A new proposal for the Theatre District along King Street West sets the stage for the one of the largest and most dramatic changes in the city's history. Theatre mogul David Mirvish has teamed up with Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry (designer of the recent AGO expansion and other world-famous structures including the Guggenheim Bilbao) for a proposal that includes three of the largest condo towers in North America. A press conference on Monday will bring many more details on the project, and while it precedes the project's planning application to the City, it comes after lengthy discussions between Mirvish and the area's City Councillor Adam Vaughan.
The development will span one and a half city blocks, running along the north side of King Street West between the Royal Alexandra Theatre and John Street. The site is across the street from city landmarks such as Roy Thomson Hall and Metro Hall. The most notable casualty amongst these existing buildings on site would be Mirvish's Princess of Wales Theatre built in 1993. Mirvish plans to preserve the 105 year-old Royal Alexandra Theatre at the east end of the site, and has said that he is committed to bringing the city more theatre, not less.
The proposed condominium towers could be as high as 90 storeys each, holding over 2500 residential units above high-end street-level shopping and galleries, including a museum built to feature Mirvish's extensive and notable abstract art collection. OCAD University would also get space and a new gallery in the complex.
These two blocks are currently populated by century-old mid-rise commercial buildings, a notable exception being the 47-storey Theatre Park at 224 King Street West, under costruction on the site of a former parking lot on the east side of the Royal Alexandra Theatre. If the Mirvish and Gehry proposal is approved in its entirety, the towers would dwarf Theatre Park by about 40 storeys.
There has been a lot of activity in the surrounding area in recent years. The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton is located right across David Pecaut Square from the proposal site, and Living Shangri-La Toronto, Festival Tower and TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema Tower, 300 Front Street West and The Mercer are all steps away.
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