Hey Everyone, my name’s Ryan and I’m the Development Manager on this and other LCH Projects.
I think it may be helpful to give further insight into the background of this project that will (hopefully) provide a bit of ease. LCH is working with the church congregation at St. John's Presbyterian to develop the site. The church congregation will retain a double-height space in a portion of ground floor of the existing church, and residential units would be built above. We are proposing to retain the vast majority of the church façade (aside from the rear portion facing the laneway). The interior of the building would be demolished, with new construction to rise through the roofline. To my knowledge this method of redeveloping a church has not been done before in Toronto, and it will open new discussion about heritage preservation. We believe that the most important heritage attribute to this site is its historical use, and the congregation itself - who would not be able to complete the growing list of repairs associated with the building without major investment.
The concept is inspired by a development in Boston called The Lucas and we have retained the architect of that project, Finegold Alexander, as the design architect for this project. FAA is also overseeing the heritage restoration portion of the 260 High Park project.
At this stage, we have just submitted our first OPA/ZBA application. Everyone on the development and design team would agree it is very early in the process. When we onboarded Finegold Alexander they were extremely excited to get into the nitty-gritty of the design process, however we instructed them not to focus on the design language of the building, more so on the massing, density etc. This is a complex project on a tight site and it is going to be beneficial to get detailed comments from planning, engineering, transportation, the community (whether it's the UT community or Riverdale community) before moving into detailed design development.
Rather than presenting a simple block model showing density, we did add some articulation to show what a modern addition could look like. The rendering that was created was really a replacement for a typical block model that would normally be seen at early stage developments and that we are still 2 years away from a marketing rendering. The intention for this is to be a very high end design.
All that being said I'm looking forward to the feedback. I'm sure there will be some great debate and I'll be following along.