In late February, plans for a 343.9-metre tower were first revealed, with renderings showing a glassy 98-storey tower dominating the Toronto skyline from Yonge and Gerrard. With details of Cresford Developments' 'YSL Residences' submission to the City of Toronto now available, a fuller picture of the proposal is emerging, shedding light on the project's planning context, layout, programming, and architectural expression. Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the American firm is partnering with Toronto's architectsAlliance, who are acting as architects of record.  

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceLooking southeast, image via Cresford Developments

Looking northeast, a new rendering shows a fuller view of the Yonge Street frontage. Stretching north and south sides of the tower's base, a nine-storey podium building will house a mix of retail, office, and amenity space. Framing the tower, the historic Yonge façades on either side of the super-tall volume will be retained, maintaining the general heritage strategy of Kingsett Capital's previous Quadrangle-designed proposal.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceLooking northeast, the Yonge Street frontage, image via submission to the Cit of Toronto

At 363 Yonge, the three-storey brick building known as the "Richard S. Williams Block" will land the podium on the south side of the site, with the stone "Gerrard Building" continuing to frame the corner of Yonge and Gerrard to the north. The north and west elevations of the Gerrard Building will be preserved, along with the west elevation of Richard S. Willams Block. According to the project's planing rationale, giving the façades a more three-dimensional quality will be a priority. This may be "accomplished through upgrades to the façade materials in specific areas, or rebuilding with new materials," and "options will continue to be explored as the design progresses."

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceThe north side of the podium, looking southeast, image via submission to the City of Toronto

In keeping with Kingsett's 2015 proposal, the smaller properties in the middle of the site will be fully demolished, making way for the residential and retail entrances. Both heritage frontages will also meet the street level with retail, with a pair of residential entrances—leading to two elevator bays—on either side of third retail entrance that leads down to a below-grade commercial space.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceThe ground floor plan, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The podium's office levels will be accessible via a commercial lobby at the northeast end of the site, fronting Gerrard just west of O'Keefe Lane (seen below). The location of the office lobby may facilitate a partnership with neighbouring Ryerson University, with Cresford and Ryerson currently exploring "potential opportunities to provide the university with permeant access to administrative, academic, or intuitional space within the podium of the proposed building." According to the submission, potential strategies to animate O'Keefe Lane—also a long-term priority for Ryerson—are also being considered.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceLooking southwest from Gerrard Street, image via submission to the City of Toronto

While most of the tower's seven below-grade levels will be given over to a 340-space parking garage and 1,058 lockers, a two-level retail space is planned underground. A knockout panel for a PATH connection is also planned on the west side of the third underground level. 

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceThe first underground 'Mezzanine' level features a multi-level retail space and bike parking, image via submission to the City

Above grade, the podium levels are occupied by retail (which takes up most of the first three above-ground levels), office space, and a rooftop residential amenity space. Of the project's GFA of 97,386 m², 9,399 m² (9.6%) is given over to retail uses, along with 11,117 m² (11.4%) of office space. The office uses take up the fourth to eighth levels, with residential units—which, at a combined total of 76,870 m², make up almost 79% of the GFA—above. 

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceLooking south, the tower's height is put into perspective alongside the 78-storey Aura, image via Cresford

The 957 condominium suites come in a proposed unit mix of 389 one-bedroom (41%), 459 two-bedroom (48%), and 109 three-bedroom (11%) homes. Ranging in size from 538 ft² to well over 2,000 ft²—for select penthouse suites—the project's average two-bedroom unit features a floorplan of approximately 860 ft². No studio suites are planned for the building. 

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceTypical unit layout (levels 17-32), image via submission to the City of Toronto

Alongside a small terrace space on the 42nd floor—which gives the south elevation its distinctive notch—indoor amenities are concentrated on the 42nd and 43rd levels, where lower-level and shuttle elevators end, and upper-level elevators begin. Accessible from the 43rd floor's residential lobby, two private elevators lead to the south-side penthouse suites.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceA residential amenity terrace is planned on the 42nd floor extrusion, image via submission to the City of Toronto

While the building's smooth glazing is free of balconies, the penthouse units that top the tower feature private outdoor terraces. As the tower footprint gradually shrinks at the upper levels, the stepbacks allow unimpeded terraces (shielded from the wind by glass walls) for select penthouse suites.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceThe 98th floor, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The new planning documents also indicate a rationale for the tower's 343.9 metre height. According to the submission, the proposed height and massing sees the super-tall tower marginally avoid new shadowing onto the Allan Gardens Conservatory (identified as a "Signature Park" by the City), which is located over 700 metres east of Yonge and Gerrard.  

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAllianceLooking northeast, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Finally, the street-level elevations included in the architectural plans give an indication of the tower envelope's materiality.

YSL - 385 Yonge, Toronto, by Cresford, Kohn Pedersen Fox, architectsAlliancea detailed look at the east elevation, click for a closer view, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Framed by vertical aluminum fins—which are particularly prominent along the angular north podium volume—curtainwall glazing wraps the body of the tower, while stone elements will be used at street level, and sporadically throughout the lower floors of the podium.

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We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project continues to take shape. In the meantime, further information is available via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.