With another year of fast-paced development now behind us, Toronto's skyline has continued to grow taller and more dense. At the end of last year, we published an overview of 2015's completed residential projects, culminating in a readers' poll of the year's best new buildings. We also looked at the some of the most exciting high-rise tower and multi-building proposals coming thorugh the pipeline, previewing the projects that could re-shape our urban landscape in years to come if they receive planning approval. Now, as we kick off 2016, our annual Growth to Watch For series returns, giving you a glimpse of the ongoing developments that will make the biggest impact this year, focusing on the construction sites you see dotted around Toronto's vast landscape. 

Starting off our 2016 series, we bring you an overview of notable projects in the Entertainment District, beginning with the towers that are expected to reach completion within the year. We also take a look at the developments that are set to make construction progress and break ground, culminating in a quick overview of some of the upcoming projects could pop up later in the year if things go smoothly!

Completing and Topping Off

Now almost complete, Freed's Thompson Residences have brought an eye-catching presence to King West with its textured facade of alternately extruded and recessed forms. Designed by Montreal's Saucier + Perrotte Architects, the 15-storey project (located just east of Bathurst) is expected to be completed by the early Spring. Belying its relatively modest height, the building is adding a substantial 408 units to the growing area. 

Thompson Residences, Toronto, by Freed, Saucier + PerrotteThompson Residences in late August of 2015, image by Craig White

The Brant Park is set to welcome its first residents in 2016. Located on Adelaide west of Spadina,  Lamb Dev Corp's Brant Park is now nearly finished, with the project expected to be reach completion in the coming months. Designed by architectsAlliance, the building has already asserted its neo-modernist presence on the streetscape, with the 11-storey edifice's 243 units soon to be occupied by residents.

The Brant Park, Lamb Development Corp., architectsAllianceA view of The Brant Park in November of 2015, image by Jack Landau

To the west, the 32-storey King Charlotte, named for its location north of King on Charlotte Street, is also designed by architectsAlliance. The tower, developed by Lamb, Niche, and Fortress RDI, is characterized by its sleek high-quality curtain wall; a relative rarity in condo construction. The project makes full use of its tight lot to deliver new density to the area, with King Charlotte's 232 units expected to be fully complete soon. 

King Charlotte, by Lamb, Niche, Fortress, architectsAllianceKing Charlotte in late 2015, image by Marcus Mitanis

On the east side of the Entertainment District, meanwhile, Aspen Ridge's Quadrangle-designed Studio and Studio 2 on Richmond is now also nearing the latter stages of construction. The 31-storey Studio—the two-building development's shorter tower—is mostly complete, with many of the suites already occupied. On the other side of the shared podium, meanwhile, the 41-storey Studio 2 is undergoing the latter stages of cladding installation, with occupancy beginning later in the year. 

Thompson Residences, Toronto, by Freed, Saucier + PerrotteStudio (left) and Studio2 in late November of 2015, image by Marcus Mitanis

A pair of high-rise towers between John and Peter Streets will also see occupancy this year, joining the first phase of the highly lauded QRC West office complex which was completed at the end of 2015. Perhaps the most conspicuous of the two is the Teeple Architects-designed Picasso Condos, which is already proving a highly distinctive presence in the local skyline. Mattamy/Monarch and Goldman's 39-storey tower is an aesthetic departure from much of Toronto's recent built forms, exchanging monochrome glazing for a colourfully expressive cladding pattern. The 409-unit tower is set to welcome its first residents this year.

Picasso Condos, Toronto, by Monarch, Goldman, Teeple ArchitectsPicasso Condos in late 2015, image by Jimmy Wu

Slightly west of Picasso, the 36-storey Tableau Condominiums has also made its presence felt in the area. Designed by Wallman Architects, the grand columns of the building's 4-storey "tabletop" podium and the tower's slightly angular form lend Tableau a distinctive presence. Developed by Urban Capital, Malibu Investments, and ALIT, Tableu's exterior cladding has now progressed most of the way up the tower, with occupancy coming in 2016.

Tableau Condominiums, by Urban Capital, Malibu Investments, ALIT, Wallman Tableau in late November of 2015, image by Marcus Mitanis

Slightly south of Tabeau, Menkes' Core Architects-designed 87 Peter (formerly known as Noir Condos) will progress significantly in 2016, potentially even topping off by the end of the year. The 49-storey tower, located on the southeast corner of Peter and Adelaide, soon to come out of the ground, is among the taller projects currently underway in the area, and could rise to final height of 505 feet by year's end.

87 Peter Condos, Toronto, MenkesProgress on 87 Peter Street as of November, image by UT Forum contributor salsa

East along Adelaide (and seen behind 87 Peter in the image above, while at centre in the image below), another Core Architects design will top off mid-year, with Lifetime DevelopmentsThe Bond set to add another 369 units of residential density to the burgeoning Entertainment District community. To rise 42 storeys, the Lifetime development is slated to make major progress this year, already reaching a height of almost 20 storeys by the end of 2015.

The Bond, Toronto, by Lifetime Developments, Core ArchitectsThe Bond rising on Adelaide Street in late 2015, image by Marcus Mitanis

A number of sizeable Entertainment District projects will also reach completion this year, including Fabric Condos which is targeting a Spring 2016 completion. Another Menkes development, the 17-storey building is currently under construction just west of Spadina on Richmond Street. Designed by Giannone Petriconne Associates, the building with temporarily closed-in windows is filling a conspicuous gap in the street wall, while also adding 174 units of residential density to the area. 

Fabrik, Toronto, by Menkes, Giannone Petriconne AssociatesLooking west at Fabrik on Richmond Street, image by UT Forum contributor G.L.17

Two significant side-by-side Entertainment District projects will complete this year. Plaza's Musée Condos—located east of Bathurst on Adelaide—is also slated for a 2016 completion, with the Quadrangle-designed building recently topped off at 17 storeys. Cladding installation is progressing up the building, and the tower's exterior aesthetic is now taking shape.

Musée Condos, Toronto, by Plaza, Quadrangle ArchitectsMusée in December of 2015, image by UT Forum contributor Jasonzed

Directly neighbouring Musée, Harhay and Carttera's oneeleven Condominiums is bringing another Core Architects design to the Entertainment District, this time on Bathurst Street. Unlike the sleek and slender 87 Peter and The Bond to the east, oneeleven's playful formal irregularity gives the building a somewhat unorthodox aesthetic. As seen with Saucier + Perotte's Thompson Residences, the use of extruding rectilinear volumes adds distinctive texture to the building's exterior. The 17-storey, 255-unit building is currently targeted for a late 2016 completion date. 

oneeleven Condominiums, Harhay, Carterra, Core Architectsoneeleven Condominiums in early December, 2015, image by UT Forum contributor neuhaus

Finally, Lifetime and Ink Entertainment's Bisha Hotel and Residences will top off this year on Blue Jays Way south of King. Designed by Wallman Architects, the 44-storey hotel tower—named for the childhood moniker of INK Entertainment founder Charles Khabouth—targets a 2017 completion date, though the building is already beginning to make an impact on the area skyline. 

Aisha condo and hotel Toronto, Wallman Architects for Lifetime DevelopmentsBisha, as of mid-December, by UT Forum contributor G.L. 17

More Construction

Besides the numerous projects expected to reach completion or top off by the end of the year, a significant number of Entertainment District developments will see either continued progress or construction launch in 2016. Just across the road and north of Bisha at King and Blue Jays Way, the Greenland Group's King Blue is expected see heritage preservation, excavation, and the pouring of foundation levels this year. Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group, King Blue's 48 and 44 storey towers—which broke ground late last year—are still some way from impacting the skyline, with the buildings expected to rise throughout 2017 as well. 

King Blue, Toronto, by Greenland Group, Page + Steele / IBI GroupA rendering of King Blue, looking southeast, image courtesy of Greenland Group

Further west along King Street, Allied Properties REIT and RioCan's King Portland Centre (previously known as 620 King West) is expected to start construction this year. The mixed-use complex will rise from a red brick podium, incorporating laneways and woonerfs throughout the site, as well as a green roof atop the 15-storey building. Hariri Pontarini's design, which has been well received by our readership, will begin to make its presence felt in 2016 as construction starts. The project will bring new retail, office space, and 116 residential units to the market.

King Portland Centre, Toronto, by Allied REIT, RioCan, Hariri Pontarini Looking northwest at the King Portland Centre, image courtesy of Allied/RioCan

Lamb and Fortress' Harlowe Condos is also expected to begin construction this year, with the 13-storey Core Architects-designed building set to feature 222 residential suites. Located on Richmond just east of Bathurst, the design is inspired by the warehouses and industrial buildings that long characterized the area, with Core Architects tailoring the design language of industrial architecture to suit modern residential needs. 

Harlowe Condos, Toronto, by Lamb, Fortress, Core ArchitectsHarlowe Condos, looking east on Richmond Street, image courtesy of Lamb/Fortress

The first phase of the Wallman-designed Minto Westside may start construction this year and begin to assert its presence along the Bathurst corridor. Located at Bathurst and Front, the Minto Group building's cutaways and precast grid armature suggest a contemporary Dutch influence, with the bold design certain to become a distinctly recognizable presence in the area.

Minto Westside, Toronto, by the Minto Group, Wallman ArchitectsA look at Minto Westside's distinctive form, image courtesy of the Minto Group

With the impressive QRC West now open, the project's second phase is also expected to begin construction this year. The smaller second (and final) phase of the Allied REIT development will see a mid-rise addition negotiate the space between the modern office tower and the comparatively low-rise streetscape of Queen West to the north. Both phases of the project are designed by Sweeny &CO Architects in collaboration with Stephenson Engineering.

QRC West, Toronto, by Allied Properties REIT, Sweeny &Co ArchitectsThe future phase of QRC West is seen in the foreground, image courtesy of Allied REIT

Future Growth to Watch For

2016 is shaping up to be a big year for development in the Entertainment District, with a glut of projects expected to contribute to the area's ongoing densification. However, with some of the largest and most transformative developments planned for the area set for a later time-frame, we can expect substantially more construction activity in the near future. In particular, some of Toronto's most ambitious—and tallest—projects are expected to begin sales this year, including the landmark Mirvish + Gehry development on King Street, as well as The Well, a seven-building mixed-use community on Front Street just west of Spadina. Theatre District Condos, PJ Condos, and 330 Richmond (formerly Gloss Condos) are also expected to launch into sales this year, gearing up to contribute further density to the area. 

A large number of Entertainment District projects are also currently making their way through the planning process, including the two large towers—350 Adelaide West and Carlyle Condos—recently announced on Peter Street. Projects like the Ace Hotel, 19 Duncan, 401-415 King West Condos, 15-35 Mercer, and 400 Front Street West, are also currently in the midst of the City's planning process. A 56-storey proposal at 217 Adelaide West—just west of Mirvish + Gehry—is now slated to be reviewed by the OMB. 388 King West has already been approved, meanwhile, though the project targets a later construction timeline. A high-rise proposal at 40 Widmer Street has also been recommended for approval, and is slated to be reviewed by City Council in February. 

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Over the coming weeks, we will continue our Growth to Watch For series with frequent updates. Each story will present a comprehensive overview of one of Toronto's development nodes. To find out more about individual developments, check out the dataBase files for each project, linked below. Want to share your thoughts on the projects that are re-making the Entertainment District? Leave a comment in the space below, or join in the ongoing discussions on our associated Forum threads. 


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