Following the March announcement that Cadillac Fairview (CF) would be proceeding with construction of new office tower for Downtown Toronto "on spec", today marked a major milestone for the 16 York project. CF and their partners from the Ontario Pension Board (OPB) invited representatives of those involved along with the media to celebrate the official ground breaking ceremony for the $479 million dollar building.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoOfficial groundbreaking. Left to right: Bruce Sonnenberg of PCL, Wayne Barwise of CF, John Sullivan of CF, and Mark Fuller of OP

For CF President & CEO John Sullivan, 16 York represents much more than just an addition to the company's portfolio. Earlier in his career, Sullivan reminisced that he was involved in rezoning the lands south of Union Station in the early 1990s, when not even the Air Canada Centre was under construction. Moving forward to 2006, Sullivan, now with CF for a number of years at by then, took part in the ground breaking just across the street at Maple Leaf Square, and now can complete the last piece of the puzzle in Toronto's South Core district, coming full circle here at 16 York.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoLeft to right: Bruce Sonnenberg of PCL, Wayne Barwise of CF, John Sullivan of CF, and Mark Fuller of OPB, image by Greg Lipinski

Wayne Barwise, Executive Vice President of development for CF, noted that the rare decision to build on spec was based on several factors. For one, Toronto's Downtown vacancy rate for office buildings is at 4%, the lowest in North America, and in the South Core district, the vacancy rate is at 1.5%. Additionally, there has been a surge of companies from the 905 area wanting to relocate into the core, with significant tech companies like Amazon and Apple wanting new office space, in close proximity to Union Station.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoMark Fuller of the OPB gives his speech, image by Greg Lipinski

Based on current demand, and forecasting future rates, the market conditions certainly favoured CF to go ahead with constructing this tower before securing a lead tenant (often consuming half a million square feet of rentable office space). Going taller on the tower was a possibility, though it would have made building on spec riskier.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoTrenching underway at 16 York, image by Greg Lipinski

While construction isn't set to begin for another month and a half, hoarding has now been erected around the site's perimeter. Led by PCL Construction, crews are already on site and trenching along the east, west, and north sides has begun.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoThe site readying for construction, image by Greg Lipinski

Connecting with CF and Lanterra's Ïce Condominiums directly to the south, 16 York will include retail at street level, while below grade, a PATH connection will extend to Maple Leaf Square. The lobby will include 40-foot high ceilings, while the tower will be clad with a high performance curtain wall system, striving for LEED® Platinum and WELL Building Standard™ certifications. The podium level will feature a green roof, providing a place where employees can go, while also being environmentally conscious. 

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoGreen roof amenity space at 16 York, image via Cadillac Fairview

Set to open on June 1st, 2020, the architectsAlliance and B+H Architects-designed office tower will rise 32 storeys and a height of 518 feet, adding 879,000 square feet of office space to Toronto's South Core.

16 York by architectsAlliance, B+H Architects, for Cadillac Fairview, TorontoRendering looking south to 16 York, image via Cadillac Fairview

With CF focused on 16 York, Barwise said when asked about their 46-storey office project at 160 Front Street West that the project is all set to go, all it needs is a lead tenant.

We will keep you up-to-date as construction is set to kick off in the first week of July. Additional information can be found in the project's dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts on 16 York? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided on this page, or join in the ongoing conversation in the associated Forum thread.