Hoarding has gone up along the east side of Parliament Street just south of Front Street, and construction appears ready to begin on the site which was acquired as part of an unusual land swap between the developer and the City. The swap allowed the developer, 565910 Ontario Ltd., also known as Bresler, to take control of the parcel east of Parliament Street, while the city of Toronto took control of the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings located on the west side of Parliament Street.

Bresler, knowing that the City wanted to acquire the First Parliament site, sought to maximize the property's value by applying to rezone it for a 57-storey residential complex. Healthy opposition to the proposal from the neighbourhood, the broader heritage-minded community, and the Planning Department spurred negotiations for the land. The rezoning was not granted.

After years of work from councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale)Rollo Myers, manager of the Toronto office of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, and with the support of Glen Murray, MPP for Toronto Centre, the land swap was achieved in mid-2012, allowing the First Parliament site to be saved for a new public space. Plans are to replace the car wash and parking lots currently on site with a neighbourhood library and commemorative park or plaza.

Front and Parliament Data CentreFencing goes up around the site of the new Data Centre, image by rdaner.

Front and Parliament Data Centre site TorontoView looking northwest. First Parliament Site west side of Parliament Street, Data Centre on the east. Image by Razz

Rendering from the abandoned rezoning proposal for the First Parliament SiteRendering from the abandoned rezoning proposal for the First Parliament Site, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

The Data Centre project will be five storeys high and provide 22,000 m² or 236,000 square feet of space. It will have one level of underground parking. The design by WZMH Architects clads it entirely in a combination of smooth and ribbed porcelain panels and set upon a clear glass base. The patterned façades are meant to evoke early computer “punch card” technology. LEED Silver certification will be sought.

Parliament Street Data Centre by WZMH Architects for BreslerParliament Street Data Centre by WZMH Architects for Bresler

UrbanToronto's dataBase page for the building, linked below, includes another elevation. Feel free to comment about the building here, or join the conversation in the related Forum thread linked below.