Toronto-based First Capital proposes 30-storey apartment tower near Blair LRT station

A Toronto-based developer is looking to add to the growing wave of intensification near the new Confederation Line with a proposal to build a 30-storey mixed-use highrise next to Blair Station.

First Capital Realty, which owns the nearby Gloucester Centre shopping complex, recently filed a site plan with the city for a building at 1980 Ogilvie Rd., directly south of the mall and just north of the light-rail hub. 

The proposal consists of a six-storey mixed-use podium and a residential tower above containing a total of 356 one- and two-bedroom units. An elevated pedestrian walkway would link the second floor of Gloucester Centre with the new building and Blair Station, currently the easternmost stop on the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line.

“It’s a first step at some sort of an integrated project between the LRT station and the existing shopping centre,” said Luc Fortin, the company’s vice-president of development for Eastern Canada. “The idea is to make the flow of pedestrians more organized and facilitate that movement.”

ogilvie build
First Capital Realty's first renderings of a proposed 30-storey mixed-use building at 1980 Ogilvie Rd.

The current proposal also calls for nearly 20,000 square feet of retail property and more than 10,000 square feet of office space in the new building’s podium. Two levels of underground parking and two internal levels of parking on the ground floor would provide space for 309 vehicles and 192 bicycles.

Fortin stressed that the proposal is still in its early stages and could change in size and scope depending on the results of market feasibility studies that are now under way.

He also said First Capital is currently looking to join forces with another company to share costs and build out the residential component, adding there is no price tag or proposed construction timeline yet.

“We will need a partner to realize a project of that size and that type,” Fortin said. “It is our desire to do a project like that, but we need to confirm all the data and feasibility and get feedback from the city as well.”

In its site plan application, First Capital called the project “the first stage of a larger redevelopment of Gloucester Centre.” Fortin said the company believes the arrival of the Confederation Line is poised to fuel a burst of transit-related construction near LRT stations.

“We do think the train is something very important to the city and that will transform, in some ways, the city,” explained Fortin, whose firm also owns a number of other local retail complexes, including College Square on Baseline Road and the Merivale Mall. 

“We think that transit is very important for the future and densifying around those transit nodes is what we’re trying to do. We do have a lot of sites that are adjacent to major transit nodes, and this is where we are seeing the potential. It would not be the same project (without LRT).” 

If it comes to fruition, First Capital’s tower would be just steps away from RioCan and Killam Apartment REIT’s 23-storey, 228-unit highrise that opened earlier this year in a bid to capitalize on the anticipated rising demand for housing near transit hubs. 

RioCan and Killam recently started construction on a second 20-storey residential tower right next door, part of a plan that could eventually see up to 1,000 rental suites at the site.

Fortin said he’s not concerned about the area becoming oversaturated with highrise residential units.

“It’s a question of the quality of the project,” he said. “There’s always room for good projects, so the timing may change, but the project should happen.”