Site of former slaughterhouse, the Destructor could be Toronto’s next It spot

Real estate developer TAS filed an updated proposal with the City of Toronto last month to redevelop the vast site at 2 Tecumseth Street, where the former municipal abattoir (or slaughterhouse) and the Wellington Destructor garbage incinerator are located. The abattoir stopped operating in 2014, while the Wellington Destructor—which was built in the 1920s—shut down in the 1990s.

The plan is to develop this 1.98-hectare site into “the Yards”—a distinct, mixed-use, community-driven neighbourhood set to become a landmark destination. The updated proposal is designed by Giannone Petricone Associates for TAS and Woodbourne Canada Management, Inc.

TAS acquired the site in 2016 and submitted its initial proposal to the City in 2017. The most recent proposal was submitted in mid-May and contains further updates.

“2 Tecumseth is uniquely situated at the convergence of King West, Fort York, Liberty Village and Niagara-Tecumseth neighbourhoods,” said Isaiah John, director, development for TAS in the city development application. “Proclaimed as a confluence of ecological, urban, and industrial history, the new community was inspired by the surrounding neighbourhood, a landscape defined by the buried Garrison Creek, the decommissioned Abattoir building and smokestack, and the historic Wellington Destructor.”

The latest submission includes 39-storey (Building A), 11-storey (Building B), and 31-storey (Building C) mixed-use towers on top of a parking structure and a concourse level, which will also be built-out in phases. A total of 1,217 residential units are proposed (up from 1054 units in the previous proposal), spanning nearly 82,000 square metres of residential space, while the retail component will consist of 3,364 square metres of gross floor area across the ground level in all three buildings, in addition to a portion of the concourse level.

The plan seems to prioritize pedestrians rather than cars—pick-up/drop-off activities for the 31-storey tower will occur along the newly upgraded Tecumseth Street, and there’ll be a central pick-up/drop-off service for the 39-storey and 11-storey towers next to these buildings (near a laneway).

The Yards project includes the historic Wellington Destructor

The laneway between Tecumseth Street and Wellington Street West will be wider and resurfaced so trucks can load inside of the buildings without blocking other areas. Vehicles will be led directly underground as soon as they enter the parking ramp from the northwest side. A multi-use trail will be situated along the site’s southern boundary, which should help connect pedestrians to public spaces and make it easier for people to move around.

The site will also pay tribute to existing heritage buildings—the existing smoke stack will be kept and prominently featured  in the new landscape design, while the lower podium of the 31-storey tower will reflect the slaughterhouse that once occupied the site.

The unique landscape design will weave through the existing Wellington Destructor, another historical structure on the site and extend to the planned park at 801 Wellington St West, incorporating materials salvaged from the former slaughterhouse building, which will giving the materials a second life while contributing to the ambience of the environment.

The complex will be built on top of a shared, two-level underground parking garage, providing parking spaces for 444 cars and 1,315 bicycle spaces.

The proposal is targeting Tier 2 of the Toronto Green Standard, Version 3, which “will include a district heating and cooling plant and geothermal system to optimize energy performance and reduce the developments long-term impact on the environment,” according to the development application.

Beyond this, the project is also targeting The Canada Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building design standard, focusing on zero-carbon building standards.

“TAS is committed to ensuring that the project contributes to best practices, responsible growth, and positive change within our industry, and we are excited to be working with a team who share our passion to deliver on these goals.”