A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) arrived last week to bore the tunnel that will connect Cityzen, Fernbrook Homes and Castlepoint's L Tower and Backstage condo developments. The parkade for both condominium towers will be constructed on the Backstage site (designed by Page & Steele) at 1 The Esplanade, and this tunnel will connect residents of the L Tower (designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind with Page & Steele), across the street at 2 The Esplanade, via the P3 level to their parking spaces.
The 58-storey L Tower is already making quite a dramatic impression on the downtown skyline, and is scheduled to top-out later this year. Backstage, rising to 36 storeys, will follow it onto the skyline in 2013.
While this underground connection represents a link between two private developments, the City of Toronto is encouraging developers to include public connections to the PATH network. With so much construction underway in the downtown area, particularly the residential and office space around Union Station and the emerging "South core" financial district below the Gardiner, city planners are marketing PATH connections to developers as part of the PATH Master Plan. Backstage will connect into the PATH network via a new pedestrian connection over Yonge Street to the GO Bus Terminal.
The proximity of many of these developments to Union Station makes this transit hub the main access point to the GTA's transit networks for the new residents and employees that will be living and working in the area. The Union Station Revitalization and expansion of the PATH are key components in accommodating the increase in density and traffic. It is expected that by 2031, population density in the area surrounding Union Station will increase by 80%, employment density by 25% and the number of people passing through the station on a weekday by over 50%.