Q: What is the ORCA Project?
A: The ORCA Project is an exciting mixed-used community elevated over the 21-acre railway corridor between Bathurst street and Blue Jays Way. Once completed, this community will transform the vacant space above the Metrolinx tracks into a vibrant, sustainable, mixed-used community.
The area pertaining to the application is 8.59 hectares (21.23 acre), including the 0.97 hectare
(2.40-acre) Northern Linear Park, and is located over the rail corridor in the Railway Lands West
and Railway Lands Central Secondary Plan areas. The proposal is to develop a rail corridor
overbuild (deck) over the existing active rail corridor to accommodate development, while
maintaining the rail activities. The ORCA Project proposes a mixed-use and open space
development, consisting of 8 buildings with a combined gross floor area (GFA) of 368,100 m2
(3,962,195 sq.ft.) comprised of the following uses:
- Residential: 208,300 m2
- Commercial: 79,800 m2
- Retail: 60,700 m2
- Institutional: 1,700 m2
- Galleria: 13,500 m2
- Atrium: 1,600 m2
- Cogen Facility: 2,500 m2
The ORCA Project will also develop approximately 2,750 residential units with following unit
- 825 one bedroom units
- 1,100 two bedroom units
- 825 three bedroom units
The ORCA Project facilitates a high-density mixed-use development with significant open space. The subject site will make up 5.01 hectares (12.38 acres) of new contiguous open space, or approximately 58% of the total subject site area. The proposed rail corridor overbuild presents a unique opportunity to re-connect old neighbourhoods with new ones by stitching back together street blocks and pedestrian linkages that have been severed from a century of rail operations.
Q: How long would it take to build the ORCA Project?
A: We envision a 10-year build out – Here is our Phasing Plan
Q: What is a P3 (Public Private Partnership)?
Q: What is the ORCA Project’s projected economic & community impact?
A: The ORCA Project will help connect the city by building a mixed-use community over the railway tracks that currently physically divides the city. This will increase the quality of life and livability of the downtown core tremendously.
The Orca Project will also help relieve the stress in Toronto’s housing market due to a shortage of supply in the downtown core. According to Urbanation, a real estate market research and consulting firm, the number of new condos available for sale across the GTA is at a 10-year low. The ORCA Project’s unique and sustainable design makes it the best option to meet the needs brought on by the rapid growth of the downtown core in a financially and environmentally prudent way while stimulating the economy.
Excerpts from Altus Economic Impact Study
Q: As the City of Toronto has unfunded projects totalling $33 billion how will it fund it’s proposed $1-$3 billion dollar Rail Deck Park without diminishing services for and raising taxes on those Torontonians least able to afford it?
Q: Using Boston as an example what was the true cost of Boston’s Big Dig and what impact have these costs had on city services?
Q: What parks do we use as precedents?
Q: What are some park possibilities?
Q: How does the Park fit into the TO Core Study – Rebalancing Parks and the Public Realm?
A: The proposed park fits in with the TOCore proposed “The Stitch” a connected series of open spaces that connects Downtown with the waterfront and the west end to the east end. North linear park will be seamlessly integrated and will offer direct access to Mouth of the Creek park, Fort York and the recent announcement for one at Front St. and Bathurst.
Q: Why does the park appear raised above the street?
A: The structural solution to bridge over the rail corridor is significant and the development team is working with engineers around the world to develop creative solutions to design and construct the structural deck without impeding rail operations below
Q: What is Parkland Dedication?
A: Development projects in Toronto require a portion of their land to be reserved for parks. This varies depending on the size of the development. Where it may be impractical to provide parkland the City accepts cash payment in lieu. See the latest City of Toronto Report on Cash-in-Lieu Allocation
See this link
Q: How does the ORCA Project fit in with existing planning policy?
A: The ORCA Project is a rare opportunity for growth and reurbanization, in that it can deliver change to an urban structure that is not so easily changed. For the first time in over 150 years, the City can reclaim the land it lost to the rail corridor and can achieve this without impeding the vital flow of people and goods along it, which has been so important to the City’s growth. It is our opinion that this official plan amendment application to facilitate the decking over, and mix-use development with significant open space on, the active rail corridor between Blue Jays Way and Bathurst Street in the Downtown represents good planning, is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, conforms to the Growth Plan and Regional Transportation Plan, and is responsive to the Toronto Official Plan and applicable in-force Secondary Plans.
Q: Where can I learn more about the OPA application?
A: All documents can be found on the City of Toronto’s Development Portal under the property address: 433 Front Street West. Application No: 17 164359 STE 20 OZ
Q: Who owns the Air Rights above the rail corridor?
A: In 2013, Craft acquired the air rights over the Rail Corridor stretching from Bathurst to Blue Jays Way from CN and TTR.
Q: Where does the ORCA Project fit into SmartTrack & RER?
A: The ORCA Project has been working with Metrolinx to integrate the development with new GO Spadina Station which will provide a stop on the Barrie Line as part of Metrolinx’ Regional Express Rail (RER) initiative.
Q: What about bicycles?
A: Bike Network, 3000 stalls, 1.09 stalls per unit
Q: Pedestrian Experience?
A: Accessibility, Connectivity, Linking Spaces
Q: How many cars?
A: The development will target a reduction in auto usage in favor of active transportation and transit. Low-emitting vehicle spaces, car pooling and car sharing will be promoted on site, with rough-in for further provision of electric infrastructure. With changing vehicle technology and population behaviour towards automobile usage, the parking structure will be designed to be flexible to accomodate changing parking needs. Automated parking systems are also being considered.
Q: What is the ORCA Project’s projected environmental impact?
A: The ORCA Project will deliver up to 12.38 Acres of new open space in the downtown core. All buildings will be innovative and will aim to reduce Toronto’s carbon footprint.
Q: What will Toronto need in the future?
A: See this link
Q: What makes the ORCA Project sustainable?
A: The ORCA Project intends to bring several state-of-the-art technologies to push the envelope on sustainability. Potential technologies ranging from pneumatic garbage collection to CHP, solar PV cogeneration plants to parking analytics software to even District Heating and Cooling. The ORCA Project is in a unique position to leverage its scale and mixed-use makeup to pursue higher energy efficiency and savings.
Communities and Facilities
Q: What community facilities will be provided?
A: Community Services and Facilities Study
submitted as part of the OPA application makes specific recommendations to meet the needs of current and projected populations. It is recommended by the Study that the following be provided at various development phases, in consultation with the City on parks and open space, licensed child care facilities; and facility space for human service agencies