While we tend to focus most of our attention on residential development, we haven't lost sight of Toronto's growing commercial sector. Historically, companies chose to locate themselves outside the downtown core, due to a variety of reasons ranging from inexpensive prices to relative proximity to their workforce. With the increase in downtown residents however we're starting to see a return of new commercial developments, and expect the number to rise over the coming decade. One such project is Allied REIT's Queen Richmond Centre West, located at the corner of Richmond and Peter Streets and designed by Toronto based practice &Co Architects.

Queen Richmond Centre West in Toronto by Allied ReitPreserved facade as of April 12, image by Hawk.

The historic building's façade is being preserved, however, as can be from the image above, that's about all they plan on saving. The five-storey warehouse will be entirely re-done and serve as the base for a dramatic cantilevered tower that will offer flexible floor plans for prospective tenants. In order to contribute to the neighbourhoods rebirth from its entertainment-district days, extensive ground floor space has been allotted to retail, fronting on Richmond as well as Peter.

Queen Richmond Centre West in Toronto by Allied ReitQueen and Peter retail frontage, image courtesy of &Co and Allied Reit.

In an effort to attract innovative tenants Allied REIT is hoping to achieve LEED Gold certification. Ranging from individual temperature controls to specialized windows and modular floorplans, the building will offer a level of user-friendly features and green technologies often unseen in the larger office towers.

Queen Richmond Centre West in Toronto by Allied ReitCross-section showing flex-space, windows and floorplates, image courtesy of &Co and Allied Reit.

We're looking forward to the construction of QRC West, and hope that it will spur similar developments outside the downtown core. While we can never get enough condominium development, it's important that commercial buildings are built simultaneously to provide workspace for the influx of residents. Kitty corner to QRC West is Urban Capital, Malibu and Alit's Tableau Condominiums, sure to provide some of the office building's future tenants; for more information on either, look to the dataBase listings below, and click the associated threads to see updated construction images from Forum members.