Choice Properties REIT and Wittington Properties Limited unveiled updated plans for the Loblaws Groceterias building at Lake Shore and Bathurst today during a ceremony honouring the preservation of the first brick taken from the building’s facade.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsWest Block development banner revealed, image by Craig White

The first brick ceremony included remarks from development partners Tony Grossi, President of Wittington Properties Limited; John Morrison, President and CEO of Choice Properties; Terry Hui, CEO of Concord Pacific Group of Companies, the parent company of Concord Adex; as well as Mayor John Tory and Councillor Joe Cressy. In his speech, John Morrison described the beginning of the restoration process, in which the building's stones and nearly 100,000 bricks will be dismantled, labeled, stored in Port Credit, cleaned, and eventually reassembled on site. Mayor John Tory praised the mixed-use nature of the project and credited the site with welcoming visitors to the city from Billy Bishop Airport.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsMayor Tory addresses crowd at First Brick Ceremony, image by Craig White

W. Galen Weston and Galen Weston were also present to receive the first brick on behalf of Loblaw Companies Limited. 

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsFirst brick preserved at West Block, image by Craig White

The preservation of the first brick was followed by the unveiling of a new banner that features the project's new name and logo: West Block, established 1928. This new logo is a nod to the building's history, as Loblaws first opened the doors to their headquarters and warehouse in this building in 1928. They continued to occupy the building until the 1970s, when Loblaws moved into a new headquarters on St. Clair Avenue East and The Daily Bread Food Bank took over the space. The warehouse has been vacant since the Food Bank left in 2000, shortly before the larger southern structure received heritage designation in 2001.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsWest Block promotional lunchbox and hardhat, image by Jack Landau

When we last checked in with this site in 2013, demolition had just finished on the northern structure. The new plans for West Block development include office and retail space designed by the original site architects at architectsAlliance, updated residential tower design by Page + Steele Architects, and heritage restoration of the original Art Deco facade by ERA Architects. Today’s renderings reveal some significant changes from the plans released in 2013.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsRendering of aerial view of West Block from the southwest, image courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

The updated plan includes approximately 22,760 square metres of retail and office space in a seven-storey building housed in the reconstructed warehouse, 876 residential units in two towers (37 and 41 storeys) on the northern side of the site, a planned public art installation and café under the Gardiner Expressway, and approximately 600 underground parking spaces.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsRendering of public space under the Gardiner Expressway at West Block, image courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

The retail space will be anchored by a 4,645 square metre Loblaws Great food store that will serve a neighbourhood that has seen rapid residential growth in recent years. West Block is currently slated to open in Spring of 2019.

West Block, Loblaws, ArchitectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA ArchitectsRendering of West Block from the southwest corner of Lake Shore and Bathurst, image courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

Visit our dataBase page for the project at the link below to find more information about the site proposal as it evolves. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided on this page.