Yonge Street is undeniably one of the most important streets in the Toronto. It acts as the official dividing line between the east and west sides, provides an easily navigable route for tourists, and bears the brunt of our transit system with hundreds of thousands of passengers using the Yonge line daily. Most importantly, Yonge Street serves the city as a cultural corridor, with its ample retail, restaurants, and its unique mixture of yesteryear charm and modern big-city dynamism.

All of these factors make Yonge Street a desirable place to live, a notion that many developers have capitalized on since the onset of the real estate boom. Much of Yonge Street is dominated by historic low-rise commercial properties, some of which date back as far as the late 1800s. Though redevelopment of these properties can often be a contentious issue, MOD, Graywood and Five St. Joseph Developments have found a way to appease heritage advocates and high-rise fanboys alike with FIVE Condos, a 48-storey condominium tower on Yonge Street just north of Wellesley.

FIVE Condos rising at Yonge and St. Joseph, image by Jack Landau

The project, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and heritage consultants ERA Architects, is now four floors above ground, with work underway on the fifth floor, where the builk of the building's amenities will be and the first of the tower floors. The heritage warehouse façade on the north side of the site is now resting on its new foundation and has been secured to the concrete structure behind.

Temporary steel structure along St. Joseph Street, image by Jack Landau

Heritage facade standing on its own foundation, image by Jack Landau

Though this is a major step forward for the project, there is a slight downside for anyone who has grown fond to it: the unique steel buttress system built to support the heritage façade during the early stages of construction—a modern gothic fixture on St. Joseph Street for quite some time now—is no longer needed, and is soon to be removed. 

Temporary steel structure along St. Joseph Street, image by Jack Landau

While we have a crazy dream of the butresses living on in some form, the removal is imminent as the developer is charged by the City for its continued use of a full lane of traffic as long as it remains. Though the removal will still take weeks, crews have already begun freeing the façade from its steel bracing in spots, one of which you can now see below.

The façade is already in the process of being freed from its bracing, image by Jack Landau

Bricks which were removed to make way for the steel beams have been stored on-site ever since and will soon be re-applied to fill the holes left.

Bricks waiting to be re-applied to the heritage façade, image by Jack Landau

Inside the podium, roughed in retail spaces line much of the ground floor’s frontage. The heritage properties along Yonge Street will be restored and integrated into the concrete structure behind. The weatherproofing undercoat, seen at the very back of the photo below, marks the rear of these heritage buildings.

Inside FIVE's ground floor, facing east towards the rear of the Yonge Street heritage properties, image by Jack Landau

Walking through the ground floor of FIVE gives us the opportunity to see some exclusive views of the roughed in elevator core and the base of the tower crane.

Base of the tower crane on the ground floor, image by Jack Landau

Elevator doors roughed in on the ground floor, image by Jack Landau

In an interesting arrangement, a large temporary atrium cuts through part of the podiums floors. As space is at a premium on this construction site, a gap has been left in the floors for the construction hoists to travel through the podium on their way up the tower’s south side. It will be a few weeks before the hoists are installed.

Temporary cut out where the hoists will climb through the podium, image by Jack Landau

Temporary cut out where the hoists will climb through the podium, image by Jack Landau

Starting on the second floor of the podium, the beginnings of the building’s first residential spaces are starting to come together. Though there is still a long ways to go before we get to see anything resembling a completed condominium unit, these spaces are showing much promise with their high ceilings and abundant natural light.

Future residential spaces in the upper part of FIVE's podium, image by Jack Landau

Future suite facing west to Phipps Street, image by Craig White

Call it ironic or call it fitting, but Five’s most complicated floor is...well… five. As the amenity level, the fifth floor will feature deep planters, terraces, and a water feature, so it is unlike any of the floors above or below as far as formwork goes, and each form is having to be built specially for it. Don't expect construction to speed up for a month or so until the first of the tower's typical floors is ready to go.

Looking south across FIVE's 4th and 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Heritage façade meeting the 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Looking north across FIVE's 4th and 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Change in floor height where 5th floor terrace begins, image by Jack Landau

Floors are currently being poured on the fifth floor, and a small convoy of concrete trucks were lined up along St Nicholas Street to the south and west, waiting to unload their cargo.

Concrete trucks lined up on St. Nicholas Street, image by Jack Landau

Up top, buckets of concrete are being hoisted up by the tower crane and unloaded over rebar-filled slab forms to create the new floor.

Concrete being poured on the 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Progress on the 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Progress on the 5th floor, image by Jack Landau

Below ground, FIVE’s cavernous underground garage is starting to take shape as well. A look at the garage’s parking ramp reveals some interesting angles and steep slopes.

Entrance to the underground parking garage, image by Jack Landau

Underground parking ramp, image by Jack Landau

Construction on the 539-unit development is scheduled for completion in March of 2015. Until then, you can always visit our dataBase for additional information including building facts, renderings and floorplans. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out one of the associated Forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided below.

Related Companies:  Baker Real Estate Inc., Cecconi Simone, DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, Diamond Corp, ERA Architects, Five St. Joseph Developments, Graywood Developments, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Janet Rosenberg + Studio, L.A. Inc., MOD Developments Inc., PRO-BEL, Tricon Capital Group Inc.