An Integrated Community – Transforming Lives Here
CAMH’s vision for the redevelopment of our Queen Street site is that of an integrated community, which is being achieved through a variety of means: extending the local street network onto our 27-acre site, creating three new public parks, and the addition of new non-CAMH land uses into our site, side-by-side with our new facilities.
This balance of uses is drawing people into the site, promote street-level activity, helping to reduce stigma, and adding to the energetic and dynamic neighbourhood of Queen Street West. Furthermore, the inclusion of non-CAMH lands will contribute to other important goals such as promoting client employment.
The First Non-CAMH Building - the Ossington-Queen Street Rental Apartments
The winter 2010 demolition of CAMH’s 1954 Administration Building, as part of Phase 1B of the CAMH Queen Street Redevelopment Project, made the first block of land available for non-CAMH development. This piece of land is prominently located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue.
Forum Equity Partners and Verdiroc Development Corporation were selected as the lessee/developer for this first non-CAMH building – the Ossington-Queen Street Rental Apartments; and in September 2010, construction began on this new building. Their mixed-use development has street-level retail shops (such as Shoppers Drug Mart and TD Bank), adding new vibrancy to the south side of Queen Street West. Above the shops, there are seven floors of much-needed affordable, rental housing. The 179 new units range from bachelors to three-bedroom apartments.
For more information on this development, read the various Redevelopment Newsletters found at Latest News and Updates.
The Ossington-Queen Street Rental Apartments – the first non-CAMH building – is at the southwest corner of Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue. The images above show artist renderings of the building viewed from the northeast (top) and east (bottom).
A Mixed-Use Site
The proportion of CAMH to non-CAMH development blocks will be roughly equal across the site. In some cases, there will be non-CAMH land uses at street level, with CAMH operations atop. Block C (see below) is the site of the first non-CAMH building as described above. The diagram below shows the proposed distribution between new CAMH facilities and non-CAMH development areas with non-CAMH development blocks shown in red and CAMH's new facilities in purple. The narrow, red rectangles within the CAMH development areas represent non-CAMH uses (e.g. retail, office space, etc.) at ground level with CAMH facilities above.
Given their crucial importance to the success of CAMH’s vision for the Queen Street Redevelopment Project, the questions of how these lands are to be developed and the types of land uses that would be appropriate have been extensively studied and discussed. In January 2007, the CAMH Board of Trustees established the Guidelines for the Development of non-CAMH Lands. These Guidelines set out the broad vision and goals for non-CAMH development and a series of conditions defining how CAMH will proceed with such development. The Guidelines were developed through a consultative process with CAMH staff, clients, neighbours, and experts from Toronto's urban planning, architecture, and land development community.
The Guidelines, while helpful, are only the first step towards the actual development of new non-CAMH buildings. Following the completion of the Guidelines, a pair of studies were launched to better define two crucial elements of the integrated community. The first is a Development Strategy for Non-CAMH Lands (prepared by Urban Strategies) that tests the possible land uses against the non-CAMH development blocks using examples from across Toronto, and offers a series of recommendations as to how CAMH can make decisions for each non-CAMH block. The second is a Non-CAMH Retail Study (prepared by Urban Marketing Collaborative)that surveys the local retail environment, identifies where it may be headed in the near future and summarizes the opportunities and constraints to creating a successful retail environment in this area. Key findings from these reports were presented to the local community in January 2008.
An issue of great interest is, of course, whether non-CAMH lands will be developed through a sale or a long-term lease arrangement. The Guidelines for the Development of non-CAMH Lands, as mentioned above, reserve this decision to the CAMH Board of Trustees and set-out a case-by-case approach: "While it is CAMH's intention to retain land title for the non-CAMH development blocks, the Board of Trustees may choose to sell certain lands if the sale is deemed to be in CAMH's best interests." CAMH has decided that the first non-CAMH block will be developed via a long-term ground lease, with CAMH retaining ownership of the property.
Other important issues that have been, and will continue to be, given major consideration in non-CAMH decision-making include:
- The retail mix – CAMH’s goals with respect to retail are to create a lively pedestrian-friendly environment, in keeping with the atmosphere of Queen Street West, and to offer a variety of retail outlets that will cater to the preferences and needs of CAMH clients and staff, as well as the wider community;
- Training and employment opportunities for clients – Land use proposals that offer an opportunity for the creation of a significant number of training and employment opportunities for CAMH clients will be looked upon favourably;
- Community and neighbourhood fit – Queen Street West and the surrounding areas are in a period of significant transition and rapid change. Artists have established studios and galleries throughout the area; to the south of CAMH, a media and design hub, as well as a new residential area are taking shape. Development proposals that reflect the emerging character and specializations of the local area are encouraged.