At the Concord CityPlace presentation centre, the location where two soaring towers are set to change the landscape, Concord Adex held an information session on December 10 outlining their ambitious plans for the site. As the final phase in the huge master-planned community stretching from Bathurst Street to the Rogers Centre, the site at 'Block 22' may soon be occupied by two towers 75 and 64 storeys tall. Just last week, UrbanToronto released renderings for the plot of land at Spadina and Bremner that has awaited development since Concord CityPlace began construction over a decade ago. 

The towers will be the last and tallest of CityPlace, image by Concord AdexThe soaring towers will be the last and tallest phase of CityPlace, image courtesy of Concord Adex

Vice President of Development at Concord Adex, Gabriel Leung, was on hand to host the information session which was also attended by several stakeholders, including project designer Mansoor Kazerouni of Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects and local Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy. 

Councillor Joe Cressy and Concord's Gabriel Leung, image by Marcus MitanisWard 20 Councillor Joe Cressy and Vice President of Development at Concord Gabriel Leung, image by Marcus Mitanis

The two slender towers rise from a shared 10-storey podium that is filled to the brim with a range of uses.

A common critique of Concord CityPlace has been the lack of large, flexible commercial spaces. This project will bring retail to the forefront by wrapping approximately 25,000 square feet of restaurants and shops around the ground floor edges of the property, aiming to attract passersby with open and inviting spaces. Noting that the area has been deemed "gastronomically challenged" by some, Joanne Vacheresse, Manager of Commercial Leasing at Concord Adex, envisions a attractive eateries at all corners of the development, and particularly in the southeast corner where the splay created by the curve in Bremner Boulevard lends itself easily for a large patio.

Another possible occupant near the northwest corner could be a sports retailer, appropriate given the proximity of the site to the Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre. To complement the retail spaces, Concord Adex plans to widen the sidewalks to provide ample space for pedestrians and street life. 

Retail will wrap around the podium, including on Bremner, image by Concord AdexRetail will wrap around the podium, including on Bremner as pictured, image courtesy of Concord Adex

The second storey of the podium will be home to about 43,000 square feet of office space, followed by residences and a dougle-height amenity area which includes a basketball court and a cantilevered pool hovering above Spadina. The podium is topped off by an extensive manicured greenspace—25,000 square feet in size, exceedingly rare for a Downtown site—split over two levels, providing lots of outdoor recreation space including a dedicated area for dog lovers to exercise their pets. A pet spa will also be included as part of approximately 25,000 square feet of indoor amenity space. 

The Blue Jays Way side of the 10-storey podium, image by Concord AdexThe Blue Jays Way side of the 10-storey podium, image courtesy of Concord Adex

Vehicular access to the towers will be through an entrance on Blue Jays Way, just underneath the central glazed amenity spaces that cascade downwards and inwards from the rooftop recreational areas. Underground parking will be provided in the form of approximately 600 residential spaces and 115 visitor stalls. Car share parking spots are also being proposed. 

Fooftop public art stretches down each tower corner, image by Concord AdexThe rooftop public art stretches down each corner of the towers, image courtesy of Concord Adex

One of the most recognizable features of the development is its public art contribution. Traditionally, public art is situated on the ground, unattached to the tower. This proposal aims to integrate the art by running panels along each indented corner. The proposed artworks would travel from the podium to the mechanical section of both towers, making it visible not just from up close, but from across the city. Though the panels are not currently intended to be illuminated, the type of material used may help ensure the artwork catches any available surrounding light. The exact nature of the artwork has not yet been decided, but the renderings clearly show the potential impact it would have on the design of the tower as a whole. Public Art Management, led by Karen and Ben Mills, will be the responsible consulting firm for the project. 

The development towers over each previous project, image by Marcus MitanisThe development will tower over each previous CityPlace project, image by Marcus Mitanis

Above the mechanical portion of the towers, a private residents' viewing gallery and lounge will offer dramatic views of Concord CityPlace and beyond. The gallery will be positioned differently in each tower, ensuring views that are not captured by one tower will be in the other. 

With approximately 1,500 units in the two towers and podium, the development will bring plenty of new residents to the neighbourhood. Ten percent of the total number of units will offer three bedrooms at about 900 square feet, while fifteen percent will be "barrier-free" to accommodate persons with disabilities. Five elevators will service all floors in each tower, with separate elevators for the podium.

The information session was hosted by Concord Adex, image by Marcus MitanisThe information session was hosted by Concord Adex, image by Marcus Mitanis

Following presentations outlining the project, members of the audience were invited to ask questions and voice their concerns. The height and scale of the project was not an issue that came into question, though the accompanying problems, including traffic, were raised. The design of the project was mentioned, with one audience member criticizing the boxy architecture, noting that several other developments within Concord CityPlace and around the city are similar in massing. Kazerouni replied, stating that several towers within CityPlace are unique in size, scale and shape. He also noted that the main focus of the development is its hefty podium and although the proposed towers are rectangular, they will provide comfortable, functional and livable spaces for residents. 

Model inside presentation centre puts site in context, image by Marcus MitanisThe scale model inside the presentation centre puts the site in context, image by Marcus Mitanis

Condominiums within Concord CityPlace are known for their floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which provide great views, but are not ideal insulators. In January 2012, Ontario's new Building Code went into effect. The new OBC legally binds developments, including condominiums, to a strict set of energy efficiency standards outlined in ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Following the prescriptive path, no more than 40% of the building can be vision glass, a significant departure from the current average window-to-wall ratio of 70%. The performance path provides an alternative, which many developers will likely seek, that requires extensive energy modelling to meet prescribed energy savings targets. Glazing will still be allowed, though its quality and energy performance will have to meet these new rules. This development will be one of the first major projects to go through these rigorous new tests. 

A rezoning application is required to amend the current height and density limits. As a result, official marketing, including the name of the tower and unit prices, will not begin for some time. If all goes smoothly, construction is anticipated for a 2017 or 2018 start. 

For more information about the 'Block 22' development, visit our dataBase file, linked below. To get involved in the discussion, check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.