New density could be coming to Toronto's King Street East. Immediately east of the Financial District and on the north side of the street between Victoria and Toronto streets, is the site of a proposed tower by Larco Investments. While the heritage-designated "Quebec Bank" building—built in 1886—at the corner of King and Toronto is set to be retained, the 1960s office buildings west of the historic structure would be demolished. In their place, a 33-storey architectsAlliance-designed tower would add 219 rental apartments to the site at 34-50 King East, with the lower 9 storeys of the development slated to replace the lost office space.

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceThe Quebec Back Building at 50 King East, with 36 and 34 King to its left, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

According to the planning rationale prepared by Urban Strategies Inc., the heritage structure would be restored to a state more closely resembling its original condition. The 5-storey building's "stone cornice roof feature"—now missing—is intended to be restored, while the street-level storefront would be returned to its 1947 condition. As detailed in the Heritage Impact Statement by ERA Architects, office space would continue to the building's upper levels, while the postmodern glazing on the building's upper levels is set to be replaced by "new sash windows based on archival documentation."

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceThe heritage building would see its original cornicing and sash windows restored, image via submission to City of Toronto

Neighbouring the Quebec Bank building—the western half of which is actually a 1947-built addition replicating the original structure's "Renaissance Palazzo"-inspired architecture—two office buildings fronting King street would be demolished. At the corner of King and Victoria, the 12-storey office building at 34 King East (completed in 1963), and its 8-storey neighbour at 36 King East (completed in 1961), face demolition. In the early 1990s, the two structures were retrofitted with a single lobby, sharing a number of facilities and uses since that time. 

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceThe site, looking north, with 34, 36, and 50 King East (l-r), image retrieved via Google Maps

These buildings would be replaced by the 33-storey, 112.6-metre tower. Unlike much of Toronto's recent high-rise construction, the proposed tower is not designed with a podium structure at its base. With a 0.9-metre setback on King, the massing is designed to integrate the tower into the Financial District's distinct "Canyon Form typology." However, since the site sits in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood and directly borders the Financial District, much of the challenge lies in creating a development that reflects the character of two very different areas. 

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceThe proposed St. Lawrence HCD, with the Court House Sub-Area in purple, image retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

From a planning perspective, the proposal is located within the "Court House Sub-Area" of the recently approved St. Lawrence Heritage Conservation District (HCD). Characterized by structures built between 1850 and 1920, the erstwhile hub of early Toronto also features a number of more recent high-rise buildings, with Yonge Street and the Financial District one block to the west. On the proposed development site, the HCD Sub-Area lists only the David B. Dick-designed Quebec Bank Building as a "contributing property." Meanwhile, like much of Toronto's mid-century modernist built form—which may be seen as heritage architecture in decades to come—the buildings to the west would disappear.  

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceThe Court House Sub-Area within its (slightly dated) urban context, image retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

Although density along the King Street corridor drops off relatively sharply east of Yonge, a number of high-rise projects have recently been proposed east of the subject site. Just past the King Edward Hotel, the 25-storey Sixty Colborne Condos is already under construction, with the west side of the block more recently subject to a 19-storey office proposal at 65-75 King Street East

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceA rendering of the tower, looking northwest, image retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

The tower's 219 purpose-built rental units are divided into 20 studio, 58 one-bedroom, 90 one-bedroom + den, 19 two-bedroom, and 32 two-bedroom + den / three-bedroom suites. A total of 78 parking spots are planned, making for a very urban ratio of 0.35 spots per unit. The 25,465 m² GFA is divided into 15,204 m² of residential, 10,006 m² of office, and 255 m² of street-level retail. The development also targets LEED Gold certification, with a landscaping plan by NAK Design Strategies

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceLooking northeast, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

While the renderings of the tower indicate a variety of design elements, the design seen so far may serve as more of a massing model than an aesthetic guideline. As such, these renderings may not reflect the tower's eventual form, with  design evolution likely as the planning process commences. With documents submitted to the City on May 28th, the process is still in its very early stages.

34-50 King Street East, Toronto, by Larco Investments, architectsAllianceA "worm's eye view" of the tower, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

We will keep you updated as more information about the project becomes available, and the planning process begins. In the meantime, more information is available in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts about the project? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the conversation in our associated Forum thread.