UrbanToronto's stories on areas of the city to watch for development in 2015 now rises to five, adding Bay and Yonge Streets between Downtown and Bloor-Yorkville to our previous articles covering North York Centre and East, Yonge-Eglinton, St. Clair West, and Bloor-Yorkville.
Intensification in the area we are calling Downtown North follows within a block of Bay and Yonge, the two major north-south streets in the area. We will head down Bay just south of our Bloor-Yorkville story coverage area, then turn northwards before Queen Street and head north again. Surrounding areas will follow in upcoming reports.
The Bay Street Corridor
At the southwest corner of Bay and St. Joseph Streets, construction of Cresford Developments' 1Thousand Bay is now above grade, and work is under way on the podium of the 32-storey, architectsAlliance-designed condominium tower. Once the project is completed, 1Thousand Bay will add 478 residential units to Bay Street. U Condos, which dominate the background of the image below, were covered in our Bloor-Yorkdale story.
Just south of the 1Thousand Bay site but on the east side of Bay, interior demolition is under way on The Britt Condos, Lanterra Developments' conversion of the former 33-storey Sutton Place hotel into a new 41-storey condominium residence designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects. More intensive more on the project should be visible on the exterior soon.
Steps southeast of The Britt, Lanterra Developments' Wellesley on the Park was one of the many new developments approved during a lengthy City Council meeting in August 2014. The 60-storey, KPMB Architects and Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects-designed condominium tower will add 742 units and a large park to the community. Work will get under way on the project this year.
Pushing further to the south, construction continues at the site of Women's College Hospital, where the nine-storey, Perkins Eastman Black and IBI Group Architects-designed second phase building is topped off and now fully clad. An older shot of the project from October 2014 shows cladding nearing the top of the structure.
Jumping south to Gerrard Street, an application was recently filed by developers GWL Realty Advisors asking for a stand alone shoring and excavation permit for future development at 43 Gerrard West. Concept renderings for a RAW-designed 43-storey rental development first appeared in 2012, yet the zoning amendment was not approved until the June 2014 City Council meeting. The site saw no activity until earlier this month, when the shoring and excavation application was filed. Rumours are that IBI Group Architects are doing the final design.
Across Bay Street here is LuCliff Place. A 45-storey residential tower with a design by Quadrangle Architects has been proposed by KingSett Capital to replace a two-storey podium at the west end of the site. The project is working its way through the planning process; the first community meeting is scheduled for February 2.
Continuing south, the demolition of the World's Biggest Bookstore is wrapping up at 20 Edward Street. Earlier plans for a row of two-storey restaurants were scrapped, and owner of the property Lifetime Developments has instead applied for rezoning to allow a 35-storey condominium tower with height of 122.3 meters and 629 residential units. The project would also feature 96,835 square feet of non-residential space, with substantial retail space on ground floor and second floor and in a below-grade concourse, presumably connected via an extension of the PATH system to the Atrium on Bay to the south, and with office uses on the third floor.
To the immediate south of the 20 Edward site, one of Downtown's major retail shopping centres was granted permission to expand and renovate in late 2013. Owned by H&R REIT, the existing Atrium on Bay complex is comprised of 13- and 14-storey office towers and a mid-sized shopping mall. H&R REIT plans to add five new storeys above each of the existing towers to create 283,000 square feet of new space, plus several changes to the ground floor configuration that would include the removal of the moat on the Bay Street frontage. Though the zoning amendment went through in late 2013, and the OMB dismissed an appeal by neighbours in 2014, there has been no word as to when the expansion might start.
The Yonge Street Corridor
Crossing Dundas Street to the south and moving over to Yonge, the closing of the former Sears location at the Eaton Centre is spurring a large-scale interior reconfiguration of the mall's north end. Owner Cadillac Fairview has remained tight-lipped about most of the details so far, but we do know that Nordstrom is taking 213,000 square feet of the former Sears store's space. Of the remaining 140,000 square feet, only Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo has so far been revealed as a new tenant. Uniqlo will be taking 28,000 square feet of space in the north end of of the former Sears space, close to competitor H&M.
How the rest of the 112,000 square feet is being divided up has been a matter of rumours and speculation, with the most credible tidbits including a move for the Apple Store into a two-storey space in the former southeast corner of Sears. No telling when that may open or what other stores will be a part of the reshaping here, but we know Nordstrom will be opening in the fall of 2016.
Across Yonge from the Eaton Centre, MOD Developments is building the 60-storey Massey Tower. Work got under way on the Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed condominium tower right next to Massey Hall last year with the removal of the rear portion of the heritage bank occupying the site. As of the end of 2014, the Massey Tower site was in its shoring phase, with excavation expected to proceed through 2015.
Just to the northeast at Shuter and Victoria Streets is legendary concert venue Massey Hall. Work has begun on this KPMB Architects-designed revitalization and addition project where a backstage annex to the hall came down last year. A larger addition will eventually rise here, partially built on land donated by MOD Developments, title now transferred. Work here will coordinate with construction requirements for Massey Tower as that development has its vehicular access through this opening on Victoria Street. Massey Hall is planning an event in February to update the plans and celebrate the accomplishments so far. For the moment though, we the new back-of-house facilities are expected to be complete at Massey Hall in 2017, while restoration work on the auditorium is scheduled to take place between 2018 and 2020.
Heading north along Victoria to just south of Yonge-Dundas Square, construction has progressed at the site of HNR Dundas Square Tower by HNR Properties. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, with heritage elements overseen by specialists ERA Architects, the new residential tower is now above grade and primed to start its climb towards its eventual height of 40 storeys.
At the southeast corner of Yonge and Gould Street—across from the Ryerson Student Learning Centre—is a vacant plot of land. Along with the HMV building to the south, the two properties are the site of a proposed mixed-use commercial-residential project. Publicity about the retail opportunities here was first issued in December 2012, but nothing new has come since, and it is not known when we can expect new information.
Across Gould Street is Ryerson University's new Student Learning Centre, on track for 2015 completion. This building has been turning heads on Yonge Street with its bold Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects design. With the bulk of the construction mostly done, work has shifted to finishing and furnishing the interiors. Students will populate the above-ground levels of the building later this year, while questions remain as to how the retail spaces facing Yonge Street will be used. It is reported that other Ryerson programs temporarily forced out of current spaces may be using the Yonge Street spaces at least temporarily.
On the east side of Yonge just south of Gerrard we hear rumours of a coming condominium redevelopment, while just north of Gerrard at 401 Yonge, Ashlar Urban is looking to lease out space in a three-storey Victorian block now being restored.
Across Yonge we have paid considerable attention to the rise of Canderel's Aura at College Park, a 78-storey, Graziani + Corazza Architects-designed condominium tower with retail in the podium. The project is essentially complete, but some interior finishing work continues, and of course, everyone wants to know when Aura's lights—which we saw in test mode a couple of times during 2014—will become a permanent feature of our skyline.
Residents will continue to populate this building well into 2015. Floors 5-58 are reportedly registering in late February. Finally, Aura's Section 37 funds will be ploughed into revitalizing Barbara Ann Scott Park at its base, a project which will take several months to complete later this year .
North of College Street, Canderel has another project under way at Grenville Street, where demolition of a two-storey commercial building continues on the west side of Yonge in preparation for YC Condos. This condominium tower, also designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, is set to soar over 60 storeys above Yonge Street. It will be 2016 before we see this project back at grade, as 2015 will be all about excavation here, and then building the below grade portions.
Half a block to the north, a rezoning application has been submitted for a 45-storey residential building with commercial on the ground floor at 480 Yonge Street. The site features a landmark on Yonge Street, the well-known historic 1872 clock tower of the former Fire Hall #3 above what for years was the St. Charles Tavern. Still in early planning stages, nothing is yet known about how the clock tower and new structure would interact.
Across Yonge Street another half block further north is where Lanterra Developments' TeaHouse at 501 Yonge Condominiums will be built. Designed by architectsAlliance, the development will consist of 52- and 25-storey towers rising from a shared podium. Marketing is well under way for the taller of the two buildings, which reportedly hit the 75% sales mark in December 2014. No word yet on whether demolition and excavation will start later this year here.
Turning east on Wellesley Street are a couple of projects on the north side. Vox Condominiums, a 33-storey development by Cresford and designed by architectAlliance, was a very quick sale in 2014. Demolition of the existing 4-storey building on the site would have to precede excavation here.
Immediately to the east will be 50 at Wellesley Station, designed by Quadrangle Architects for Plaza. It is currently in its sales phase. Other than the presentation centre, the site is clear here and ready for excavation once the building is ready to go.
Immediately to the north of Wellesley Subway Station, an application to demolish a 3-storey office building was recently submitted for the site of Worsley Urban Partners' Totem Condos. The modernist office building's facade will be incorporated with the new tower's modern shifted volumes with a design by architectural studio RAW Design. Once the existing building has been removed, excavation work for the 18-storey condominium can begin. The development will include a new second exit for Wellesley Subway Station.
Across Yonge is one of the larger developments slated for completion this year. FIVE Condos is now topped off at 48 storeys, while its recently revealed heritage restoration components on Yonge Street are currently capturing a lot of attention on their own accord. Developed by Five St. Joseph Developments, Graywood Developments, MOD Developments Inc., Diamond Corp and Tricon Capital, and designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects with heritage components overseen by ERA Architects, many parties are involved with the design and construction of FIVE. The tower's exterior is now beginning to see its signature balcony cladding being applied. This is certain to be a standout design feature at the corner of Yonge and St. Joseph, just north of Wellesley.
On the next block north, we may be hearing more soon about a proposal that was first submitted to the City in the fall of 2012. With soil testers having been seen on the site in December 2014, there's a good chance that we will learn more about a 44-storey proposal for 587 to 599 Yonge, 2 to 4 Dundonald Street, and 7 to 9 Gloucester Street in 2015. Owner Stancorp Properties engaged Hariri Pontarini Architects on the initial design. Speculation is that Stancorp would partner with an established developer for this project.
At the north end of this block, a development proposed for 625 through 637 Yonge Street, and wrapping around to 1 through 9 Isabella Street has been in negotiation with the City and at the OMB for over a year. As of November 2014, the owners have won the right to building a 46-storey tower on the site, pending working out particular details of the site plan and the Section 37 public benefits contribution. We can expect the fine-print to be formally agreed upon in 2015, but it is not yet known if marketing will commence this year, not which developer will be attached to the project. The initial design was prepared by Page + Steel / IBI Group Architects, but for 40 storeys. It is not known if the 46-storey version will resemble the conceptual plan below.
There are rumours of other land assemblies along this section Yonge Street which may come to light any time this year. If you have not read up on projects continuing up Yonge from here, you can find them in our Bloor-Yorkville article.
There is a whole lot to look forward to development-wise in 2015, and we will return soon with previews covering other major nodes in the GTA. For additional information and renderings about the projects mentioned in this article, check out the dataBase files listed below.