One of the fastest-growing neighbourhoods in Canada is about to grow a little more as SmartLiving introduces Park Place, the next phase of SmartVMC, SmartCentres REIT’s 100+ acre master-planned city centre in Vaughan’s new downtown hub. Located on the northeast corner of Highway 7 and Commerce Street and immediately adjacent to SmartVMC’s central 9-acre park, the two-tower proposal is set to expand the area’s emerging skyline, rising to heights of 48 and 56 storeys. These mixed-use towers build on SmartVMC’s transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly development, adding to the vibrant community growing in Vaughan’s burgeoning downtown.
Park Place looking east, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT.
The two towers are designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and will contain more than 1,100 residential units, with over 10,000 ft² of retail space at the base. The south tower rises 56 storeys with the north tower reaching 48 storeys, both of which sit atop a connected 3-storey podium. Given their location adjacent to the park and the Highway 7 corridor, the towers will offer uninterrupted views across the entire GTA. The proposal includes generous sidewalks and public realm around the building, including a north-south pedestrian mews along the east edge of the site connecting Highway 7 to New Park Place.
The proposed development fronts directly onto the middle section of the 9-acre central park at the heart of the SmartVMC master plan. The park is designed by renowned landscape architects Claude Cormier + Associés, and the central heart of the park will contain a sunken lawn, a kids’ play area, and a dog park, essentially becoming a big backyard for residents. The first phase of the park will begin construction later this year.
View of Park Place from within the central park looking southeast, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT.
The buildings feature a signature curving design from Hariri Pontarini Architects, with the podium swerving inward to embrace a courtyard on the west. “The project conveys a contemporary expression that is distinguished and notable on the newly created Vaughan skyline,” states Michael Attard, Associate Partner at Hariri Pontarini, “a simple, graceful residential tower lightly resting on an iconic three-storey retail and amenity base. It is informed by the constraints of its context and celebrates the relationship of program and structure, tracing its form to a natural conclusion.”
Attard describes how the massing of the towers was sculpted and integrated seamlessly with the public realm: “We carved away the massing next to Commerce Street to create a retail plaza which links into the new park. The towers were oriented with an offset to preserve views and maximize access to light. The podium is seen as an extension of the plaza and activated by outdoor amenities which terrace upwards away from the plaza. The base and corners of the tower are defined by a warm terracotta screen which links through the development like a ribbon.”
The base of Park Place, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT.
Sustainability also informed the design of the towers. “The towers are wrapped in bands of white fritted glass which quiet the division of envelope to balcony and provide locations for us to introduce solid walls to improve our window-to-wall ratio,” explains Attard. “Incorporating concepts of passive sustainable design, the project strikes a balance between responsive solar strategies, cohesive skin design, and the needs and comforts of the occupants who desire maximum access to view and light.”
At ground level, a generous retail plaza and expansive public realm integrate the development with its surroundings, with a trellis tracing the edge of the site to create an intimate gathering space. “We’ve softened the threshold from street to building by incorporating a public plaza that is visually connected to the central park and bordered by an elevated sun-shading trellis,” Attard states. ”Stairs with integrated benches mitigate the grade change along Commerce Street.” Attard adds that, “The building form and program helped to shape the public space, encourage connectivity, and provide opportunities for neighbourhood interaction.”
Retail plaza along Commerce Street, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT.
Condo units in the building are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 470 to more than 1,100 square feet, and from one to three bedrooms. SmartLiving describes the development as offering their highest level of refined living in SmartVMC to date. Amenities are located on the second and third floors of the podium and include a fitness area with yoga and wellness spaces; a cycle lab; a lounge and games room; and a large outdoor terrace, complete with an outdoor cooking area. It is also being designed as a smart building, with Wi-Fi available in all common areas, and features such as touch-free entry, smart thermostats, and app integration.
SmartVMC master plan with Park Place highlighted in orange, image courtesy of SmartCentres REIT.
Park Place joins a growing collection of high-rise developments in SmartVMC, where several other SmartLiving residential projects are planned, completed, or under construction, including five Transit City Condo towers; Artwalk Condos; and The Millway purpose-built rental tower. SmartVMC’s skyline also features the award-winning Class A KPMG Tower and the PwC-YMCA Tower, which is home to a brand new YMCA, slated to open very soon. These buildings are all centred around immediate access to public transit, with the TTC’s Vaughan Metropolitan Centre subway station and SmartVMC regional bus terminal at the heart of the community, and the VIVA/BRT line on Highway 7 along its perimeter. Park Place benefits from its location directly adjacent to the Commerce Street stop on the BRT line and is a short walk from the subway station.