Project Essentials / dataBase – detailed project information, floor plans, renderings
Projects & Construction Thread  I  Real Estate Thread
Vü Condos 
116 George Street, Toronto
Developer: Aspen Ridge Homes

Vü Condos | 84m | 24s | Aspen Ridge | Hariri Pontarini

Discussion in 'Buildings' started by AlvinofDiaspar, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. From the Globe Real Estate Section, by John Bentley Mays:

    Vü may jump-start east downtown renewal

    From Friday's Globe and Mail

    After a century of neglect and dilapidation, Toronto's downtown east of Yonge Street is gradually coming back to life—very gradually. It's high time for things to get seriously moving there.

    Queen Street West, for its part, has been transformed from a desolate skid row into a bouncy avenue of clubs, restaurants and shops in just 25 years. Other strips in the west-side inner city are being revived by smart investment, especially in new housing. But despite strong growth elsewhere, the renewal of such formerly grand streets as Church, Jarvis and Sherbourne continues to lag behind the rest of the city.

    One sign of progress, however, is the appearance of new east-side condominium projects attractive to people affluent enough to support the shops and services that liven up a street. For an example of what I'm talking about, take Aspen Ridge Homes' Vü, slated to rise next spring at the corner of Jarvis and Adelaide streets.

    Lofts with 10-foot ceilings are currently on the market for between $150,990 and $307,990, while apartments are for sale between $162,990 (a 485-square-foot studio) and $517,990 (a 1,200-square-foot two bedroom with den).

    The design of Vü — with two towers (15 and 24 storeys) and an eight-storey podium, bundles tightly around a little courtyard on a single block — is less about high style than solid city-building. Given that some people may feel apprehensive about the area, the building's relationship with the city is somewhat guarded. (Hariri Pontarini Architects)

    These are sensible prices for deep downtown properties, it seems to me —especially in view of the fact that a certain amount of urban pioneering will be required of anyone who moves there. Vü and other high-density residential developments — notably The Spire at Church and Adelaide — will surely draw more services, shops and restaurants to the area, but it may take some time for local life to become even a little sophisticated.

    Designed by David Pontarini, founding partner in the Toronto firm Hariri Pontarini Architects, Vü is less about high style than solid city-building. Its three main structural elements — two towers (15 and 24 storeys) and an eight-storey podium, bundled tightly around a little courtyard on a single block— are intended to be artistic responses to their urban context.

    The use of much brick and mortar in the street-level parts of the complex was prompted, Mr. Pontarini explained, by the brick industrial façdes that abound in the neighbourhood. The towers of glass and steel are more urbane and openly modernist in inspiration — tall, but not too tall for the generally low-scale environment. The higher of the two towers, marking the corner of Adelaide and Jarvis, does good urban service by providing a monumental focus and termination for Adelaide, which jogs sharply at this intersection.

    Townhouses open directly along the George Street façade of the project, enhancing its linkage to the street-level life of the city. But the area's long history as a haven for needy and unpredictable people is not going to be undone by a single spiffy condominium development. So it is that Vü tends to be somewhat more guarded in its relationship to the city than developments of its kind in other parts of town.

    Cars come inside the inner courtyard; there are no drop-off points along the edges. The elevator lobbies for the towers are tucked well inside the structure, and well away from the sidewalks. And the most conspicuous pedestrian entrance is not on one of the more exposed sides (Adelaide, Jarvis, Richmond Street East) but along little George Street. I have no problem with this emphasis on security, by the way. Anything that makes it easier for people to get past their apprehensions about living on the east side is fine by me.

    This part of Toronto, after all, should be quickly repopulated, and treasured by its new inhabitants, and by us all.

    It was in this place, in 1793, that John Graves Simcoe laid out the first thoroughfares of the tiny town of York; George Street was the original townsite's western boundary. But in the mind of Simcoe — despite the harsh wilderness conditions of early life here — York was never to be just another frontier settlement. It was to emerge as a fine, large city, with stately buildings in the classical manner quickly replacing the log cabins of the first settlers. A great university would arise here, along with a botanical garden, learned societies and other institutions of high civilization.

    Some of Simcoe's visions have been realized in the city that came into existence after the 1790s — but few in the exact clump of city blocks where Hogtown got its start. Vü and other developments on the east side will be a success, at least from the standpoint of those who love Toronto, if they help breathe new life into our ancient townsite, and inspire still more investment of money and energy into this area of long-neglected urban heritage.


  2. tudararms

    tudararms Guest

    Nice. King East seems poised to become quite trendy. Nice heritage architecture in the vicinity too.
  3. I'm looking forward to seeing what HP have done to the interior of my local library at Pape and Danforth, which reopens next month.
  4. Reading this makes me think that JBM hasn't actually visited King East if he thinks with restaurants like Toba and Hiro, and all of the high end furniture shops, it's unsophisticated. Or maybe he was off his meds.
  5. tudararms

    tudararms Guest

    True, one is hardly slumming at Roche Bobois.
  6. Citywriter

    Citywriter Guest

    ...and another high-end bar/restaurant opens this week one block from Vu.

    Still, if you stand on the right block you'll feel like he has a point: anywhere north of King is pretty, uh, "unsophisticated." It's a very sharp and strange dropoff, socioeconomically and in terms of street life.
  7. RJR123

    RJR123 Guest

    I agree, City Writer. I live at Richmond and Sherbourne and when I walk over to Yonge to grab the subway I almost always take King, rather than Richmond. It's just so desolate along Richmond.
  8. I noticed that they were having the opening for that restaurant last night.
  9. lokyin

    lokyin Guest

    cool, Vu sounds like Phoebe on Queen.
  10. Keeping in mind a number of key factors (proximity to financial district, waterfront; the history of the area; and relatively lower prices due to the perception of the neighbourhood) I really think the area north of the St Lawrence/Distillery (Church-DVP and King-Queen) will be one of the major growth areas for the city over the next 5-10 years. There have been a number of new condo developments in the area and continue to be more - thousands of new residents with disposable income will invariably increase the offerings of restaurants and other amenities.

    When compared to King West, Queen West (West West), and other more 'established' areas I see the King East area being a quieter, more enjoyable residential experience with better location (vis a vis waterfront/central business district).
  11. Agreed. It's the best location in the city for apartment living.
  12. Ed007Toronto

    Ed007Toronto Guest

    I've lived in the area for nine years now and have had an nearby office for almost 14 years now. The change to the area has been tremendous. Walking down Sherbourne from Richmond to King at night used to be scary back then. Now with all the new condos the area has become much safer and much more vital. Vu will make a huge contribution to the revival up to Queen. Add in new projects in the works directly on Queen and we'll finally see that area pick up. Can't wait for Vu to get started.
  13. indense

    indense Guest

    I think if the Cooke's Church development ever gets off the ground, it will have an even bigger impact than Vu.

    I also think that the Moss Park Armoury is holding Jarvis back. Condos on that site would work wonders for the whole area.
  14. Nice to see the park anchored, finally, by two resolutely contemporary buildings - Spire and Vu - that are designed by significant local architectural firms and don't rely on polite, historicist pastiche for their effect.
  15. BoF:

    It will also be connected to Regent Park redevelopment to the north, West Donlands to the east and East Bayfront to the south. Quite the location, really.


Share This Page