In this week’s instalment of the UTPro Instant Report, our investigation of the development trends taking shape in burgeoning communities across the GTA takes a trip east, to investigate the status of development in the heart of Pickering. Sourcing information from UrbanToronto’s advanced data service, UrbanToronto Pro, we have generated a Custom Report to instantly assemble a list of all the projects located within an 800 metre radius of any given address; for the purpose of today’s report, we used the address 1303 Pickering Parkway as our starting point. 

The area we are studying, located roughly around the intersections of Liverpool Road with Kingston Road and with Bayly Street, representing a central node in Pickering, anchored by the infrastructure that connects the municipality to the rest of the GTA. The area is bisected by the Highway 401, and also features GO Transit’s Pickering station, served by the east-west Lakeshore East Line. With the presence of this transportation infrastructure, the area has become a focal point for development in Pickering, attracting proposals with visions for large-scale city-building efforts and ambitious targets for height and density. 

Map of Custom Area in central Pickering, containing 13 projects, image from UTPro Instant Report

Our Report identifies a list of 13 total projects residing within the custom area. Holding the largest share of the total is the pre-construction category, which counts six projects, while the under construction and complete groups feature four and three projects respectively. 

Beginning with a look at the kind of development that has been activated successfully in the area thus far, San Francisco By The Bay 3 represents one of the most recent completions, from 2020. Standing 25 storeys, it has been the tallest in Pickering since it opened. It boasts 211 units, a jump in density for an area that is growing from low-rise suburb into some more urban, while still enjoying an intimate community atmosphere for its close proximity to the surrounding natural Lake Ontario shoreline amenities. 

San Francisco By The Bay 3, 25-storey development completed in 2020, image from submission to City of Pickering

Under construction currently is Universal City, a master-planned project that is currently leading the way in Pickering in a number of categories, including much more height. Comprising a total of 7 residential towers upon completion, the project is constructing its first phase of three towers while the subsequent phases are in sales or planning. In its entirety, the community will deliver nearly 3,000 new units, while simultaneously claiming the new record for the tallest building in Pickering. 

Concept design of complete Universal City community currently under construction, image from submission to City of Pickering

Meanwhile, in the planning phase within the radius is another multi-tower development, VuPoint Condos, that is following in the footsteps of Universal City with a proposal for three towers with heights of 46, 49, and 53 storeys, and nearly 1,800 units. With approval already granted from Pickering’s City Council, the project demonstrates that the City is prepared to take on much greater density in its most connected community. 

Complete design for 3-tower VuPoint Condos, now approved, image from submission to City of Pickering

Looking at the supporting statistics from our Custom Report, we can see that high-rise scale development is the most popular approach at the moment. Referencing the figure below, the average height for proposals within the custom area is over 66 metres, which represents about 20 storeys for a residential building. 

Graphic showing stats on height averages in the custom area, image fro UTPro Instant Report

This stands out as an emerging trend for development in Pickering, and will likely continue to be a characteristic for future proposals along the city's arterials. With height tolerance proving to be quite flexible in the City’s most developable areas close to rapid transit, we can expect that more development will follow, and at a larger scale, with multi-tower and master-planned communities finding a strong footing here already. 

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As UrbanToronto continues to refine its role in the GTA development industry, our data services have evolved to become one of our defining elements and we want to share those capabilities with our community. The UrbanToronto Pro Instant Reports is just one of the ways our data can be applied to provide quick and convenient insights on the development trends of any area in the GTA, with filters for Wards MLS Zones, and Custom Areas. 

Related Companies:  Arcadis, Biglieri Group Ltd., EQ Building Performance Inc., Figure3, Gradient Wind Engineers & Scientists, McIntosh Perry, NAK Design Group, Tribute Communities