The slender block between Adelaide and Pearl from Duncan to Simcoe remains one of Downtown Toronto's less conspicuous urban spaces. Flanked by the Entertainment District's glass and steel towers, turn-of-the-century heritage buildings front Simcoe and Duncan, while surface parking and an expansive above-ground garage still fill out the middle of the block.

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsThe block (centre) in its urban context, looking northwest, image via Google Maps

Yet, if the apparent lack of activity is somewhat surprising, the concentration of proposed development is more startling. It's reflective of Toronto's fast-paced—and sometimes unpredictable—development landscape that a place can be notable both for how little it's changed and how much it's probably about to. 

19 Duncan Street, Toronto, by Westbank Corp, Allied Properties REIT, HPA19 Duncan Street, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Joining three evolving high-rise proposals, a fourth tower is now planned for the block, making its entirety subject to development applications. In 2015, a pair of relatively ambitious proposals first caught the attention, beginning with Westbank and Allied's plan for a 57-storey Hariri Pontarini-designed tower—at 19 Duncan—on the northwest corner of the block (above). Immediately east on Adelaide, Humbold Properties put forward a Kirkor Architects design for a 56-storey pencil tower at 217 Adelaide West shortly thereafter (below).

217 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, by Humbold Properties, Kirkor ArchitectsFORMER design for 217 Adelaide West (the design has since been updated), image via submission to the City of Toronto

As those projects—both of which are now before the OMB—made their way through the planning process, last year saw another development tabled for the east end of the block at Duncan Street. Sun Life's submission for a 59-storey Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed tower at 100 Simcoe was put forward to the City last Spring. The project (seen below) is slated to replace the 5.5-storey building—not heritage designated, though parts of the heavily altered structure date to 1905—that currently fronts the corner, as well as the attached 8-storey above-ground parking garage to the west. 

100 Simcoe, Toronto, by Sun Life, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsPreliminary drawing for 100 Simcoe, image via submission to the City of Toronto

With the majority of the block already in play, a fourth proposal means that the entirety of the block is now subject to high-rise proposals. In late December, the Conservatory Group's Richmond Architects-designed project was submitted to the City, bringing to light another 59-storey residential development at 150 Pearl Street.

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsLooking northeast, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Situated at the northeast corner of Pearl and Duncan (and the southeast corner of the block), the site faces onto both streets. The corner is occupied by a four-storey heritage-designated brick building at 15 Duncan Street, with an adjacent brick building to the east at 158 Pearl Street, also four storeys tall and heritage-designated.

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsThe corner as it appeared in mid-2016, image via Google Maps

The plan calls for the more easterly building at 158 Pearl to be demolished, with the façades retained as part of a six-storey podium frontage—the upper two of which storeys step back from the heritage frontages. At street level, a commercial/retail space is planned behind the preserved facade. By contrast, the structure at 15 Duncan would be preserved in-situ, with commercial uses retained—the building is currently mostly occupied by a digital media company.

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsThe Pearl Street frontage, looking north, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Vehicle access and loading spaces would be provided on this part of the lot, east of the heritage façades. Given the relatively compact nature of the vehicle space, a turntable will be used to allow larger vehicles to access the loading space. Below grade, a five-storey parking garage includes 123 spaces, 120 of which are reserved for residents. This makes for a very urban parking ratio of just under 0.2 spaces per unit. 

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsThe ground floor plan, click for a closer view, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Up above, 610 condominium units are proposed. The units are planned in a mix of 533 one-bedroom (87%), and 77 two-bedroom (13%) units, with no three-bedroom suites proposed. Rising above the six-storey base building, the 53-storey tower would reach a height of 180.76 metres, excluding the mechanical penthouse. As currently proposed, the project features an FSI of approximately 20.75. 

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsLooking east, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Architecturally, the lower levels—and, to a lesser degree, the tower floors—are characterized by a rather unresolved melange of styles. So far, the project has received a mixed-at-best reception on the UT Forum, though the design may evolve significantly as the planning process continues. 

150 Pearl Street, Toronto, by The Conservatory Group, Richmond ArchitectsLooking southeast, image via submission to the City of Toronto

We will keep you updated as information becomes available, and plans for the block continue to evolve. In the meantime, you can learn more about any of the project mentioned above by checking out our dataBase files, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the space on this page, or join one of the ongoing conversations in our associated Forum threads.