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91 King Street East (Albany Club, 25s, WZMH Architects)

Red October

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What would you say if something akin to Massey Tower or Five happened here? aka the historic buildings are restored complete with their interiors but the tower is built on top/set back?
 

neubilder

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What would you say if something akin to Massey Tower or Five happened here? aka the historic buildings are restored complete with their interiors but the tower is built on top/set back?

It would be impossible (or at least highly cost prohibitive) to build supporting structure for a tower within the footprint of an historic structure without destroying it. If the tower is "built on top" only the historic shells could remain and the interiors would be destroyed. The Richmond/Peter Allied 'conversion' is roughly what would have to happen. In the case of Five St. Joseph the historic buildings along Young are more or less untouched by the tower. This would be great to see at 71-95 King East as long as the height of the tower behind wasn't outrageous.
 

DSC

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What would you say if something akin to Massey Tower or Five happened here? aka the historic buildings are restored complete with their interiors but the tower is built on top/set back?

Take a look at the depth of the block - it is a fairly narrow block and the laneway behind cannot be removed as it also serves the proposed 60 Colborne development. As neobuilder says, you could not build a tower without destroying the interiors and I doubt you could build one and retain even only the facades. Neobuilder also notes that the development would be great 'as long as the height of the tower wasn't outrageous." I suggest 47 floors is exactly that!
 

Oliver Tweed

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This debate is just getting started. The whole neighbourhood within a couple of major blocks east of Yonge is beginning to be redeveloped. The challenge is that this is generally a mid-rise neighbourhood but since it's right smack downtown, the new development proposals are generally quite tall. To me, the city should allow for major height increases provided the buildings are done in the right way. This area is desperately in need of development.

That said, this proposal looks too big and bulky for the site/neighbourhood. I'm in agreement with some people in this thread that requiring buildings to taper down from the King Eddy seems silly, but on the other hand building a giant behemoth of a building that doesn't blend in is also silly.
 

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OK, I admit I'm not as "in the know" on local architecture firms as some people on this forum, but I still have paid quite a bit of attention to who is building what over the past 10 years.

I've never heard of Pellow Associates until this month, when they were building this tower and 50 Bloor West. In both cases, they are taking areas that call for something that is either grand or sensitive, and plunking down some mediocre "small box on top of a big box" design. Who are these guys and where did they come from?
 

neubilder

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This area is desperately in need of development.
If you are referring to parking lots then yes, I'd agree. But if you are talking about the redevelopment of historic King St. East then I would have to disagree very, very strongly. This stretch of King East is one of the few remaining parts of the downtown that has any amount of integrity and continuity. Contrast King East with Bay Street - who in their right mind would want to go for a stroll down Bay St. (north of Queen) The only street level businesses you find are copy centres, Subway sandwiches, and drug stores. But one can't argue that Bay St. pays it's way in terms of high-rise density.

Here's a thought.

Initiate a coordinated planning effort whereby you designate specific sites for extremely high density (ie. flagship starchitect supertall buildings like London's shard). But implement strict planning mechanisms which absolutely prevent these exceptions from ever being used as precedents. In order to gain the right to develop one of these nodes (the locations of which are NOT determined by developers or landowners, but by urban thinkers, architects, and designers) a development levy is charged, thus creating a level playing field with the sites of lesser density in the immediate vicinity.

Only with this kind of coordinated planning effort will the city ever survive the perils of bad development, bad architecture, and greed motivated destruction of the public realm.
 
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someMidTowner

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who in their right mind would want to go for a stroll down Bay St.

The stretch from front to queen? probably most people on this forum enjoy that walk. Myself especially
 

neubilder

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No, mostly referring to the stretch north of Queen. The stretch south of Queen has some exceptionally good vintage and historic architecture along it, not to mention the visual terminus of the old city hall clocktower. Bay St. north of Queen has all the richness and intrigue of a dollar store.
 

figaro

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If you are referring to parking lots then yes, I'd agree. But if you are talking about the redevelopment of historic King St. East then I would have to disagree very, very strongly. This stretch of King East is one of the few remaining parts of the downtown that has any amount of integrity and continuity. Contrast King East with Bay Street - who in their right mind would want to go for a stroll down Bay St. (north of Queen) The only street level businesses you find are copy centres, Subway sandwiches, and drug stores. But one can't argue that Bay St. pays it's way in terms of high-rise density.

Here's a thought.

Initiate a coordinated planning effort whereby you designate specific sites for extremely high density (ie. flagship starchitect supertall buildings like London's shard). But implement strict planning mechanisms which absolutely prevent these exceptions from ever being used as precedents. In order to gain the right to develop one of these nodes (the locations of which are NOT determined by developers or landowners, but by urban thinkers, architects, and designers) a development levy is charged, thus creating a level playing field with the sites of lesser density in the immediate vicinity.

Only with this kind of coordinated planning effort will the city ever survive the perils of bad development, bad architecture, and greed motivated destruction of the public realm.

Agree. King East is a successful street in our downtown, probably more so than the more famous King/Queen west. Bay st north of Dundas is extremely boring and sterile.

I have a feeling that east downtown is being developed from south to north, is that right?
If you walk in that area east of Yonge st, anywhere below Adelaide looks very nice and coherent. Most buildings are in good shape and it feels safe and charm. However, it is starting from Richmond East, and particularly north of Queen, it suddenly becomes rundown. All of a sudden you walk from nice restaurants, cafes, fountains, and furniture stores into dollar stores, pawn shops, neglected houses. Richmond St seems to be the dividing line, and the worst condition shows at Dundas East, and then it gets slightly better, particularly north of Carlton.I hope the city can come up with a coherent plan to make this area as nice as the southern neighourhood. I know there is some sort of study on it, but not sure where we stand now.
 

interchange42

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East Downtown is being developed, or redeveloped, on an ad hoc basis, property by property scattered across the area. Yes there is an official plan, and there are the new tall buildings guidelines which may someday have some actual effect, and there are various neighbourhood plans… but it is the owners of the various properties who drive the redevelopment when they are ready, not some Central Committee which decides when certain sections are going to get a makeover.

The area that strikes you as looking shabbier is not shabbier because that's been City policy or for a lack of a coherent plan. It has to do with the market, and when owners of those properties can and want to redevelop. There is redevelopment coming to the area you describe by the way, like the 46-storey Pace Condos at Dundas and Jarvis, (and several more), and there are already some great recent buildings in there like Teeple's TCHC building at 60 Richmond, which is an example of an arm of the government intervening in the market actually.

Those interventions are the exception however, and you will find that the area will continue to redevelop piecemeal based predominantly on market forces, with the planning department and the public consultation and political process tugging here and pushing there for small changes where they can.

42
 

Automation Gallery

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Toronto’s venerable Albany Club wants to stay put, condo or no condo

The past century has seen many influential people — John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney and Hal Jackman among them — pass through the heavy wooden doors of the Albany Club. The air of history is evident as you step over the threshold: oak panelling, rich brass fixtures and plush Tory-blue carpeting inscribed with the club’s insignia.

But this downtown landmark with its limestone façade is facing an uncertain future.

Located in the middle of a coveted block of King St. E., members of the Conservative private club are currently considering a development proposal that would see their four-storey building replaced with a 47-storey condo.

The club’s quarters are currently not designated a heritage building, but the city’s Heritage Preservation Services recently approved a staff report to classify it and other buildings on the block as heritage sites.

The report goes to city council in the fall. If it is approved, any developer would be unable to tear down those buildings and any development proposals would likely have to be revised.

The Albany building, between Victoria St. and Church St., stands as a sturdy monument to its past as the haunt of Tory heavyweights.

“The building breathes history itself. … It does glue everything together, there’s no question about that,” said Gord Haugh, a member for 31 years

More...........http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/art...bany-club-wants-to-stay-put-condo-or-no-condo
 

Xray_Crystal_Junkie

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That link has since been updated to read the following:
Following research and evaluation, staff have determined that the King Street East properties meet Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. The designation of the properties would enable City Council to regulate alterations to the sites, enforce heritage property standards and maintenance, and refuse demolition.
 

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