Though work has already begun on the site, the ceremonial ground breaking for Aqualina at Bayside was held today at the water's edge. Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell, Waterfront Toronto Vice President of Development Meg Davis, Hines Country Head Avi Tesciuba, Tridel President Leo DelZotto, and Artscape CEO Tim Jones were on hand to celebrate the start of construction for the first of eight buildings in the 13-acre Bayside Toronto project.
The 13-storey condominium, developed by Tridel and Hines, has been designed by the Miami-based firm Arquitectonica. Aqualina's prime location, with west-facing units looking out over Sherbourne Common, has been a major consideration in the design of the building. Balconies have been angled to maximize lake and skyline views. Glass and steel cubes form the expression of the building, which has several amenity spaces. The 13th floor amenity rooftop will offer views of the neighbourhood and the rooftop urban garden on the 11th floor, which can be used by residents for urban agriculture.
A two-storey walkway, dubbed Via Velo, will intersect the building from Bonnycastle Street to Sherbourne Common. Lined with retail, landscaping and seating, the space is designed for all-season use with the help of retractable glass walls.
The environment has also been a major consideration. The Bayside Toronto development is seeking LEED Gold status, but Aqualina is aiming for LEED Platinum, the highest certification possible. Residents will be able to enjoy the waterfront-wide ultra-high speed fibre-optic network developed by Beanfield Metroconnect. Appointed by II BY IV Design Associates, the 362 units inside the development range in size from 548 square feet to 1,343 square feet, with remaining suites selling from $370,500 up to $1.4 million.
"I'm happy to be part of this ground breaking ceremony today," said Mayor John Tory. "As you might expect, the Mayor of the city doesn't come to the ground breaking for every project, there's so many projects going on you couldn't possibly be there for all them. But I select instead the ones that I think are different, to say 'this is special, there's something going on here that we should take note of.' It's about parks, public institutions and jobs, but it's really about bringing the community together, and I think that this project is going to help do that."
"The Bayside Toronto community will have residential buildings like Aqualina and the next phase, Aquavista, but it will also have office buildings, retail at the bottom of the buildings, a grocery store, affordable housing and a high street lined with retail," said Avi Tesciuba, Managing Director of Hines and Head of Canadian Operations. "It will have its own park to supplement Sherbourne Common. It will be a more intimate park further to the east that's more targeted towards residents." Located in the centre of the Bayside prokect, Aitken Place Park will be designed by Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. and Thomas Balsley Associates. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017 with a targeted 2018 completion date.
The Central Waterfront Secondary Plan mandates that at least 20% of all new residential units be affordable rentals. The second residential project to rise in Bayside, Aquavista, will contain 80 affordable rental housing units operated by Artscape. In total, 1,800 units within six residential buildings plus two office buildings will make up the Bayside development. With construction now underway, Aqualina has been tentatively scheduled for Summer 2018 occupancy. The ground breaking for Aqualina marks another major milestone for Waterfront Toronto, who recently celebrated the ground breaking for Monde and the launch of Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts, two major developments set to change the lakefront landscape of the city.
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