New construction continues to transform Regent Park. The mix includes reconnected streets, an injection of market condominiums, modern TCHC accommodations, sparkling new and renovated community arts, recreation, and educational facilities. Their appearance over the last few years means that the area's battered reputation is fast becoming a thing of the past.
The first phase of One Park Place, The Daniels Corporation’s fourth market condominium in Regent Park, features a 25-storey Hariri Pontarini-designed tower rising from a podium which combines retail, office and residential uses atop two levels of underground parking. We stopped by the white aluminum, glass, and brick-clad development at the southwest corner of Dundas St. East and the newly minted Regent Park Boulevard earlier this week to take a look at the project and its recent construction progress.
At ground level, we take notice of the red brick-finished podium which pays homage to the similarly clad Peter Dickinson-designed apartment blocks that once occupied the site. The remaining Dickinson buildings behind us will soon come down too: retrofitting them to meet current Ontario Building Code standards and today's expectations has been deemed next to impossible.
One Park Place's most talked-about feature is the cladding of its tower, which eschews the floor-to-celing wall-to-wall windows which we see on most new Toronto condominiums, for a cladding system of which only 45% of the building's exterior is vision glass. Here the bulk of the cladding is insulated wall, presented on the exterior as white back-painted glass spandrel panels framed by aluminum mullions, the vertical ones of which extend five inches from the wall. The mullions give depth and definition to the exterior, while the increased wall area makes for a more energy efficient building.
One Park Place's white aluminum cladding, image by Jack Landau
The inside of the units are still full of light, while giving residents the a lot more wall space to hang art on. This unit remains unfinished of course, with much still to be done including finishing the ceiling.
Another major feature of One Park Place is its large podium, including the expansive rooftop garden and deck areas. With only the first phase of the project constructed so far, we can see that the podium amenity areas are going to be very roomy.
It is still a little rough around the edges, so here is a rendering for comparison, looking the opposite direction.
One floor above, One Park Place will offer residents gardening plots. Daniels has seen demand for these increase in the their most recent projects, so One Park Place will have the most garden plots in a Daniels project yet. They will allow building residents to grow their own fresh produce of course, an activity usually reserved for owners of single family homes with yards.
Our visit had to include the upper floors naturally. The following two images show future unit spaces on the 24th floor, and give you an idea of what the back of the insulated wall sections look like before the drywall goes up.
Arriving at the roof, we are greeted by a reflective metal-clad mechanical box, as well as a last chance opportunity to take in the wide-open rooftop views before the cladding system is installed on the projecting fins; this uppermost level will be surrounded by the same vision glass/spandrel glass/aluminum mullion mix as the rest of the tower.
To the north, the view is dominated by the 1947-built John E. Hoare Jr.-designed low-rise apartments of Regent Park North, soon to be redeveloped in subsequent phases of the Regent Park Revitalization Plan.
At the bottom of the photo below, we can see the recently completed Regent Park Aquatic Centre, as well as the site of the future 6-acre community park to its left. The aquatic centre's brown roof will soon be green, having been recently planted.
Looking to the northwest, we can see the under-construction 78-storey Aura dominating the skyline of the Yonge and College area, with the recently completed Sick Kids Research Tower visible to the far left.
Though the views in all directions were beautiful to say the least, the view looking southwest towards the downtown core would most accurately be described with one word—iconic. The hazy atmospheric conditions that day combined with the conical tapered skyline of our downtown core, evokes an image similar to that of a distant mountain looming over a town.
Looking down we see the recently reopened play field at Nelson Mandela Park Public School in use for a game. The area just south of the playing field and adjacent to the school will soon be the new home of the Regent Park Community Centre.
Looking straight down to the south we get a look at the pit where the second phase of One Park Place is now under construction. Let's head down for a closer look…
The second phase will feature a 30-storey south tower, taller than but matching the design of the north tower, while the development's podium will be extended similarly. While phase two is constructed, the cinder block walls that temporarily seal off the first phase, visible in the image below, will come down to unite the entire development into one.
One Park Place has been designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification, employing various energy saving features. The building’s first residents are tentatively set to move in to the now topped-off north tower in October of this year.
For additional information and renderings, please visit the One Park Place dataBase page, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Head over to the related forum thread, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided below.