Toronto's urban landscape has continued to evolve over the past year. Last month, we polled you on what your favourite buildings of their class were in 2016. Now, as the wave of development continues to sweep across the city, it's time to kick-start our annual Growth To Watch For series, 2017 promises to be another exciting year for development, urbanism, skyscraper, and architecture fans alike!
Like last year, we are beginning with the Entertainment District. Often cited as Toronto's home of Manhattanization owing to the explosive growth of high-rises on what seems like every corner, the Entertainment District will evolve further as 2017 progresses. This instalment will feature projects that will soon be home to thousands of new residents and workers moving into this ever-growing and denser neighbourhood; projects that are still currently rising from the ground, projects just beginning construction, others just in marketing now, and those early in the process that are just now seeking planning approval from the City.
We're starting at the south end of the area along Front Street, and heading west. We'll head up a block of Bathurst, then turn east along Wellington, gradually weaving through the district on a street-by-street basis. Come along on this walk with us!
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As we walk west along Front into the area from Union Station, we pass by one of the largest stalled redevelopment projects in Toronto: Oxford's plans to rebuild the Metro Toronto Convention Centre have gone quiet for the time being since a proposal for a casino here was blocked, and it's anybody's guess as to when we will hear a new announcement for this huge site.
Across the street and one more block west though, plans by the State Building Group and Stanford Homes for four new towers at 400 Front Street, just east of Spadina, are going to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the developer having filed an appeal owing to a lack of a decision at Toronto City Council on the project within the 120 days required by law. This architectsAlliance-designed proposal currently calls for 24 and 25-storey office buildings, and 56 and 60-storey condo towers. We will pass by the sites of a number of other proposals in this area waiting for OMB hearing dates: this one's pre-hearing starts on January 24.
Cross Spadina Avenue, though, and one of the largest new projects in Toronto is just getting underway now. With the Globe and Mail having moved to King Street East in December, site clearance will begin shortly for The Well by Daimondcorp, Allied REIT, and RioCan. This Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed development promises a major new retail centre, a 36-storey office tower, and several Tridel residential towers. The Well is currently marketing their commercial spaces; residential marketing should begin shortly.
South of The Well, the City is working on a study of what it will cost to build the proposed Rail Deck Park. Early estimates say it will cost over a billion dollars for the 13 acre green space planned to top the rail corridor heading into Union Station. Meanwhile, Metrolinx has a proposal at the corner of Spadina and Front for a new GO station on the Barrie line to be built a few years in the future.
Where Front Street meets Bathurst, is Minto Westside, a multi-wing condo complex of 18 and 20 storeys, boasting 1,200 units. Below-grade levels are currently under construction at the Wallman Architects-designed development, and should reach grade in a few months.
One block north of Front is Wellington Street, and while the block of it from Bathurst through to Portland is pretty much built out now, east of Portland, there are a slew of proposals in the works. None are expected to go into construction this year (other than excavation work coming for the north side of The Well site), as these are all fairly early in the planning process.
485 Wellington is the furthest along of these, proposed to be built at the southwest corner at Draper Street. Now planned as a 15 storey condo with retail at the base, it was just one floor taller in its initial version. The preliminary rendering from Wallman Architects is below; check out the dataBase for the latest image of this Lifetime Developments project.
The rest of the Wellington proposals between Portland and Spadina are for the row of mid-rises along the north side of the street. 504 Wellington is a proposed 15-storey office building designed by RAW. East of that is another RAW-designed office proposal at 488 Wellington, 16 storeys tall this time. At 474 Wellington is a 15-storey office proposal, designed by architectsAlliance for Hullmark Developments.
Then there's Wellington House, a Lamb Dev Corp condominium proposal designed by architectsAlliance at 422 and 424 Wellington West. A 23-storey high proposal, it's been rejected by City Planning as representing overdevelopment of the site. Developer Brad Lamb has stated his intention to go to the OMB, but an appeal has not been recorded yet.
Crossing Spadina Avenue again, one property north of the gas station at Clarence Square is proposed for redevelopment. 57 Spadina, originally planned as a condo, has been redesigned by Diamond Schmitt Architects to be built as a 36-storey rental tower for Tricon Capital.
A block east of Clarence Square, Wellington is intersected by Blue Jays Way. East of that street, Wellington is largely built-out, so other than a recent a recent surprise plan to add 5 more storeys to the top of the Marriott Residence Inn at Windsor Street, there are no other proposals on this stretch of the street. We can head a short block north on Blue Jays Way instead.
On the left, immediately north of the SoHo Met hotel, Bisha Hotel and Residences from Lifetime Developments and Ink Entertainment has now topped off at a height of 44 storeys, and is nearly fully clad. While work on the heritage facade at the base of the tower progresses, construction continues inside. Once the Wallman Architects-designed complex is complete late this year, Bisha will include a boutique hotel that will occupy the lower portion of the tower.
Bisha's east face looks down Mercer Street, where we are headed next. On the south side, a proposal by Madison Homes for 15 through 35 Mercer that was originally planned as a 67-storey O-shaped building has now morphed into twin 49-storey towers. The Teeple Architects-designed condo towers feature over 880 residential units, rising above a 163-room hotel.
Across the street to the north, a super slim 17-storey condominium has been approved at 24 Mercer. The modern project by Scott Shields Architects will rise out of the top of a 2-storey heritage building.
From the east end of Mercer, we head north on John Street. Looking north from the intersection at King, we wonder if 2017 will be the year that the Entertainment District BIA-led remake of John Street and the associated plaza at the southeast corner of King and John will start. The plan is to create a much more pedestrian friendly public realm for the entertainment-oriented street.
Just to the east of John Street along the north side of King is another project about which everyone is wondering if 2017 might also the year that we will see some movement. The much anticipated two-tower Mirvish+Gehry development received zoning approval in 2014, and at the time, construction was targeted to start in Q4 2016. Now into January 2017, we are still awaiting the start of sales in the Frank Gehry-designed first tower. A Site Plan application was submitted to the City for review by Projectcore in April of last year.
Let's turn around and head west on King. Passing the TIFF Bell Lightbox, restaurant row on the south side is a nice reminder of the area's past. Full of character, this low-rise stretch is bound to change at some point owing to two property assemblies which took place over the last decade. Plans for 305 through 319 King Street West for a 42-storey tower with an office/hotel/residential mix have gone quiet after initially proceeding through the planning process four years ago. Next door, a settlement was reached in 2013 for a 47-storey building to rise behind the preserved heritage facades of 321 through 333 King Street West, but no movement towards development has occurred since that time. For now there's a reprieve on both developments… while at the next assembly to the west, there's a lot of construction underway.
The big hole with the cranes here is for King Blue Condos, a 44- and 48-storey two-tower condo by the Greenland Group that will add over 800 residential units and over 120 hotel rooms at 355 King West. The facade of the heritage Westinghouse building is being held in place by a huge frame until new structure is completed behind it. It may take half the year to reach grade level, with work on the podium to take most of the rest of 2017. A 2019 completion is expected for the Page + Steele / IBI Group-designed complex.
North of King Blue—half a block up Peter Street—is 87 Peter, where the podium has now been fully formed and the repetitive floorplate pattern of the tower has now started. This 49-storey Menkes Developments condo is roughly at the 16th storey, and will top out later this year. The first of the cladding is now being applied to the Core Architects-designed building, which is expected to be complete in 2018.
On the west side of Peter Street, the low-rise building home to a Shoppers Drug Mart is proposed to be replaced with an office tower. 388 King West has zoning approval to proceed, but developer Allied REIT is still looking for an anchor tenant. As they are focusing ore on some of their other sites—like The Well—the Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed 388 King development is unlikely to go ahead in 2017.
The next property to the west is MEC, formerly known as Mountain Equipment Coop. MEC are working on a replacement for this store a couple of blocks north on Queen Street, so in anticipation of a 2018 move, Plazacorp have purchased the current MEC store site. While you won't see changes for this building this year, plans are brewing for the future.
On the south side of King between Blue Jays Way and Spadina, there are more projects bubbling under currently. Right across Blue Jays Way from King Blue, the former Tux Condos presentation centre and current pop-up retail location may see some activity this year: Tux Condos at 357 King has been redesigned by Quadrangle Architects as a rental apartment development instead for Great Gulf, and is currently working its way through the planning process.
West of the Tux property are three slender low-rise buildings, two of which were assembled a few years ago, and proposed as a narrow 15-storey building. 369 King West was proceeding through the planning process in 2013, but no final report was issued and nothing has been heard of it since.
Another project that has been on and off even longer is the much grander plan to replace three properties at 401 through 415 King St West on the southeast corner of King and Spadina. Most recently submitted to the City as a 55-storey condominium tower with crimped sides, the Teeple Architects design for Tridel and Terracap is headed for an OMB-led mediation scheduled to start on February 21.
On the west side of Spadina, the plans for buildings are shorter, but there's no less ambition here.
Recent acquisitions mean that Allied REIT, already responsible for much of the revitalized heritage stock that has fueled King West's resurgence over the past years, now owns every building on the south side of the block as far west as 539 King West. While there are no concrete plans for intensification of the easterly properties here, (485 King West recently opened as a restaurant following extensive restoration and renovations), the entire westerly group of properties at 489 through 539 King St West is—in partnership with Westbank—proposed to be redeveloped as a mixed-use retail/office/condominium complex in a design by renowned architectural firm BIG, or Bjarke Ingels Group. The development is continuing through Toronto's planning process.
On the north side of King are another pair of development sites. At 540 King West, Great Gulf introduced an 11-storey Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed condominium at a pre-application community consultation in the fall of 2015, but the City has not seen a submission yet. Ground sampling was done here in the fall of 2016, so the studies leading up to a submission seem to be underway.
Along the east side of Portland at 590 King, YAD Investments presented a pre-application proposal last June. No application has been received yet for what was to be a 12 storey commercial building by KFA Architects, mostly proposed to be built on parking lots on the north portion of the property.
In the block west of Portland Street is the King Portland Centre. Being developed by Allied REIT and RioCan, and designed by Hariri Pontarini, work began last year with demolition and then excavation. Two cranes are up now, foundations are being poured, and this 15-storey mixed-use office and rental apartment complex is targeted for completion in 2018.
With the last touches at 629 King West (formerly known as the Thompson Residences) now being finished up, there's no other construction expected on the south side of King between Portland and Bathurst this year… but a recent submission to the City from Main and Main covers a planned redevelopment at the southwest at corner King and Bathurst, proposing to replace a 4-storey heritage commercial building with a mixed-use 19-storey retail and residential development designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects at 663 King.
Heading north on Bathurst and turning the corner onto Adelaide, we pass Harhay's oneeleven Condos, a Core Architects design which was completed last year. Just to the east of it, Musèe Condos is nearing completion, with interior work and its outdoor courtyard park in their final stages. The 17-storey condo—a Quadrangle Architects design for Plaza—will begin occupancy within the coming months.
A bit smaller, a 12-storey condo designed by Sweeny &Co at 502 Adelaide West on the northeast corner at Portland was submitted to the City in September 2016. A public consultation is coming up in a matter of weeks.
For years, the developer of the Templar Hotel (pictured at the base of 350 Adelaide, two images below) had planned to build a condo at Adelaide and Charlotte Streets, but their business acumen didn't match their dreams, and the company went bankrupt. With the property now in the hands of Fortress RDI and Cityzen, a proposal was floated for 46 Charlotte's corner site in 2016. Currently working its way through the planning process, 46 Charlotte is planned as a 46-storey condo designed by Architecture Unfolded. A public consultation is happening in the next couple of weeks.
In July 2016, Graywood Developments submitted a proposal for a pair of towers, 40 and 48 storeys tall, at 350 Adelaide West at Peter Street. The BBB Architects design joins the two towers with a billowing screen which hides the elevator core. The screen is a perforated metal that would be lit from within, glowing at night. The building continues through Toronto's planning process.
One block east on the southwest corner at Widmer Street, Plaza has an on-ste presentation centre for Theatre District Condos, ready to fit-out should they get a favourable decision at the OMB. Mediation will be getting underway as of January 23 for the 48-storey Quadrangle Architects-designed proposal.
Immediately south of Theatre District Condos, Scott Shields Architects has submitted a proposal for a 56-storey condo tower which would rise behind the restored Victorian homes of 8 through 20 Widmer Street. The building is progressing through Toronto's planning process, with local Councillor Joe Cressy and Heritage Preservation Services indicating at a September 2016 public consultation that they did not support the proposal as is.
Slightly to the east, The Bond is nearing the end of its construction. Work on the 42-storey Lifetime Developments condo includes the final cladding on the top of the mechanical penthouse, in addition to the podium levels. Work is also progressing inside. This Core Architects-designed development will bring in 369 new high-rise units to the area when it opens this year as well as new office space in the podium.
Arriving at John Street, we're turning south briefly, passing the recently completed Pinnacle Adelaide, 86 John will rise 8 storeys. Featuring a a tightly compressed floorplate, the Sweeny &Co Architects-designed project is planned as a retail and dining centre. This one is currently undergoing Site Plan Approval, while the old Duke of Argyle pub that occupied the site is being demolished.
Across John is PJ Condos, a 48-storey Pinnacle-developed condo designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, is now under construction. Shoring equipment arrived recently at the property which was used for years as a surface parking lot. We expect the excavation and a build-back-up to street level to take the best part of this year.
Continuing east along Adelaide, the facade of the heritage commercial building at 263 Adelaide St West is proposed to be used as podium for a 47 storey rental tower designed by Teeple Architects and developed by Storey Living. It's headed for an OMB hearing in June this year, following from City Council's failure to make a decision within 120 days of application.
One block east, Westbank and Allied's 19 Duncan Street is also heading to the OMB for the same reason. A pre-hearing for this Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed 57-storey mixed-use office/retail/rental development is scheduled for March 2, 2017.
This could be a very dense block in the future, depending upon the outcome of another three development proposals. Immediately south of 19 Duncan, a recent application for rezoning comes from the Conservatory Group for a 59-storey Richmond Architects-designed condo at 150 Pearl Street. Immediately east of 19 Duncan, Humbold Properties' 57-storey Quadrangle-designed 217 Adelaide West has been appealed to the OMB due to a refusal by Toronto City Council. Just east of it, meanwhile, another proposal has gone to the City for a tower at 100 Simcoe Street… but we would rather talk about Simcoe Street developments in the upcoming Downtown Toronto instalment of our Growth To Watch For series!
One block north, construction is now wrapping up on the Quadrangle Architects-designed Aspen Ridge Homes' Studio development, with the taller Studio2 sealed off from the elements. Watch for OCAD U's Onsite Gallery to open here on Richmond Street in June.
Moving west along Richmond we pass Picasso, which opened for residents last year, and topped our poll of the favourite new tall building in Toronto. Retailers are expected to open in the podium of this Teeple Architects-designed complex this year. Just west of Picasso, shoring equipment is now ready to go as 330 Richmond will shortly begin excavation. The 25-storey Greenpark Homes-developed condo is designed by Core Architects.
Just west of 330 Richmond, the sidewalk widens out as the street jogs a little to the left. This year, the triangular space is going to be remade by Claude Cormier + Associés. The Montreal-based landscape architect is currently wrapping up work on the east side of the core at Berczy Park: here on Richmond, meanwhile, this refreshed parkette is coming courtesy of the Section 37 benefits from Tableau Condominiums right across the road. That celebrated Urban Capital development opened last year, with designers Wallman Architects moving their own offices into its podium. Still to come there are an English-style pub, the Anne Boleyn, and tweaks to the public realm.
Across Peter Street, Allied REIT have delayed the start of phase two of their Sweeny &Co-designed Queen Richmond Centre West. Stretching north along Peter to Queen, phase two was slated to begin last year, but the insolvency of one anchor tenant in QRC West's Phase 1 may have put back the expansion start date a bit.
South of QRC West and west of Tableau, the plan for the proposed 46-storey architectsAlliance-designed Carlyle Condos may be heard at the OMB this year, but no hearing date has been posted yet for the Fortress RDI-Carlyle Communities development.
West of Spadina, there is another architectsAlliance-designed proposal headed to the OMB. On May 29, the hearing will start for James Condos at 452 Richmond St West, an appeal which Lamb Dev Corp initiated due to lack of a planning decision by Toronto City Council within the 120-day timeframe.
Across the street from James, an application to construct a 19-storey mixed-use condominium at 457 Richmond was submitted mere weeks ago. This is also an architectsAlliance design, remaining at an early stage in the planning process.
Just a block to the southwest at the corner of Camden and Brant Streets, work is underway to build a new boutique hotel. This 13-storey Carbon Hospitality development is designed by Shim Sutcliffe Architects, and should open in 2018.
Located across Brant, and sandwiched between St. Andrew's Playground and Richmond Street, is the Waterworks Building redevelopment by MOD Developments and Woodcliffe Developments. It will renovate a heritage Toronto Public Works building into a multi-use facility with a food hall and YMCA, with a 13 storey condo built in a "U" shape above. This development, now in sales, is designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, and is moving through the planning process.
A couple more developments were proposed for this stretch of Richmond in the last couple of years, but both have gone quiet for the time being. Alterra's 520 Richmond Street West proposal was right across the street on the northwest corner at Augusta, and Pemberton's 543 Richmond was another block west at Portland. Despite the current quiet period, we may be hearing more on these plans again soon.
Finally, one last construction site before we hit Bathurst Street again: the concrete of Harlowe Condos' foundations is now beginning to rise from the bottom of its pit. Approved to climb 14 storeys into the air, the Lamb Dev Corp-developed condo designed by Core Architects will bring 222 warehouse-inspired residential suites to this part of the district.
That's it for this part of town. We'll be back soon with the next area to the west!
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Throughout the next few months, we will continue our annual Growth To Watch For series with regular installments, each focusing on the development in different parts of the City. If you would like to find out more about individual projects, check out the corresponding dataBase files, linked below. Want to get involved? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the space provided on this page, or join in the ongoing conversations in the associated Forum threads.
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ED NOTE: Article has been revised to remove a reference to a future hotel brand for 51 Camden.