A slimmer design may mean a taller tower for a highrise that’s already expected to be one of the tallest in the downtown core.
York Developments wants to add a little extra height to a planned 30-storey tower on King Street, a move that would allow the developer to have 266 units as planned despite revisions to shave down the east and west sides of the building.
“When you’re already at 30 storeys, and you’re going to 31 storeys, is it really that much?” consultant Laverne Kirkness said.
He’s representing York and will appeal to politicians at the planning committee on Monday. In November, council approved a rezoning for the highrise at 131 King St.
But because York has changed its plan for the building, the company needs politicians to give the OK for York to apply for a minor variance and push for the extra storey. York wants to exceed the 102-metre height that was approved last year to recoup space that was removed from the sides of the building — tweaks that Kirkness says were done at city hall’s request.
Under the London Plan, the city’s blueprint for growth, buildings of up to 35 storeys are allowed in the downtown with bonus zoning.
With bonus zoning, a developer can build a taller building or have denser housing in exchange for contributions like affordable housing, art or other features that benefit the public.
The basis of the bonus zoning granted to York includes 41 public parking spaces in its underground garage, a public walkway beside the tower connecting King and York streets and public art among other features.
The design of the building, which will include some commercial space as well as the residential units, is another strong element, Kirkness said.
“The first two storeys will be quite exciting to look at from King Street, and across from the south entrance of the market,” he said. “It’ll really be an asset to King Street.”
York wants to begin building next construction season, he added.
Coun. Anna Hopkins, chair of city council’s planning committee, said she’d like to see more information about the request, including a report from staff to detail the reasons for the extra storey.
Her biggest concern is with the process of granting that approval to go ahead with a minor variance so soon after a rezoning.
“For me, it’s all about being consistent,” she said. “We’ve had several of these requests recently.”
“I would think we would need a report coming back to us, just giving us a little bit of extra background. But the request is up to the committee in the end.”
Kirkness said the economic plan for the tower depends on a development with 266 units. Without the extra storey, York would be able to fit only 255 units in the building, he said.