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At a marathon session last week, Toronto's Design Review Panel got their first glimpse at Phase One of the Galleria Mall Redevelopment, and Panel members were more than pleased with what they saw. Led by ELAD Canada and Freed Developments, the Galleria Mall site will be transformed into a new mixed-use high-rise community, with 8 residential towers, over 3,400 new dwelling units, a new park and community centre, and retail scattered throughout.

The Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed master plan for the Galleria Mall site was approved for rezoning earlier this year, and the first phase has gotten underway with a submission for Site Plan Approval earlier this month. Phase One involves a complete makeover of the park to the south, a new Wallace Emerson Community Centre constructed in the northwest corner, and the first of the residential blocks - Block 5- constructed just east of the community centre. The western portion of the mall will be demolished, but the eastern portion will remain standing and operational to ensure continuous provision of key services - namely the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, and fitness centre.

The design of the new park is being undertaken by Public Work, and their approach centres around two main themes: creating a multi-functional community hybrid that incorporates flexibility both spatially and temporally, and creating an inclusive park that has something for everyone. Much of the existing programming in the park will be included and expanded upon in the new, larger design.

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