The second half of the March 14, 2012 community consultation that featured King Blue Condos which we have already reported on, focused on rezoning plans for the property on more block to the west at the southeast corner of King and Spadina. The site at 401 through 415 King Street West currently has a low rise building with an LCBO, as well as a 6-storey, mid-block heritage building. The first proposal presented in May of last year featured a single tower of 39 storeys positioned near the western edge of the property line, with its longer side facing King Street. The original plans created a podium rooftop amenity space, and utilized the wall of the neighbouring building to the east to create a green wall. 

First massing proposal revealed May 2011, images courtesy of Core Architects

Two major concerns were raised at the time. The first had to do with the placement of the 39-storey tower so close to Spadina Avenue, and out of scale with the predominant height which currently exists along that street. The second had to do with the tower's width facing residents of the Hudson across King Street whose south views would be completely eliminated. 

Taking both of these concerns into consideration, Core Architects came up with a more refined massing proposal. The new plans call for a shorter 20-storey tower at the street corner, and a taller 37-storey tower on King Street. Both towers are connected by an 8-storey podium which is similar to the earlier proposal. 

Second massing proposal revealed March 14, 2012. Viewed from the corner of King and Spadina, image courtesy of Core Architects

Second massing proposal revealed March 14, 2012. Aerial view looking south, image courtesy of Core Architects

Overall the square footage of the entire development effectively remains the same as the first proposal. The two towers demonstrate a steep gradation down to Spadina. The shorter of the two towers has a slim profile with its wider face fronting onto Spadina and a floorplate of only 4500 sq ft, a design which addresses the concerns of Hudson residents who wished to preserve some southern views.

The new placement of the two towers also echoes the massing of The Hudson and of Charlie on the north side of King Street. The shorter tower relates some of its design elements with the Hudson, including a minor setback at the eleventh floor, and through the masonry façade treatment which goes right up the north side of the tower. The height and cladding of the taller tower is meant to reflect Charlie. 

A few more aerial and cross section profile views demonstrate how the developers intend to find a better fit for this development in the burgeoning neighbourhood. 

Aerial view of second proposal, looking south east. Subject proposal is in red.

Cross section view of second proposal looking north through Mercer Street.

Cross section view of second proposal looking east through Spadina.

The ground and second floors are almost entirely devoted to large format retail uses. The LCBO has a long term lease on the current retail building on site, and have indicated an interest in returning to the space in the redevelopment. In back, the loading space is designed to accommodate the needs of the retailers as well as residents. City Councillor Adam Vaughan, who chaired the meeting, expressed a desire for this building to have a very large retail presense at the street corner, and for the entire development to function like a multiuse vertical neighbourhood. The first two floors feature very high ceilings necessary to attract a variety retail uses. The second floor in particular has a 6m (19 foot) floor height as opposed to 4m (13 feet) in the first proposal. In a closeup view of the north podium facade, it becomes evident that the entire second floor effectively occupies the space behind two rows of windows of the heritage façade. For the heritage façade itself, the developers intend to preserve that in-situ during construction, and not to dismantle then reassemble it. 

Ground floor retail and residential lobby, as well as loading facilities.

Second floor retail space.

To prioritize retail on the ground floor, the condo lobby takes a very small portion of the frontage on King Street. The elevators from the residential lobby in this plan take residents up to a third floor sky lobby from where they can walk to the appropriate elevator bank for their tower. 

Third floor sky lobby, residential, and bike storage space.

Also featured on floors 3 to 8 of the podium are bike and general purpose storage lockers. A number of community members questioned the wisdom of placing bike storage space in an area of the building that will only be accessible by two ground level elevators. Also of concern was the mixing of private residential hallway space with public accessibility to the elevator banks for both towers. One attendee commented that those units would quickly become unlivable when you consider the noise of people walking through the hallways to get to and from the elevators at odd times of the day with their bikes. Hallway and elevator wall damage was also cited as a reason to reconsider the choice of placing bike storage lockers on a main residential hallway. Adam Vaughan is keen on exploring the possibility of the third floor being commercial space of some form.

Typical podium level with residential and bike storage space.

The ninth floor shows the mix of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces. 

Ninth floor indoor and outdoor residential amenity terrace space.

The slender Spadina tower features floor plates of only 4500 sq ft and approximately 6 units per floor. The larger tower on the east side features a more regular 6500-7000 sq ft floor plate, and 10 units per floor on average. 

Typical residential tower floor plan.

Both towers would feature green rooftops. 

Podium rooftop plan.

Much work has been done since the first proposal was revealed just under a year ago, and several community concerns were taken into consideration in the redesign. Right now the developer is primarily looking to come to an agreement on establishing the building massing, as they are at least another 3-5 years away from sales and construction. Adam Vaughan assured the community that their current concerns would be addressed in the next round of designs, and it is his intention that all new buildings in the King/Spadina neighbourhood should go before the Design Review Panel for their input. The planning department will now be studying this plan, and a recommendation report is expected by late summer or early fall. We leave you with a few last renderings of the proposal, and some quick stats: 

  • King Street building: 37 storeys + mechanical floor, 126m in height.
  • Spadina Avenue building: 20 storeys + mechanical, 73m in height.
  • 459 units in total, 10% will be family sized units at 3+ bedrooms, with the largest at about 1300 sq ft.
  • At grade retail space: 12,700 sq ft. 
  • Second floor retail space: 17,270 sq ft. 
  • Number of commercial parking spaces: 62 spots on P1 and P2.
  • Number of residential parking spaces: 206 on P2 to P5.

North elevation render, view from King Street.

West elevation render, view from Spadina Avenue.

UrbanToronto's dataBase entry for this building includes larger versions of some of the renderigns seen here, plus the one focusing on the latest treatment of the heritage façade mentioned above. The dataBase entry also shows the evolution of the building's design including an intermediate stage from November 2011 not shown at the community consultations. You will find the dataBase entry linked below.

What do you think of the plans as presented so far? Leave us with your comments below, or join the conversation in the project thread

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