There's no family resemblance, but Backstage on The Esplanade, a condominium development by Cityzen, Fernbrook and Castlepoint Numa, can be considered the sister project of the much-discussed L Tower located across the street to the north. Backstage has seen limited coverage on UrbanToronto in comparison to its much taller sibling, though the 36-storey, Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects–designed development is really ust getting out of the ground now. So while it has kept a relatively low profile thus far, concrete has now risen a full floor above ground, and is now priming this development for its race skyward.
When we stopped by the Backstage site a week ago, work on the concrete floor slab for the podium’s second level was underway, while extra-thick 35 mm rebar was being lifted by crane from flatbed trucks.
This particularly heavy rebar will find its way into the crash wall that is being built alongside the GO tracks leading into Union Station.
Here's an enlargement of part of the photo above; check out the difference of the gauge of the rebar used in normal concrete forms with that of the rebar for the crash wall. That's some serious steel.
Owing to the special requirements and non-repetitive layout of the podium levels, these floors require much more time to complete than the typical tower floorplates built later in the construction process. Once concrete work wraps up on the four-storey podium, the tower floors will rise at a much swifter pace.
Backstage's underground levels, as well as its four-storey podium, both contain parking garages. They are built to accommodate 144 aboveground parking spots for Backstage residents, and 356 underground spaces for residents of the L Tower. The very restricted footprint of the L Tower combined with its sheer size ruled out the inclusion of on-site underground parking, leading the developers to locate the L Tower garage beneath Backstage, with a pedestrian tunnel running below The Esplanade to connect the two projects.
The short pedestrian tunnel, seen in the photo below, was carved through clay and shale using a tunnel boring machine similar to but much smaller than the rigs being used to drill the York-Spadina Subway extension or the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. The tunnel now awaits a floor and finishing which will include polished concrete.
When completed, the 284-unit development will stand 383 feet high, and offer residents a host of amenities including a rooftop garden with 70 foot infinity pool, a fitness and yoga studio and a private cinema with adjoining bar.
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