Negotiations are set to continue between David Mirvish and the City of Toronto regarding the ambitious and controversial Mirvish+Gehry development proposed for King Street West. The original proposal by Projectcore and designed by Gehry Partners calls for three towers at 82, 84 and 86 storeys, as well as an art gallery, shops and space for a new OCAD University campus.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Projectcore, Gehry PartnersMirvish+Gehry south elevation, image courtesy of Projectcore

The Toronto Planning Department issued a report on December 17 that recommended changes to the scale and scope of the project that were rejected by the developer. The report acknowledged that the proposed development has “design and architecture that serve to evoke and inspire”, yet listed several outstanding concerns including “lack of heritage conservation, retention of employment opportunities (especially in the cultural industries), building heights, overall density” and concern over pressure on infrastructure in the area. 

The report included several images doctored by the Planning Department. We are including them below. In each case 'Proposed' identifies the Projectcore official proposal, while 'Alternative Design Concept' illustrates the department's suggestions of how to better make the proposal fit in with City policies for the area. 

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Projectcore, Gehry PartnersRendering of Mirvish+Gehry proposed and alternative concept, image courtesy of City of Toronto

The developer’s position is that the impact of reducing the project to the degree to which the City has recommended would render the project unworkable. They also feel that increased pressure on traffic and infrastructure was not as great an issue as the City was representing since most of the new residents would work and shop within the downtown core and not be reliant on cars.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Projectcore, Gehry PartnersRendering of Mirvish+Gehry proposed and alternative elevations concept, image courtesy of City of Toronto

A motion by Councilor Adam Vaughan that a working group be established to facilitate continued negotiations between the Mirvish group and the City was passed by City Council. The panel will include the developer, City Planning Staff, local BIA, an urban planner and an independent architect among others. The group will host at least one public meeting forum to obtain community feedback and is expected to report any recommendations or potential settlement proposals to City Council no later than the March 20, 2014 meeting.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Projectcore, Gehry PartnersRendering of Mirvish+Gehry proposed and alternative street level, image courtesy of City of Toronto

The decision to strike the working group was received by Projectcore as a positive step in moving the process forward. In the meantime, Projectcore intends to pursue a hearing at the OMB should the negotiation process fail, and a pre-hearing meeting to identify interested parties at the OMB is scheduled for January 6, 2014.

Want to know more about the project? UrbanToronto's dataBase file for Mirvish+Gehry is linked below. Want to talk about it? You can join in on the lively discussion in the associated Projects & Construction Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.