Sheppard East: No subway, but lots of speculating

Leafing through the Toronto Star on the weekend, I couldn’t help but note the number of new residential condominium projects being proposed for Sheppard Avenue East. While this is not particularly out of the ordinary for condominium boomtown Toronto, it is noteworthy because these projects are all happening east of the existing subway network– that is, on areas of Sheppard that would have been served by the Sheppard LRT.

Whatever you think of the great LRT vs. Subway debate– I happen to think it’s completely overblown– it might be fair to say that developers (and buyers) are speculating based on future transit plans. With Rob Ford still promising to build a subway with private money, and TTC Commissioner Karen Stintz vowing to use federal money to extend the subway to Victoria Park, perhaps developers are smart to build here.

Should they be? Are they speculating on future LRT or Subway? Are there other factors at work here? Sheppard is a major transportation corridor even without higher-order transit, as the first major arterial road north of the 401. Because of this, every resident along Sheppard has easy access to the most important highway in Ontario and perhaps the country. The fact that the highway struggles to bring anyone to their destination in a timely manner is of little importance. It is the concept of the amenity, not the quality of the amenity itself. That said, there are other amenities on Sheppard Avenue East, including nearby Fairview Mall and the existing Sheppard subway.

Here are the condominium projects that I know of at this point:

  • Monarch Group’s Heron’s Hill site (2 towers)
  • Tridel’s Alto at Atria (2 phases)
  • Remington’s 8 Chichester (affordable housing joint-build)
  • Gemterra’s LOVE Condominiums
As well as a few of those near Sheppard:

  • Tridel’s massive Metrogate
  • Tridel’s Argento (Don Mills/401)
  • ELAD Canada’s Emerald City (Don Mills/Sheppard)

It remains to be seen if all of these residents can be accommodated on the already-congested Sheppard Avenue East. Will new residents create a renewed push for higher-order transit? Will new congestion limit the ability of developers to sell units here?

Whatever the case, Sheppard Avenue East’s under-capitalized lots and great amenities likely means there are more projects to come.

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