As plans for a 45-storey purpose built rental tower at 700 Bay Street make their way through the City's planning process, further project details emerged at a public consultation Tuesday, helping shed some light on the proposed KingSett Capital development. 

700 Bay as viewed from Gerrard Street, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects700 Bay as viewed from Gerrard Street, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

The tower, designed by Quadrangle Architects, is proposed for the southeast corner of Elizabeth and Gerrard Streets. The full city block, from Elizabeth to Bay and Gerrard to Walton, is already occupied by the 24-storey LuCliff Place. The mixed-use LuCliff Place contains 223 residential rental units mid-block, over 16,000 square metres of office space at Bay and Gerrard, and 1,700 square metres of retail space at ground level. At the block's west end, the height of the complex dips to only two storeys; it is here where the building is proposed to sit, as an addition to LuCliff Place, physically attaching itself to the existing structure.

The existing conditions at LuCliff Place, image by Quadrangle ArchitectsThe existing conditions at LuCliff Place, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

An additional 252 rental units are proposed, complemented by over 1,500 square metres of indoor and outdoor amenity space, including a rooftop patio on the existing structure. The unconventional proposal would result in a loss of views from one bedroom for residents living within the 22 west-facing three-bedroom units. If the new tower is built, these existing suites would be reclassified as two bedroom plus den units. The loss of amenity space during construction was an issue of concern raised by tenants during the public consultation, who also shared questions about accessibility and affordability. 

Base of tower, including retail, commercial, amenity space, image by Quadrangle The base of the proposed tower, including retail, commercial and amenity space, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

Ground level retail with commercial office space on the second storey is envisioned for the site. Amenity space is proposed for the double-height third floor, an indoor space that will be shared by tenants of both the existing building and the addition. This is where the connection between the two buildings will be established. 

Ground floor plan for the complex, image courtesy of Quadrangle ArchitectsGround floor plan for the complex, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

276 parking spaces and 544 bicycle spaces are proposed, an asset sure to be taken advantage of by the cyclists who use the Gerrard and Bay bicycle lanes bordering the site. Internal loading access will be provided off Walton Street. 

The tapered piers and roof of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle ArchitectsThe tapered piers and roof of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

Sami Kazemi, Senior Associate at Quadrangle Architects, provided us with some additional information about the architecture of the tower. "The proposed ratio of solid wall to glazed wall achieves a balance between providing ample natural light to the units, while still providing the desired thermal efficiency of the envelope," said Kazemi. "As for the expression of the tower, we wanted to emphasize the vertical slenderness of the tower, so we utilized vertical piers that taper to create lightness at the top and base. We then angled the line where the tapering starts and ends, emphasizing the northwest corner at the base and creating a distinctive roofline at the top."

The visual expression of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle ArchitectsThe visual expression of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

"This is not a cookie cutter development and design," said Craig Hunter of HUNTER & Associates Ltd., Quadrangle's planner on the 700 Bay file. "This is not an obvious intensification opportunity when you look at the site. But finding vacant parking lots and other intensification opportunities is becoming increasingly rare."

The articulated roof of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle ArchitectsThe articulated roof of the tower, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

Following presentations, audience members were invited to participate in several roundtable discussions. With each table dealing with a different topic, from urban design to transportation, a multitude of ideas and considerations emerged. Few audible concerns were raised over the height, massing and density of the proposal, issues which Councillor Wong-Tam believed deserved more scrutiny. Rather, the main issues expressed by those in attendance lay in the building's contribution to the public realm. 

The view of the proposed tower (green) from City Hall, image by QuadrangleThe view of the proposed tower (green) from City Hall, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

At a height of 145 metres, concerns over the protection of City Hall's view corridor from Nathan Phillips Square were raised. Important sightlines to major Toronto landmarks including City Hall and the Ontario Legislature are given protection under the Tall Building Design Guidelines and the Official Plan, though 3D modelling presented has determined the impact would be minimal. 

Roundtable on urban design, image by Marcus MitanisRoundtable on urban design, image by Marcus Mitanis

Traffic calming measures were considered as an option to curb the intensity of vehicular travel, including the placement of bollards. A full closure of Walton Street, allowing for the introduction of farmers markets and street festivals, was also suggested by some who thought the area needed vibrancy and animation. One suggestion was to remove the Gerrard bike lane to allow for a wider sidewalk, a proposal that planner Giulio Cescato thought would not be in the public interest. An opposite viewpoint also arose, recommending that the bike lanes on Gerrard be enhanced. On the same train of thought, many believed that a repaving of Gerrard would benefit motorists and cyclists alike. 

Site plan for the complex, image courtesy of Quadrangle ArchitectsSite plan for the complex, image courtesy of Quadrangle Architects

The proposal's proximity to the Enwave venting stack, located just south, was deemed "problematic" for any building above 33 storeys. These problems have been mitigated in other developments however, and the proposed building does not include balconies. 

Sami Kazemi of Quadrangle talks urban design, image by Marcus MitanisSami Kazemi of Quadrangle discusses urban design issues with the roundtable, image by Marcus Mitanis

700 Bay joins a mass of other recently proposed rental towers, including the Mirvish Village redevelopment plans announced Tuesday, that are set to make a dent in the rental housing market in Toronto. The project is still in the very early stages of the planning process, with several more opportunities to provide input on the development. 

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