It came barreling out of the gate a few months ago, but The One, an 80-storey retail and residential complex planned for the southwest corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets in Toronto's Bloor-Yorkville area is now evolving as plans for the building are taking into consideration various planning issues and local resident concerns.

The One, Toronto Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersOriginal plan for The One, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

When high-quality renderings of the Foster + Partners design were first released to the public in March by Mizrahi Developments, many people thought they were seeing the final design of the skyscraper, or at least they wanted it to be the final plan as the striking exoskeleton-traced exteriors of the building stood out from the bulk of Toronto's rapidly growing forest of towers. Following a public meeting last week at the Park Hyatt Hotel, Sam Mizrahi, President of Mizrahi Developments wants people to know that the plans at the moment are a work in progress, and that what they are seeing now is not the final design for the building.

The One original ground floor plan, Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersOriginal Ground Floor Plan of The One, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

The latest version is driven by one fundamental change to the shape and location of the tower. Instead of a rectangle twice as long north-south as it was wide, the new shape is a square. The ground floor plans—the initial one is shown above and the revised plan is below—detail the differences.

The large forecourt on Bloor is now planned at half the earlier size and now moved west to accommodate the new square plan for the tower. This also moves the retail podium to south of the tower on Yonge instead of west of the tower on Bloor. The first eight storeys of the development are planned as double-height retail and restaurant spaces with some outdoor terrace space overlooking the intersection and surrounding cityscape. The former retail podium plan included a dramatic eight-storey high atrium, but it is not known yet what type of vertical space might be offered in its place.

While the sidewalk on Bloor would be insignificantly narrower in the new plan (7 metres instead of 7.8 metres), the Yonge Street sidewalk would virtually double in width close to Bloor from 4.7 metres to 9 metres, and then would continue at its normal width for the south two-fifths of the site as plans now are to preserve the heritage facade of 774-776 Yonge.

The One revised ground floor plan, Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersRevised Ground Floor Plan of The One, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Besides saving the heritage facade, by making the tower square, The One would now be further from the condominium tower to the southwest known as The Uptown, no longer crowding the east views for residents in that building.

The One, Toronto Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersThe One in relation to neighbours, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

The rendering below shows the retained heritage facade…

The One and the heritage facade, Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersView from the southeast towards The One and the heritage facade, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

while the next rendering emphasizes the new sidewalk width and landscaping possibilities under consideration for Yonge Street. 

Sidewalk beside The One, Toronto Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersLooking south on the Yonge Street sidewalk beside The One, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

What the renderings do not currently show are any diagonal beams of the proposed exoskeleton. This is where Mizrahi emphasizes that these renderings should be considered indicative of the proposed massing now, and not of the final architectural expression. Mizrahi is still offering clear-span high-ceilinged retail spaces to international retailers looking for destination retail spaces, and these spaces will not be interrupted by an elevator core. As there will be an elevator core serving the residential floors above, the loads from the elevator core must still be transferred to 8 super-columns around the retail base's perimeter. This means we have yet to see the engineering solution to accomplish the load transfer, and how that may be expressed architecturally on the square tower's exterior. Mizrahi is still promising a Foster + Partners landmark design here.

The One, Toronto Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersMassing study for the Yonge Street frontage of The One, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Underground, Mizrahi plans to connect The One to the Bloor-Yorkville PATH network in two places; one arm which extends north to the connection from the Holt Renfrew Centre to 2 Bloor West, and one extending northeast under the Bloor-Yonge intersection to connect with the Hudson's Bay Centre near the entrance to Bloor-Yonge subway station.

PATH connections, The One, Toronto Mizrahi Developments, Foster + PartnersPATH connections in the Bloor-Yorkville area, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

While nothing is written in stone yet, indications are that The One will likely get permission to rise to 329.5 metres high at the peak of its elevator overrun at the very top of the building. That's another 24 metres taller than the Mirvish +Gehry proposal on King Street, and would make it Canada's tallest building. There are many considerations to take into account before planning permissions are attained however, and we will keep you up-to-date on the evolution of the plans as they progress.

Want to see more renderings of the initial plan? Choose the dataBase below to see more, or to get in on the discussion, choose the associated Forum thread link. Of course, you can always leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

To request more info directly from The One click here