Union Park | 303m | 58s | Oxford Properties | Pelli Clarke Pelli

Star Fox

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I don't think that an increase in architectural quality is really about more money "sloshing around". Just because there's more money around doesn't mean for-profit developers are going to start burning money they don't otherwise have to. Rather, I think it's that bigger cities (which, yes, are correlated with more money) give tenants more options. There's more competition for tenants, and a developer may feel the need for some architectural flourish in order to make their building more attractive than the one that is already across the street and is available for less rent, or the one that will go up across the street in 25 years (because the developers want their building to stay competitive/attractive for decades, not just this year, so that they can continue to maximize rents).

This is why I agree that buildings like M+G, KING Toronto, and CIBC Square are so important. They set a new benchmark, and if new developments want to be viewed in the upper-echelon of the city (which they will want to do if they want to charge the rents required to make the development costs worthwhile), then they'll have to match or exceed the architectural quality of those.
 

ProjectEnd

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I'm not as optimistic about your theory. Toronto is a much wealthier city than it was 20 years ago and quality has seen modest improvement overall. We continue to use window wall. It's too easy to say its conservatism from 40 years, The demographic aren't remotely comparable to today. It's disinterest from a lack of competition.

The rates in New York can afford a developer to give the city $250 million to increase the maximum buildable area from 800,000 to 1.6 million square feet but that's about it. Our commercial and residential rates are not cheap. They are many cheaper places building better quality. They are number of Canadian companies headquartered in Toronto leasing space in New York. TD Securities is anchoring One Vanderbilt. That's not filler space. It's about image. It's not needed here.
The rates at OVb are unreal too. More than double the Midtown average in some cases.
 
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Mercenary

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I don't think that an increase in architectural quality is really about more money "sloshing around". Just because there's more money around doesn't mean for-profit developers are going to start burning money they don't otherwise have to. Rather, I think it's that bigger cities (which, yes, are correlated with more money) give tenants more options. There's more competition for tenants, and a developer may feel the need for some architectural flourish in order to make their building more attractive than the one that is already across the street and is available for less rent, or the one that will go up across the street in 25 years (because the developers want their building to stay competitive/attractive for decades, not just this year, so that they can continue to maximize rents).

This is why I agree that buildings like M+G, KING Toronto, and CIBC Square are so important. They set a new benchmark, and if new developments want to be viewed in the upper-echelon of the city (which they will want to do if they want to charge the rents required to make the development costs worthwhile), then they'll have to match or exceed the architectural quality of those.
I think part of it is.

CIBC is building a spectacular new HQ in CIBC Square. The reason for that is it is the smallest bank from the big 5 and it needs to stand out. RBC being the biggest didnt care what kind of new HQ it built and thats why we got the boxy Waterpark building.

Toronto also lacks Billionaires and privately owned companies whose owners can lavishly build new buildings for their organizations. Most of Toronto's companies are corporate owned whose Board of Directors nit pick at any extravagance.

The few buildings that are being built by private owners are striking architecture quality such as Mizrahi's The One, Mirvish's Mirvish+Gehry or CIBC trying to make an impact with CIBC Square.
 

SonyPayStation

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I'm not as optimistic about your theory. Toronto is a much wealthier city than it was 20 years ago and quality has seen modest improvement overall. We continue to use window wall. It's too easy to say it's conservatism from 40 years, The demographic aren't remotely comparable to today. It's disinterest from a lack of competition.

The rates in New York can afford a developer to give the city $250 million to increase the maximum buildable area from 800,000 to 1.6 million square feet but that's about it. Our commercial and residential rates are not cheap. They are many cheaper places building better quality. They are number of Canadian companies headquartered in Toronto leasing space in New York. TD Securities is anchoring One Vanderbilt. That's not filler space. It's about image. It's not needed here.
I see where you are going, but I disagree with this on the office side. I look at it this way: Average rates at WTC in NYC --> $80 PSF (based on SquareFoot.com); Average in YYZ Core AAA --> $35 PSF. If A office trades at a cap rate of 5%, that's $1100 of incremental development profit. Now, you're going to eat it on construction and land costs, but that's a big delta. You can actually look at Oxford's returns, and returns of Allied on the Well ... they both publish. They aren't super slushy. maybe I'm misunderstanding?

On the residential side, I agree - I think that we benefit from a condo market which is super undersupplied which results in shitty product (like window wall). As we move towards rental, that will change (hopefully).
 

ProjectEnd

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I think part of it is.

CIBC is building a spectacular new HQ in CIBC Square. The reason for that is it is the smallest bank from the big 5 and it needs to stand out. RBC being the biggest didnt care what kind of new HQ it built and thats why we got the boxy Waterpark building.

Toronto also lacks Billionaires and privately owned companies whose owners can lavishly build new buildings for their organizations. Most of Toronto's companies are corporate owned whose Board of Directors nit pick at any extravagance.

The few buildings that are being built by private owners are striking architecture quality such as Mizrahi's The One, Mirvish's Mirvish+Gehry or CIBC trying to make an impact with CIBC Square.
Mizrahi is not using his own equity for The One and Mirvish / Project Core sold to Great Gulf.
 

SonyPayStation

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Mizrahi is not using his own equity for The One and Mirvish / Project Core sold to Great Gulf.
Also, those are condos which are pre-financed with down payments. They arent predominately spec built.

On CIBC Square, I wouldn't give the developers of CIBC too much credit ... It's a rectangle with a few jogs and the diagrid isnt structural. But if you like the design and think it was an over investment ... the park (like a third the size of the one proposed at Union Park) was paid for with an IMIT Grant from the City worth something like $150M in tax deferrals and fee relief.
 

AHK

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Public meeting (Community Consultation) tonight on Union Park. Planning applications for: 315 - 325 FRONT STREET WEST AND RAIL CORRIDOR BETWEEN BLUE JAYS WAY AND JOHN STREET

The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting where you can learn more about this application, ask questions and share your comments.

Date: Monday, October 28, 2019
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Open House 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Presentation, Question and Answers, Comments
Place: Intercontinental Hotel – Ontario and Niagara Room 225 Front Street West (Lower Level)

Proposal

The Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment applications propose a mixed-use development with residential, office, childcare and retail uses at 315 and 325 Front Street West, and a new open space over the rail corridor between Blue Jays Way and John Street. There are four buildings proposed including two office buildings at 48 and 58 storeys and two residential buildings at 44 and 54 storeys. There are 732 residential units proposed. A four-level underground garage with 665 vehicle parking spaces and 1,492 bicycle parking spaces is proposed.

To speak to the planner directly, contact Susan McAlpine, at (416) 392-7622 or Susan.Mcalpine@toronto.ca . You may mail your comments to the planner at Toronto and East York District, 100 Queen St W Floor 18 E Toronto ON, M5H 2N2.

You may also contact Councillor Joe Cressy, Ward 10, at (416) 392-4044 or Councillor_Cressy@toronto.ca.
 

AHK

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Some notes from the Union Park meeting on Monday night.

First of all, and perhaps most meaningful from a general perspective, is that turnout was very light - maybe 20 to 30 at most people other than those from the City and the proponent. This was after the City sent out 7,000 notices of the meeting by mail to area residents and businesses. Notice of the meeting was also sent out by e-mail to those who had signed in with the e-mail address at the first information meeting (which is how I found out about it, as we live outside the immediate catchment area for the project).

While there were several individual concerns raised by individuals who were present, there was obviously no community groundswell of opposition that some development proposals have generated. No heated questions, no abuse directed at any of the proponent's representatives. If it were just up to community reaction, the Union Park proposal should have no problems sailing through the approval process.

Additional detail on the Front Street frontage of the building and preliminary concept plans for the overpark area were presented. Minor changes have been made to the podium, particularly along Front Street to soften up the streetwall appearance, and additional access point to the park, from the Rogers Stadium side is to be provided.

Some of the questions which came up included:
  • impact on the community during the construction process - a construction management plan is to be developed, but that will be later in the development application process, and it is too early to have any details
  • potential impact on the view of and from the CN Tower
  • increase in vehicle traffic - the four new buildings in the complex will have a total of approximately 600 parking spots in the garage for both the office and residential and office areas. The two existing buildings at 315 / 325 Front (formerly the Royal Bank buildings )have about the same number of existing parking spots, so there will not be any material increase in vehicles on the site.
  • Shadow impacts - shadow studies are available, but the shadowing impacts are relatively minor. The recently approved 400 Front Street project will have a much larger impact on Clarence Square, and any impacts from Union Park will fall within shadowing that either already exists or has been approved.
  • Overall Density - one question on density, the total and breakdowns of residential, office, and commercial were presented - no follow up questions or pushback
  • Is there potential for the residential units to be sold off as condominiums - a firm comment from Oxford - it is owned by OMERS, the entire intent is to create a long term income flow to fund OMERS pension obligations, so absolutely no consideration of selling the residential units as condominiums.
  • Construction timeframe is estimated to be three to three and a half years, starting in 2023 at the earliest.
  • traffic management, deliveries, loading dock arrangements for move-ins/move-outs, garbage, supplies deliveries for the offices, commercial areas - restaurants and retail - Taxi, Uber and Lyft pick-up and drop-off. There will be no vehicle access from Front Street - there will be continuous sidewalk with no curb cuts or vehicle crossing. Two vehicle access points from Blue Jays Way are planned. The entry to the parking garage and loading dock areas will be down a ramp to a lower level - loading docks will not be visible from the street. There will a special area for smaller delivery trucks with easy access to the lobby areas for package deliveries. There will also be a grade level driveway / layby area for people to be dropped off / picked up without the vehicles (friends / family / Uber / Lyft / Taxi) to wait, load and unload their passengers without blocking a lane on Blue Jays Way. Given the traffic on Blue Jays Way, consideration is being given to having right turns only during rush hours - entering and exiting the site during rush hours would only be allowed from north-bound Blue Jays Way, turning right to go into the site when entering, and turning right toward Front Street when exiting. Left turns into and out of the the site from / to southbound Blue Jays Way would be allowed outside of rush hour traffic conditions - have to see how that would work.
 
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Amare

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Thats too bad about the turnout; I guess residents in that area really couldnt careless what happens in their backyard. Which is a shame because these same people will be the ones crying wolf the loudest once they these towers being constructed, and at that point it would be too late for them.
 

Kenojuak

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Thats too bad about the turnout; I guess residents in that area really couldnt careless what happens in their backyard. Which is a shame because these same people will be the ones crying wolf the loudest once they these towers being constructed, and at that point it would be too late for them.
Who cares? Once it's under construction, the planning process is long since over and they have to live with it. If people don't participate when invited, at the appropriate time in the process, then I have zero sympathy for them if they have issues later.
 

karledice

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I have a hard time imagining the residents of the area (which I'm close but not in the catchment to be invited) would be against this.
There will be this massive multi use complex that brings thousands of jobs near where they are which increases their property value and rent value, then there's all the added amenities and shops, plus they deck over the railway and build a bunch of other green scapes.

Yes they will have to put up with construction for 5-6 years, traffic jams is going to get worse and some people may lose their views making their units less desirable but I guess not enough people find this negative to oppose.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I have a hard time imagining the residents of the area (which I'm close but not in the catchment to be invited) would be against this.
There will be this massive multi use complex that brings thousands of jobs near where they are which increases their property value and rent value, then there's all the added amenities and shops, plus they deck over the railway and build a bunch of other green scapes.

Yes they will have to put up with construction for 5-6 years, traffic jams is going to get worse and some people may lose their views making their units less desirable but I guess not enough people find this negative to oppose.
(Un)surprisingly I can think of at least one instance on UT where someone from 18 Yonge complained about CIBC despite of what you've just said.

AoD
 

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