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Toronto is getting an entirely new neighbourhood with condos and a movie studio

Blog TO

Published July 2022

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View original Blog TO article here.

The imminent closure and relocation of Bombardier's aircraft manufacturing and operations facility at Downsview Airport is opening up even more of the former military base for another round of development.

Parcels of land previously sold off to developers have resulted in some painfully bland townhome communities at the south edge of Downsview Park, but something special is in the works for the 41.4 hectares (102 acres) of land between the Park Commons and the Ancaster neighbourhood.

With the final aircraft set to use Downsview's runway in 2023, developer Northcrest has been engaging the city, community, Indigenous rights holders, and others since last year, working towards a massive mixed-use community that will feature a combination of new spaces supporting live, work, and play.

It will be just one element in Northcrest's redevelopment of the broader 370-acre Downsview site, a long-term project set to transform the old air base over the next 30 years.

The initial community known as Taxiway West, named for the taxiway connecting the existing hangars and runway, is projected to contain approximately 274,000 square metres, or 2.95 million square feet, of non-residential space that will support over 7,500 direct jobs.

Among the major employment drivers in the pipeline for this community is the 93,000 square-metre Future Film Studio Campus, which is expected to generate over 9,000 jobs.

Like most new developments proposed in Toronto, a driving force behind this plan is the always lucrative residential real estate, with Taxiway West expected to contain 2,850 units supporting almost 5,000 residents.

Condos will only make up a portion of the residential component, which is planned to contain a mix of townhomes and mid-rise buildings across rental (including affordable) and ownership units.

New buildings in the community will boast low-carbon designs that are expected to rank Taxiway West among the city's greenest and eco-friendly neighbourhoods.

This would be accomplished using a range of techniques, including passive design and sustainable, low-carbon energy sources, while the adaptive reuse of existing buildings on site for new community-oriented purposes would cut down on demolition waste.

All of the new employment and residential uses would be supported by approximately 2.74 hectares (6.77 acres) of open space, the majority proposed as public parkland.

And that only factors in new-build public space, as the community will be connected to the massive Downsview Park via a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over a GO rail corridor carving through the Downsview lands.

The community will be split into a pair of sub-districts, with the 18.9-hectare/46.7-acre north sub-district consisting of the film campus and the 22.4 hectares/55.3-acre south sub-district will be home to a mix of uses including all of the proposed residential units.

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