Toronto is growing like never before in 2014, and we have been taking you through parts of town to show you what you can expect over the course of the year. So far we have explored the Entertainment District, King West, Yonge and Eglinton, Downtown East,Bloor-Yorkville, Downtown North, Humber Bay Shores, East and West of downtown and even the region’s many expanding shopping malls. Today, we head southeast of the Downtown core to examine growth in the West Don Lands, East Bayfront and surrounding communities.
In the historic Distillery District, Cityscape and Dundee Realty’s The Gooderham topped off before the end of 2013. The 35-storey, architectsAlliance-designed condominium tower follows in the footsteps of its adjacent sibling, Clear Spirit. The intriguingly crimped tower is currently being fitted with balcony glazing and other finishing touches, and is set to see its first residents later this year.
With the Pan and Parapan Am Games only a year and a half away, construction is quickly progressing on the West Don Lands community, which will serve as an Athletes Village during the games. The neighbourhood is being built from scratch on former industrial land.
Last year saw the opening of two new parks; Waterfront Toronto’s Corktown Common was a smash hit upon initial opening, and there is still much more on the way for the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates-designed, 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park. Work is on the park’s “wet side” of the flood protection landform will be completed in 2014, with the remainder of the park slated to open mid-year.
Waterfront Toronto’s Underpass Park is already partially open as well. This uniquely sheltered urban recreation space is mostly located beneath the busy lanes of the Eastern, Adelaide and Richmond overpasses. Designed by Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg and The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park has already become a huge hit with skateboarders, BMX cyclists and pedestrians looking for a place to relax in the shade. This year we can expect to see the opening of the park’s greener western expansion.
Immediately north of Underpass Park, Urban Capital Property Group's River City Phase 1 is moslty complete other than remaining touches now being installed. Residents have already begun to occupy the ZAS Architects and Saucier + Perrotte Architects-designed condominium development at the northeastern edge of the West Don Lands, and construction is now progressing on the development’s second phase – a project we will return to shortly.
Located immediately west of the River City development, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s new affordable housing buildings at King and River are also due for completion this year. Designed by Core Architects, the development consists of two four-storey low-rise apartment buildings with 115 units fronting on St. Lawrence and River Streets and backing onto a central courtyard, as well as an eight-storey apartment building with 128 one-bedroom units, designed for seniors, fronting on King Street East.
A couple of blocks south and in the heart of the West Don Lands, DundeeKilmer’s Canary District Condos is another project set for completion this year. While the four-building, KPMB Architects-designed project will be complete this year, the development will not see long-term residents until 2016 as it will first serve as a residence for athletes during the Pan and Parapan Am Games. After the games the interiors will be gutted and rebuilt as condominium units.
Not quite so far along, but in a similar situation are DundeeKilmer's Canary Park buildings. The 16 and 12-storey, KPMB Architects and Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects-designed buildings topped off late last year, and work is now continuing on cladding and interiors. Like Canary District, these buildings will first be used as an athletes’ residence during the 2015 Games before being converted into condominium units.
Another project set to see completion in 2014, but not opening this year is the George Brown College Residence and the integrated Cooper Koo Family YMCA at Front and Cherry Streets. These buildings, along with TCHC affordable housing buildings immediately to the east will also serve as a temporary residence for athletes during the Games, and will not assume their final use until after the conclusion of the games.
Not too much will be completing this year beyond the fenced-off grounds of the West Don Lands. One building that will is the modestly-sized new home for Italinteriors commercial division. The 3-storey, Sweeny Sterling Finlayson &Co Architects-designed building at 445 King East is now fully clad, we can expect to see it open in the next few months. Italinteriors' residential division will be staying where they are at 359 King East.
Construction is progressing on Phase 2 at Urban Capital Property Group’s acclaimed River City development on the north side of the West Don Lands. The design takes the form of a single 12-storey building visually divided into three glass “mini-towers” with fully glazed passageways. The use of white and translucent materials is sure to provide a great contrast to the dark-hued first phase.
On Parliament Street just south of Front Street, Bresler's Parliament Street Data Centre is an early-stage construction project we will be keeping an eye on this year. Designed by WZMH Architects, the 5-storey, 22,000 square-meter data centre will house one level of underground parking, approximately 13,000 square-meters of “white space” for internet equipment, and one floor dedicated to building systems and tenant offices on the ground level. The building will be clad in a combination of smooth and ribbed porcelain panels set upon a clear glass base, the pattern paying homage to early computer “punch card” technology.
Much of the development in this area is going on land that was previously home to industry, meaning that much master planning and new infrastructure has had to go on first. Waterfront Toronto is the government agency which has been overseeing that work. There are buildings within the area they oversee (outside of the West Don Lands) which are in sales now that we may see some construction movement on later in 2014.
Great Gulf Homes' entry into the East Bayfront market, Monde, is currently in sales. The Moshe Safdie and Quadrangle Architects-designed building calls for a 40-storey tower containing 513 condominium units.
After an impressive run of sales in 2013, Hines and Tridel are proceeding with construction of Aqualina at Bayside. Designed by Arquitectonica, the 13-storey, 363 unit condominium building will stand as the first major residential redevelopment in the fledgling East Bayfront community.
Hines and Tridel have recently released renderings depicting the area east of Aqualina, including the next residential phases, and a pair of 9-storey commercial buildings designed by the world-renowned firm of Pelli Clark Pelli. To be called Queens Quay Place, each of the 215,00 square foot commercial buildings is looking for lead tenants now.
Late last year, Waterfront Toronto also released a Request for Qualifications for the opportunity to develop an 'Innovation Centre' in the East Bayfront. The proposed purpose-built facility will contain 350,000 square-feet of state-of-the-art facilities designed to accommodate tenants who seek a collaborative environment. The proposal calls for specialized cutting-edge digital infrastructure to respond to the rapidly changing needs of the 21st century office tenant.
One further building in the area is just now going into marketing: Urban Capital Property Group’s River City Phase 3. The 30-storey Saucier + Perrotte Architects-designed project takes visual cues from the development’s first two phases as a well as a recently rifled-through card file cabinet.
There is still much more to look forward to other parts of Toronto in 2014, and we will examine more of those areas in coming days. Until then, you can check in on the various projects mentioned in this article by visiting the related dataBase files, linked below. Want to talk about any of them? Click on the associated Forum thread links, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.