Yesterday we brought you a story about Oxford Properties' RBC WaterPark Place project, and today's UrbanToronto Photo Of The Day looks at the closure of the parking lot to begin the excavation for the project. We aren't done with Oxford projects yet though, as this developer is planning to bring more to Downtown in the near term than just the WaterPark Place expansion. Oxford has been marketing an expansion of the Richmond Adelaide Centre for quite a while too; besides their revitalization of 111 Richmond Street West at the project, they plan a new tower at 100 Adelaide West. It is also known as Richmond Adelaide III, and there have been many schemes for it over the years. Most recently we reported on a 28-storey tower at 100 Adelaide West which would consume all but the façade of the 16-storey, 1928-opened Art Deco style Concourse Building currently onsite. The 28-storey version by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is an engagingly faceted box, daring for the architecturally stodgy Toronto business market, yet still showing Proper Toronto Restraint. At 28 storeys, it's too short to make an impact from anywhere but the immediate vicinity however, so this version is definitely not enough of a good thing.
We are very happy to report, however, that Oxford's website for the project now reports that up to 1,000,000 square feet of space are available here now, 385,000 square feet more than was advertised at first, and they have replaced some (but not all) of the renderings with new ones showing a 44-storey version of the same design. This taller version is a tower that people will remember, and it is the first plan that seems to mitigate the loss of some history at the Concourse Building enough to make the wound somewhat bearable.
Does the increase in size mean that Oxford has secured enough tenants to plan for the larger version now, or does it indicate a confidence that the continuing robustness of the office market here will ensure the space is filled no matter how large they build it? Despite the resurgence in new office construction in Toronto over the last half dozen years following a decade-long period of zero growth in the sector, there are many proposed towers in the works now competing for tenants: maybe the increase in size here is simply to make the new building more impressive, and more attractive to potential tenants. Whichever the answer is, the conjectures above are just that, and something we thought Oxford were unlikely to answer directly were we to put the question to them… so we are simply thinking them aloud here now, and we will ask questions later.
Pretty obviously, the skyscraper geeks inside of us want the 44-storey version tower to go ahead. While UrbanToronto World Headquaters will be decamping from our Yonge & Eglinton offices in June 2012 to a new space, we aren't quite big enough to trigger the 16 extra floors in this tower ourselves, so we have to hope the skyscraper geeks inside the executives who are looking for many thousands of square feet in a new tower in Toronto's financial core will see what we do in this building: a very exciting, confidently designed and handsome new addition in an amazing location right in the Centre of the Universe. Well, the Centre of Our Universe, anyway.
We have many more renderings of this project in our dataBase listing, naturally, (you know we'd direct you there, look for the link below,) along with the link to our Project & Construction Forum thread for the project if you want to get in on the discussion. We also recommend a visit to the fantastic tobuilt.ca if you would like to take a look at earlier plans for this site.