The disassembly and demolition of a well-known heritage warehouse continues at the northeast corner of Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard in Downtown Toronto, part of the preliminary site prep work for West Block Est. 1928 and LakeShore Towers, a major mixed-use redevelopment from Loblaw CompaniesChoice Properties REITWittington Properties Limited and Concord Adex.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoLoblaws Warehouse captured from the northwest corner of Bathurst and Lake Shore, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

The 1928-built structure (hence the mouthful of a name given to the redevelopment) began life as the Loblaws Groceterias head office and warehouse, but was most recently home to The Daily Bread Food Bank until they vacated the space in 2000. Though the building was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2001, because the tenant-less warehouse fell into disuse over the next several years, the mortar in particular was deemed to be in too rough a shape to be rehabilitated without a disassembly taking place. 

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoHistoric details on the warehouse's exterior, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

While heritage advocates would prefer that buildings be restored in situ, the City of Toronto accepted that demolition could proceed if the exterior elements were disassembled and saved for reinstallation onto a new structure after cleaning. Work began in August 2015 with the intention of building a structure that would be home to new stores including a flagship Loblaws supermarket, plus head offices for the Joe Fresh company to be built above. To the north of the structure will be a pair of condominium towers.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoNorth facade of the warehouse, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

Over the past several months, crews have been in the process of dismantling, labeling, and cleaning approximately 100,000 bricks from the structure's exterior. Much of the exterior has been removed now, especially including a sizeable portion of the building's north facade.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoNorth facade of the warehouse, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

A view through the peeled away north facade reveals that the interior spaces of the former warehouse are a forest of concrete support columns, an interesting visual for passersby. These shots have been captured beautifully by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoView inside the gutted warehouse, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

The south facade fronting Lake Shore Boulevard has had its outermost layer of brick removed, and is now being stored for reassembly on the new structure. The underlying brick walls will be demolished.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoSouth facade of the warehouse, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

Along with the new flagship Loblaws location, an additional 88,000 square feet of retail will include a pharmacy, wine store, clothing boutique, and an 11,000 square foot restaurant. This commercial element of the development including the Joe Fresh offices has been tasked to architectsAlliance, with restoration of the historic facade the reposnsibility of heritage specialists ERA Architects.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoView from the underside of the Gardiner Expressway, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor G.L.17

Two Concord Adex-built condominium towers will rise at the north end of the site against the Gardiner Expressway, and will feature a cafe and public art installation meant to animate the underside of the elevated expressway. Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, the 37 and 41-storey buildings are being marketed as The LakeShore Towers. The two towers will be separated by a central courtyard featuring a pool and fountains.

West Block, Loblaws, architectsAlliance, Page + Steele, ERA Architects, TorontoRendering of the completed development, image courtesy of Concord Adex

Additional information and renderings can be found in the project's dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Visit the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.