Two major Peter Street projects went before the public at a meeting held on May 28. Noir Condos at 81-87 Peter Street had its public consultation debut, while updates were presented for the commercial proposal by Allied Properties for the corner property fronting 388 King Street and 82 Peter Street. The meeting was hosted by Adam Vaughan, Toronto City Councillor for the ward where the projects are situated. The intention of the meeting was to let members of the community share their thoughts and to get feedback to fine tune elements of the design and massing going forward.
We begin with Noir Condos on the east side of Peter Street. Designed by Core Architects, and developed by Menkes, the proposal is for a 49-storey condo tower reaching a height of 156 m. The proposal features:
- About 3,100 sq ft of ground level retail.
- 546 units, of which 72 are studio, 318 are 1 Bed, 103 are 2 Bed, and 53 are 3 Bedroom suites.
- 292 residential parking spaces (46%) in 5 below grade floors.
- 103 commercial parking spaces above grade on floors 2 to 4.
The site plan shows the building situated immediately south of the 10-storey Commodore Building at 317 Adelaide Street West, home to a number of Toronto's premier architecture firms, including Core Architects. The Commodore Building was built in 1929 and is listed on the City's heritage inventory. It sits at 41m in height. The site is currently a surface parking lot of 53 public spots. To the south of the site is a four-storey brick building at 77 Peter Street, and across the laneway to the south of that is the Hyatt Regency at 20 storeys. The proposal maintains an existing laneway between the Commodore Building and the existing surface parking lot, while adding an extra 4.5 m right of way creating a wide two lane alleyway that does double duty as a pedestrianized laneway which will contain a significant retail presence on the north side of Noir.
The design of the building continues a general pattern in the area of using existing low to mid-rise brick buildings as defacto podium structures in the broader sense, and inserting towers in the spaces between. The podium portion of this project rises to about the height of the Commodore building, and responds to the height of the stepbacks on the Hyatt to the south.
The ground floor plan shows the 6m wide laneway to the north of the site, and an extensive retail presence on the north and west facades. The remainder of the west facade is the occupied by the condo lobby, as well as the ramp up to the commercial parking. All residential loading and parking access is from the public laneway to the east side.
Starting at ground level on Peter Street, the first floor features extensive floor to ceiling glass and double height ceilings able to accommodate a wide variety of potential retail uses. Prominent in this rendering is the overhang on the north side of the tower which adds the extra 4.5 m right of way to the alley, as well as potentially providing for a more inviting weather protected public realm adjacent to the retail frontage.
Moving up the podium, the next three parking floors would be clad in glass with interspersed light strips designed to provide some uniformity of the total facade, particularly at night. The remaining floors of the podium section are clad in a light stone precast up to the 12th floor. On the south side of the podium, the cladding will be a simpler black graphite spandrel.
Asked why the development proposes to double the existing commercial parking spaces already in the surface lot, from about 53 to 103 spots, the proponent mentioned that commercial accessibility in the area is becoming increasingly strained by the lack of available parking spaces. Adam Vaughan, taking a neighbourhood-wide look at the question, also cited the local BIA which wants replacement parking to keep up with what is rapidly being removed. Many of the heritage commercial office buildings in the area rely on off-site public parking, and there is a desire to encourage more public parking at the expense of private parking for the area to sustain commercial viability.
While the height precedent was set long ago by the nearby Festival Tower building at 157 m, community members cited height concerns among their many questions. From speaking with Adam Vaughan after the meeting, it is clear that the City is looking for the proposal to conform to the guidelines that towers continue to step down in height the closer they get to Spadina, and is looking for the building to come down to about 136 m in height. The following shows how the current proposal would sit with its neighbouring buildings, both those already built and those in various stages of proposal and construction.
It was also learned at the meeting that both the Commodore building as well as the site of Noir share the same ownership. It was reveled that in earlier conceptual planning, there was thought of replacing the Commodore and the parking lot with two separate towers. Ultimately deciding to keep the heritage Commodore building in place, the current proposal for one tower comprises the density that might have been proposed for a wider two tower concept. Under this proposal, the Commodore continues to be protected for future use.
Right across the street from Noir Condos, Allied Properties REIT is proposing a 29-storey commercial office building for the corner site at Peter and King, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The building would stand 129m high and contain 800,000 square feet of space. Allied is widely known as a major property owner in Downtown Toronto, counting dozens of older heritage buildings among its portfolio of commercial office spaces. With this property, Allied is taking a different approach and proposing to build a completely new office building.
This proposal is interesting in the way it meets the street. A double height ground floor contains a significant retail presence. Two major through lobbies connect the east and west sides of the building at two points along its length, dividing the gorund level into thirds. The intention is to provide pedestrians with two convenient mid-block access routes between Peter Street and Charlotte Street via the alleyways behind the property.
To increase sidewalk capacity around the site, the development would sit behind sidewalks widened by 3m along the entire length of its facades on Peter and King Streets. The 3m ground floor setback will continue upwards through the second and third floor as well, before the tower overhangs back to the property line maximizing its floor plate square footage. Arguably, this is probably to keep the tower from rising higher than its proposed height of 129m. The 3m setback also rises in narrow sections along the Peter street facade, visually breaking up the mass of the building into narrower vertical sections.
The proposed development steps back three times before reaching its final height. Each of the rooftops will feature a green roof in keeping with Toronto's green roof guidelines for new construction, and will contain photovoltaic cells among other green features.
210 commercial parking spaces are proposed for this development. No lead tenant has been secured for the building. Vaughan cited this proposal amongst three others that will be adding significant commercial office space to the area in the coming years. Overall, this proposal was well received at the meeting as few questions or concerns were raised.