Toronto developer wants to plop a 10-storey tower above this area’s oldest apartment

An application to build a 10-storey residential building above an existing 4-storey residential heritage apartment building in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood has been submitted to the city by real estate developer ProWinko.

The proposal site is located at 41-45 Spadina Road on the southeast corner of Spadina Road and Lowther Avenue, spanning a total of approximately 1,700 square metres. The heritage building nestled at the site is Spadina Gardens — it is considered the Annex’s oldest apartment as it was built in the early 20th century. The complex fronts Spadina Road and features paved parking, a circulation area to the rear of the building, landscaping along the street frontages, intricate stained-glass designs, and high ceilings. It is less than a 5-minute walk from Spadina Station and 10 minutes from St. George Station.

The fate of this historical building has been a point of contention between conservationists and developers for years, with the ‘battle’ captured in Jamie Kastner’s 2023 documentary, Charlotte’s Castle.

charlotte's castle at the Annex's oldest apartment
Charlotte’s Castle

A zoning by-law amendment application submitted to the City on May 9 requested the construction of the 10-storey infill residential building to be “situated the equivalent of one storey (4.0 metres) above the existing building, but generally separate from it”, forming a new 15-storey structure.

The proposal includes 70 new dwelling units but will maintain the existing 24 rental dwelling units in the heritage apartment (although there will be minor interior and exterior alterations to one ground-floor unit to facilitate the construction of a residential lobby entrance to the new building).

The units will include a mix of 41 one-bedroom apartments (58%), 20 two-bedroom apartments (29%), and 9 three-bedroom apartments (13%).

A total of 218 square metres of amenity space is provided within the new building to serve residents’ needs, inclusive of a rooftop amenity room and a connected outdoor amenity terrace.

Rendering of proposed development

The new residential building will have a total gross floor area of 5,135 square metres — when combined with the existing building’s total gross floor area (4,180 square metres), there will be a combined gross floor area of 9,315 square metres.

The development will reach 55.50 metres (this includes a mechanical penthouse) and include two elevators (about one elevator for every 47 units).

Pedestrians can access the new building’s residential lobby from Lowther Avenue through a shared street along the rear of the site, although vehicle access will be limited to necessary servicing and waste collection vehicles (the site will include a flexible drop-off/delivery and turnaround area).

A total of 78 bicycle parking spaces are being provided to support the proposed development, including 14 short-term spaces and 64 long-term spaces located within ancillary bike rooms.