The final installment in our series regarding the current state of commercial development in Toronto has us gazing into the future, specifically at projects that are proposed but not yet realized. Some of these projects are further along than others, a few having had community meetings. Others are whispers around the community, with minimal information released to date. Material that is drawn from amendments and applications often changes, so it's important to keep in mind that much of what you see and read will most likely be changed if and when these projects work through the system. Nonetheless, lets check out some of the more notable commercial developments proposed in Toronto.
Rumours are circulating regarding 30 Bay Street/60 Harbour Street, currently owned by the Toronto Port Authority. First reported last fall, the agency is capitalizing on increased interest south of the Gardiner, hiring CB Richard Ellis to gauge interest within the development community. In March the TPA announced it had selected Oxford Properties to develop the site surrounding the historic Habour Commission building. They're currently preparing to begin public consultations, with more news expected in late 2012.
Another speculative development just north of the TPA is 45 Bay Street; this one has been floating around for a while (our first forum post dates back 6 years). Owner SITQ stated in 2008 that development would progress when market conditions improved; in 2010 they said pre-leasing would begin in 2011. We continue to see interest amongst forum members, not to mention periodic mentions of the site as a potential new bus terminal to replace the aging Dundas location. No official amendment can be found on the city's planning website, leaving this project in limbo and running on a dated project rendering.
Further up Bay Street is the Atrium on Bay, a large-scale mixed-use building that is starting to show its age. Back in December of 2011 we came across a site plan application that proposes 4 new floors to be added to each tower currently on site; a COA hearing was held in May, asking for an additional 380,000 square feet of non-residential gross floor area. While renderings have yet to be released by H&R REIT, we don't expect the additions to be breathtaking, but we'll bite our tongue and hope for the best.
The last building we're looking at on Bay is 880 Bay Street, a proposal by the Government of Ontario. Reported on back in early 2010, we've yet to receive any substantial information or hear of a project update from the provincial government. The tower would consolidate various scattered provincial offices currently spread throughout the neighbourhood, rising 45 storeys (revised as of March 31, 2010 from 39). &Co Architects are responsible for the project design seen in the renderings above.
333 King Street East has already been featured in this series — the first phase is nearing completion on a 3-storey addition atop the former Toronto Sun building. Early last month an application was submitted for the eastern portion of the lot, proposing 3 towers – two offices and one condominium. The office towers would climb 19 and 16 storeys, while the condo would reach 24 storeys. Sent to the Design Review Panel on June 12, the proposal was unanimously rejected and was deemed out of context and "too much." We expect developer First Gulf to re-apply later this year with a revised design by project architects Diamond Schmitt.
Back in the heart of downtown is an ambitious mixed-use two-tower development that has applied for rezoning and is currently under review. Cadillac Fairview owns a plot of land at 156 Front Street West, and has proposed a 65-storey residential tower plus a 54-storey office tower. Little else has been released, however a community meeting is expected to be announced for mid to late 2012. The image shows the proposed two towers, the residential tower the shorter of the two due to lower ceiling heights in condominiums as compared to offices.
We'll wrap up with a project that has been quite popular so far, and one that we have a significant amount of information on due to a recent public consultation meeting. Allied Properties REIT is proposing a 29-storey office tower at 388 King Street West, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. The building would include 800,000 square feet of space, and would completely re-vamp the current stretch of Peter between King and Adelaide. The porous design encourages pedestrians to use the building as a throughway over to Charlotte Street, and would increase the sidewalk by three meters. The design also features three setbacks, each with an extensively landscaped green roof.
The current state of commercial development within Toronto evidences a healthy urban economy, countering widespread fears of a single-use (i.e. residential) urban core. While we no doubt have more condominiums on-route within the city, it's clear that those living downtown want to work downtown as well. The rampant office park development we've seen in the suburbs has cooled, and big businesses are increasingly making the move back into the core. As condominium development in the city levels out, we expect greater attention to be paid towards alternative forms of real estate development. The form our urban landscape will take entirely depends on how these projects are approached; while necessary to constructively critique these proposals, it's equally important that we encourage innovation and allow new ideas to be realized, despite the uncertainty that will inevitably accompany change.