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Will the upcoming Central Park Condos get its own Friends-inspired Central Perk café? Absolutely – albeit with an entirely different cast of characters and very different surroundings. Unlike the condo’s deeply urban namesake, Amexon’s 12-acre residential project currently in pre-construction in the Bayview Village neighbourhood will be surrounded by undeveloped land, neighbouring the East Don Parkland ravine.
“Our greatest amenity is the location,” says Jason Shiff, executive sales manager at Amexon. “We describe it as ‘where nature meets urban’ because it’s still very much in the city but located within this lush under-developed part of the Bayview area.”
Designed by Toronto-based CORE Architects, the community will feature five residential towers, four of which will be 31 storeys; the fifth, a mid-rise building, comes in at 12 storeys. Together, they’ll contain 1,478 units; 10 per cent of those will be above the 1,000-square-foot range.
“When designing this building, we really wanted to break away from the conventional,” says Deni Poletti, principal at CORE Architects. “The tower facades display an organic leaflike design, an architectural detail that recalls the natural environment.” Each unit will come with a large glass balcony – adding 91 square feet of outdoor space to one of the 440-square-foot units – that maximizes natural light.
All buildings in Central Park complex will feature glass in their construction to reflect the surrounding forest. “These buildings highlight the forested ravine and the setting of the East Don Parkland,” explains Poletti.
At the centre of the development is the three-acre Central Park Common, the equivalent of a town square with its own farmer’s market, skating rink, street vendors, water fountains and year-round programming. The square will be ringed by 320,000 square feet of office space, designed to bring additional pedestrian traffic to the area.
Its pathways will tie into a pre-existing network of walking and cycling trails that lead down to Lake Ontario.
Designed by award-winning landscape architects Cosburn Nauboris, the three-acre urban park was a complex undertaking. “A lot of time was put into designing this outdoor common area,” says firm principal Paul Cosburn. “We began with a commitment to the principle of designing with nature in order to keep that connection with the natural world. But we also pushed the boundaries to produce a sustainable space that brings the urban in as well.”
“The Central Park Common is meant to resemble a village green,” says Cosburn. “This is where residents will meet up, co-workers can grab a bite to eat, and people can just enjoy the outdoor space, which will be lined with bike paths, casual dining venues and reflecting pools.” Other outdoor areas include rooftop barbecue zones, cabanas and an herb garden.
Restaurant patios and the outside play area of a private-run day-care centre will also service residents of various ages. There will be an on-site pet daycare, too.
The project is connected to public transportation systems, with access to the Leslie subway station and the Oriole GO Station on the Richmond Hill line, which is soon to be relocated at Leslie Street East’s southbound off-ramp. “From Oriole, it will be one stop to Union station, so workers in the downtown core can be there within 20 minutes,” says Shiff.
He notes that sustainability is central to the plan. In addition to being built to the Amexon Green Development Standard for environmental sustainability, the community is embedded with green features, including underground parking with electric vehicle charging stations for both residents and visitors, an automated on-site car-share program, a bike-share program and green roofs with solar panels.
Lobbies of the resident towers, where there will be 24-hour concierge service, will have floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Given its location, we really drew inspiration from nature and tried to create something new and fresh-feeling,” says Dan Menchions, principal of II by IV Design. “So when you enter the lobby, the stage is set with warm wood panelling and marble. Those natural materials provide that grounded feeling.”
While suite layouts vary, all interiors have nine-foot smooth-finish ceilings and European-inspired kitchen cabinetry and granite or quartz-surface slab countertops. The smallest suite, at just 440 square feet, starts at $617,000. The three-bedroom plus den, which sits at 1,200 square feet, has a wrap-around deck and goes for $1.5 million.
Residents, who will move in sometime in 2025, will have options when it comes to setting up for remote work. A co-working space will have meeting rooms, a business centre with smart technology and a recording/media studio.
The community also comes with its own spa, The Park Club, which includes 55,000 square feet of fitness and wellness space spread across four floors – including an indoor/outdoor saltwater pool, fitness club, yoga/meditation studio and outdoor fitness zones. There will also be a Park Spa hair and nail bar, additional beauty services, an outdoor sundeck and lounges, plus steam rooms, infrared saunas and marble showers.
“From the sheer scope of what we are offering, we really are catering to end users from a wide range of demographics,” says Shiff, “from families to young professionals to empty nesters.”
There’s even a lure for ex-pat New Yorkers: that most Manhattan of amenities, the piano bar. Featuring live music and a lounge-like atmosphere, it may subvert expectations about what happens at Shepherd and Leslie.
Suites start in the $600,000 range for a studio unit. For more information, visit the presentation centre at 1200 Sheppard Ave. E. or centralparktoronto.com.
For homemade pasta and next-level pizza offerings, try Oliver & Bonacini’s Parcheggio restaurant. Their mushroom bruschetta spoons whipped ricotta, balsamela and locally sourced mushrooms over toasted house-made focaccia. 2901 Bayview Ave.
For a Middle Eastern fix, there’s Jerusalem restaurant. Skewers of locally sourced Shish Kabab lamb are perfectly seasoned. 4777 Leslie St.
At J&Y Chinese Cuisine, solid choices include their generous portion of Peking duck with udon, Cantonese-style spare ribs and Singapore pan-fried vermicelli. 1108 Sheppard Ave. E.