Following Monday's announcement of the rezoning application for Toronto's Eaton Chelsea Hotel at 33 Gerrard Street West, excitement has quickly built for the new development, with the plan for four high-rise towers—proposed at 46, 50, 74, and 80 storeys—garnering significant public interest. Now, a Planning Rationale for the site has revealed new details about the proposal from hotel owner Great Eagle Holdings, which envisions an architectsAlliance-designed cluster of towers, as well as a re-made streetscape.

A worm's eye view of the towers, image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

While these early renderings will be used predominantly for massing purposes in regards to the zoning amendments that will be required, they nonetheless evidence an aesthetic that may indicate the architectural style of the final project. A clean, international style-influenced design with punched windows is evident in the towers, though this form is inflected by more contemporary glass interventions along the length of each tower. In the context of Toronto's increasingly glass dominated skyline, the towers would stand out amidst the city's highrise landscape.  

Looking west from Yonge Street, the tallest tower (4) is seen at right, image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

The tallest of the towers—the 80-storey Tower 4 (above)—would rise to a height of 251.9 metres (including the mechanical penthouse), coming in slightly under the neighboring, 272-metre Aura at College Park. Towers 3, 2, and 1, come in at 163.4 metres, 154.7 metres, and 237.4 metres respectively, falling within the area's newly established height range, recently set by Aura and perpetuated by the 73 storey 385 Yonge Street proposal across the street. 

The layout of the towers and new streetscape, image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

According to the Planning Rationale, the new towers would bring 1,897 residential units to the area. These project would would be configured in 237 studio units, 703 one-bedroom units, 251 one-bedroom plus den units, 590 two-bedroom units, and 118 three-bedroom units. In addition, 300 hotel suites and 62,172 square feet of office space are included in the proposal, though—as with the residential configurations and designs—these details are likely to change as the design process evolves. 

A closer, mid-level look at the towers (looking west), image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

Besides the sheer size and density of the towers, the proposal is also notable for its extensively reconfigured streetscape and public realm. The plan would see Walton Street—which was effectively cut in half to make room for the T-shaped slab hotel building that currently occupies the siterestored to its former length (as seen in the layout, above), while a new north-south cobblestone walkway, fronted by cafes, restaurants, and retail, would foster a vibrantly pedestrian-oriented ambiance.

A closer look at a ground level podium (facing northeast), image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

On street level, the wide pedestrian walkways would be surrounded by the towers' cohesively designed 6-storey podiums, as well as an additional stand-alone commercial building of the same height and style. The restored and more walking-friendly streetscape represents a significant contrast to the T-shaped slab that currently occupies the site, impeding pedestrian access through the large city block.

Looking west, the green roofs are visible, image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

The renderings also show green roofs topping the six-storey commercial building, as well as much of the podiums (seen above). On street level, new plantings are also visible, with a number of trees decorating the pedestrian areas (below). Though the staggering height and density of the towers may be the most eye-catching feature of the proposal, the invigorated public realm below could also have significant impact on the area's social fabric in its own right. 

Looking northeast at ground level, image courtesy of Great Eagle Holdings

As the project is still in its early stages, we can expect a number substantial revisions to the design and configuration over the coming months as the planning process with its consultations kicks into gear. In that regard, the renderings shown are less an indication of the finalized project than a broad conceptual framework from which the final proposal will emerge. 

We will be sure to return with updates as more information becomes available, and the project continues to take shape. In the meantime, there are more renderings in our dataBase file for the project, linked below, and you can let us know what you think of the plans by leaving a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page, or by checking out the associated Forum thread to get in on the conversation.

Related Companies:  Arcadis, architects—Alliance, Gradient Wind Engineers & Scientists, Grounded Engineering Inc., Mulvey & Banani