One of the projects in the Downtown Toronto development pipeline most anticipated on the UrbanToronto Forum is The Well. A massive redevelopment of the former Globe and Mail headquarters site at Front and Spadina, The Well will be a mixed-use community of residential towers, retail that would rival the Eaton Centre, public open space, and a 36-storey office tower. Totalling seven buildings with well over 1,500 residential units, the project is a joint venture of Diamond CorpRioCan, and Allied Properties REIT, with Tridel taking on the residential aspects. The design team includes Urban StrategiesHariri Pontarini as the master plan and design architects of the office tower, Adamson Associates are executive architects, BDP is on retail, Wallman Architects are tackling the residential blocks on Wellington Street, architectsAlliance are on the Front Street residential towers, and Claude Cormier + Associés is covering the landscape planning.

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpRendering of 4C, 4B, and 4A of The Well, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Due to the complex nature of the plans for the 7.5 acre site, the Urban Design Guidelines on the City's Development Application website outline a potential phasing strategy for construction, also taking into consideration the current market conditions. Once demolition reaches completion, site clearing and shoring will be set to begin, with excavation following. Phase 1 includes the construction of the entire underground garage, including the servicing and loading platforms. 

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpPhase 1 of The Well: underground garage, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Phase 2 of construction will consist of the southeast corner of the site, constructing Building 7—the 36-storey office tower—and the podium of Building 6, the tower of which be a rental apartment building of 44 storeys (but which is shorter than the office tower owing to lower ceilings). The documents filed with planning do not speculate on the date of construction for the Building 6 tower.

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpPhase 2: Building 7 and Building 6 Podium, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The third phase will be split in two parts; constructing the podium levels for Buildings 4 and 5, followed by building the residential towers when market conditions allow, which is expected to either be right after the podiums are completed or shortly thererafter. The towers are planned to rise 21 and 38 storeys, with all three residential buildings along Front to contain retail and office uses in the podiums. 

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpPhase 3: Building 4 and 5, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Phase 4 will see the three residential buildings fronting Wellington Street begin construction, dubbed 4A, 4B, and 4C. Rising to heights of 15, 15, and 13 storeys, these mid-rises will also provide retail at grade level, animating the public spaces that surrounds them.

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpPhase 4: Buildings' 4A, 4B and 4C, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The residential buildings along Wellington will will have a ratio of 40% brick or masonry to 60% glazing, respecting the heritage nature of the surrounding neighbourhood. Additionally, each of the podium levels facing Wellington will be designed as if they are individual buildings, distinguished through the choice of materials, colours, or architectural treatment. The emphasis on using hard opaque cladding materials will be applied along the Front St podiums, while more transparent glazing materials will be used as the residential buildings ascend in height.

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpBuilding typologies of The Well along Front Street, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpBuilding typologies of The Well along Wellington Street, image via submission to the City of Toronto


Following the completion of the buildings, work on public realm enhancements will be made along Wellington, Spadina, and Front. The property at 19 Draper Street will serve as a new park, providing direct access to the interior pedestrian network that extends east-west to the gateway entrance of the landmark office tower, and protected from the elements by a glass canopy. This stretch will feature a mezzanine walkway lined with retail, in addition to one level below grade, lined with additional commercial retail space. Three north-south walkways will run Wellington to Front, with a softscaped north plaza and hardscape south plaza near the west end of the site. 

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpRendering of the courtyard looking north, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The Well, HPA, AAA, BDP, aA, CCA, Wallman, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, Diamond CorpRendering of the courtyard looking south, image via submission to the City of Toronto


We will keep you updated with more news on The Well soon! In the meantime, additional information and more renderings can be found in the project's dataBase, linked below. Want to share your thoughts on this project? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided below, or join in the active and ongoing discussion in the associated Forum thread.