A pre-application consultation was held at Metro Hall yesterday evening to consider a redevelopment of the properties at 101 Spadina Avenue on the west side of Downtown Toronto. The site is at the southeast corner of Spadina and Adelaide, across the street from the Art Deco Balfour Building. The site is currently occupied by a two-storey mid-century building along the Spadina frontage, a surface parking lot to the northwest and through the centre, and a six-storey heritage office building at 355 Adelaide West in the site's northeast corner. 

Early rendering of 101 Spadina Avenue, original image courtesy of Devron/Great Gulf

At the meeting, the approximately 60 members of the public were told by owners and developers Devron Developments and Great Gulf Homes that they are proposing a 46-storey mixed-use tower, and that details of the plan are still evolving in advance of a submission to the City. One thing is certain however; they plan on significant masonry to reflect the style of buildings to the north and south, eschewing the predominantly glass walled tower designs we normally see in Toronto these days. (The image above, shown at the meeting, was already out-of-date in regards to massing.) Feedback on the preliminary plans was sought from those in attendance.

Rendering of the interior lobby space, original image by Devron/Great Gulf

As described by principal Donald Schmitt of Diamond Schmitt Architects, the proposal encompasses just shy of 12,000 square feet of retail at ground level, fronting on to Spadina and Adelaide. A public mid-block connection in the form of a climate-controlled galleria would run between Adelaide and Oxley Streets across the eastern half of the site. Set to be about 20 feet wide, it would act as a lobby space for a half-dozen floors of office space in the building's podium and provide access to ground level retail space in the heritage building to the east. The galleria could also act a potential to host public programming. 

Site plan of the ground floor, original image by Devron/Great Gulf

The residential lobby, seen in yellow in the image above, is proposed be accessed from Adelaide, its doors along with the galleria entrance depicted in the rendering below.

Rendering of the Adelaide entrances, original image by Devron/Great Gulf 

The six or seven floors of office space would total approximately 150,000 square feet of work space, depending on the settling of the details. 

Close-up cutaway of the office component, original image by Devron/Great Gulf

Above the office floors, the building begins to set back extensively, providing about 11,500 square feet of outdoor amenity space atop the podium for residents of the building, with about 4,400 square feet of amenity space proposed indoors on that level as well. The building rises in massing similar to the Balfour Building to the north and 'The Hudson' condos to the south, tapering again at around the 21st floor, providing more outdoor amenity space before the smaller upper floors of the tower rise above their immediate surroundings. (The diagram below is more reflective of the current massing plan than the rendering at the top of the article.)

North elevation of 101 Spadina Avenue, original image by Devron/Great Gulf

While there are still many details not yet sorted, the height of the tower would be roughly 150 metres. The tower portion is set back 85 feet, or about 26 metres from Spadina, to preserve the view terminus and feel of Spadina straight to the lake from north of College Street. Schmitt referred to the effect as a Chicago-like feel to the overall massing and design.  

As for the residential suites, the developers stated they intend on providing larger than average sized residential units, with at least 10-15 per cent 3-bedroom units, and 40 per cent 2-bedroom units. Servicing and access to the below-grade garage would be provided from Oxley Street on the south, with a truck turntable provided for garbage pickup, similarly to One Bloor East. Oxley will get wider sidewalks, and possibly be widened itself.

The six-storey office building at 355 Adelaide West, which is not listed in Toronto's heritage register, is being studied as whether to fully incorporate it into the final design of the new building, or to just retain the facade. A study looking to create a Heritage Conservation District in the King-Spadina area is currently underway.

Aerial view of the site looking southeast, image via Apple Maps

Overall, the project received generally positive responses from the community. As Councillor Joe Cressy stated, the proposal is currently a little too tall for the area, but it is not far off. Given this was just a pre-application meeting voluntarily attended by the developers, it may be some time before more concrete details are known once the application is submitted. 

We will keep you up to date and provide you with more information when an application is brought to the City's Planning department. Want to share your thoughts on this project? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided below, or join in the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread