Plans were announced by real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge and the provincially-run GTA transit agency Metrolinx on Tuesday to include a new bus terminal at the site of an integrated transit, office and retail complex at 45-141 Bay Street. The current bus terminal located between Yonge and Bay sits north of the rail tracks, while its new location will be south of the tracks at 45 Bay, which is presently a large parking lot across from the Air Canada Centre.
To be developed by Hines, two 48-storey Wilkinson Eyre-designed office towers will rise above 45 Bay and 141 Bay. Each tower has a gross leasable area of 126,500 square metres and will be designed to meet LEED Platinum standards. Metrolinx has sold the site of the current terminal at 141 Bay to Ivanhoé Cambridge in exchange for a 99-year lease at 45 Bay, where the new terminal will be relocated. Besides GO buses, the new terminal will also eventually serve intercity coach services which currently call in at Dundas and Bay Streets.
"Projects like 45-141 Bay Street are an excellent example of what can happen when partners work together to invest in our communities," said Ontario's Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca. "Today's announcement of a new GO Bus Terminal at Union Station with commercial space above it aligns perfectly with our government's plan to create transit hubs integrated with sustainable employment developments."
In addition to the new bus terminal, the two towers will be connected via an elevated public park above the rail corridor which has already been dubbed 'Skypark'. The podiums of the towers will also contain retail and amenities including a fitness centre and food services.
“Our plan is to build a major, next-generation office tower complex designed to meet LEED® Platinum certification, with all the expected features of a AAA property," said Paul Gleeson, Executive Vice President of Global Development at Ivanhoé Cambridge. "Building on several years of experience in developing first-class office buildings in North America and Europe, we are in a position to leverage our capabilities to deliver a superior project that contributes positively to the Toronto urban fabric and skyline. 45-141 Bay St. will be an architectural landmark of downtown Toronto, while offering best-in-market premises for our tenants.”
The first phase of the project will be the construction of 45 Bay, which includes the new GO Bus Terminal at its base. Construction is scheduled to start as soon as Spring 2015 with completion expected within the last few months of 2018. The second phase at 141 Bay will begin 2018/2019 and will also be completed about three years later. The complex will be connected to the PATH network upon completion and will become a hub for intercity bus services, VIA Rail, TTC and the new Union-Pearson Express service.
New renderings of the development have been released and there are some noticeable differences from the early images that were leaked by UrbanToronto. The height of the tower at 141 Bay has been reduced and now matches the height of 45 Bay. Plans for a third tower above the Dominion Public Building have been axed, which should please those who had concerns about the architectural integrity of the historic structure.
One of the most visible changes is the significant scaling back of the space above the rail corridor which now features the park alone rather than a continuation of the integrated office and retail space featured in both towers. That said, the unique design of the towers themselves, including the cross bracing, remain.
The complex will become a reality soon enough, but until then, Ivanhoé Cambridge has compiled a video depicting a general overview of the site:
Exciting times are ahead for this underutilized plot of land that has managed to escape development until now. This is a project to watch as the boundary between Downtown and the waterfront becomes even less firm.
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