide surplus parking that may be utilized by the community.
Kilmer was able to address the residual environmental liability concerns of the previous land owner, a major oil company. The site's previous use as a service station since the late 1960s created petroleum hydrocarbon impacts to the subsurface soils and groundwater.
The remedial plan includes the removal of all sources of petroleum hydrocarbons from the former service station (petroleum storage and distribution facilities, already completed by Kilmer). The removal of remaining impacted soil and groundwater will be coordinated with the construction of the underground parking structure. The requirement to install a parking structure beneath the footprint of the new building will provide an appropriate barrier between the subsurface and any occupied building space.
Kilmer also placed a specialized environmental insurance policy to provide supplemental assurance and support for the site redevelopment.
As an interim use of this former service station, Kilmer was proud to support ArtCity, a non-profit organization committed to providing art programs to children and youth in downtown Toronto. Through an after-school program, ArtCity created vibrant panels depicting the local beach environment to adorn hoarding along the two street frontages of the site, which will likely remain in place for several years for the public to enjoy.
In addition, ArtCity facilitated workshops with children of the local public elementary school, Kew Beach Primary School, to create decorated wooden birds, which were affixed to the mural.
Above: Location of the property at the northeast corner of Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue.
Above: Former service station and retail building at the northeast corner of Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue.
Above: Removal of underground infrastructure associated with the former service station.
Above: Mural and wooden birds attached to hoarding along Queen and Woodbine frontages, created collaboratively by children at ArtCity and students at Kew Beach Primary School.