This is it! After three months worth of our Growth To Watch For 2017 stories, we have arrived at the twenty-first and final instalment in the series. Having finished up in the Downtown Core at the L Tower in our most recent instalment, we're now going to head south and cover Toronto's Waterfront to finish up our city-wide tour. We will start by moving west from the Union Station area along Bremner and Fort York boulevards, then turn and head east again along Queens Quay and Harbour Street, eventually following Cherry Street into the Port Lands. Let's begin!
Across Yonge Street from the L Tower is the Union Station GO Bus Terminal. Its north side is defined by the Dominion Public Building, a Beaux Arts structure that was recently sold by the federal government to Larco Investments of Vancouver for $275 million, so there will be some proposal to consider for that site in the future, but we already know what's planned for the bus terminal itself… we're just not sure when it's happening.
UrbanToronto readers have been anxiously waiting to hear when Hines and Ivanhoe Cambridge plan to begin construction on Bay Park Centre. Set in two phases and designed by Wilkinson Eyre and Adamson Associates Architects, the first phase is actually on Bay south of the rail corridor. Replacing the surface parking lot directly east of the Air Canada Centre (ACC), it will feature a 49-storey office tower, a landscaped bridge over the rail corridor, and a new GO Bus Terminal for Metrolinx. The second phase can go ahead once the bus terminal has moved. It will include an office tower rising 54 storeys, and will enlarge the park bridge over the rail corridor. Both phases will connect to the growing PATH system, extending it east of Union Station. We await an announcement on the start of the first tower.
Across Bay Street from the Bay Park Centre site, we pass through the Air Canada Centre atrium, where on the north side, work will continue through the year and into 2018 to create the new PATH connections to Union Station and beyond. Emerging onto Bremner Boulevard to the west of the ACC, we continue to York Street where on the southwest corner is one more surface parking lot waiting for an office tower. For this one, however, things are just about to get underway.
It was announced just a couple weeks ago that Cadillac Fairview is foregoing first signing a lead tenant, and instead building 16 York on spec. Given Toronto's red hot office market, CF is confident that the office tower, given its prime location, will not struggle to find tenants. Construction on the architectsAlliance and B+H Architects-designed office tower is set to begin in the first week of July. Once complete, the 32-storey, almost 900,000 square foot tower will fill in the last parcel of land in the heart of Toronto's burgeoning South Core. The team is aiming LEED Platinum classification here.
Part of the 16 York plan is an extension of the PATH system, connecting the mixed-use Maple Leaf Square development (and the wider system) with Ïce Condominiums and Infinity via the new office tower. Digging the tunnel for the PATH is expected to close York Street south of Bremner for some months. This should occur during the same period that the City is having the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramps from the Gardiner eastbound demolished, taking advantage of the diverted traffic patterns to limit the additional closure's impact. Traffic in the South Core area this Summer construction season will, nevertheless, be pretty crazy.
While all of the above is taking place, the final touches are being applied at Ïce Condominiums. Also designed by architectsAlliance, the majority of work remains on the outdoor courtyard that fronts onto Grand Trunk Crescent, while the retail build-out of the Lanterra Developments' project seems to be waiting for the PATH connection too.
Moving west along Bremner, we arrive at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Since its opening back in 2014, the aquarium has been a big hit in the already entertainment-fuelled area, and rumours persist of an expansion. Designed by B+H Architects, Ripley's Aquarium is one of the largest ten in North America, and an expansion would move it up the list. Given the tightness of the land available for expansion, it is speculated that expansion would take place on the north side and incorporate the west end of the Skywalk. Another expansion option would be to coordinate new space with a rebuild of portions of Oxford's Metro Toronto Convention Centre, adjacent to the east, or possibly over the the rail corridor to the north.
To the north of the Aquarium, the CN Tower has something up its sleeves. While some construction is underway at the Tower currently, the company is only willing to say that it involves "upgrades to our observation level that will provide improved accessibility and an exciting new perspective on the view – coming June 2017."
Across the plaza from the Aquarium, the Rogers Centre, constructed between 1986 and 1989, is undergoing some concrete rehabilitation and waterproofing this year, but we expect to hear about much more to come in the next few years. The Rod Robbie-designed complex, innovative at the time of its construction, and especially for its signature telescoping roof, has been criticized in recent years for its increasingly out-of-date facilities, and lack of a ballpark feel. Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, stated in December 2016 that there would be renovation plans announced sometime this Spring, which fans are now eagerly anticipating.
Directly across the street, two adjacent buildings are changing. The John Street Roundhouse, heritage railway infrastructure which has been home to the Steam Whistle Brewery and the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre for several years now, will be getting a new tenant in place of the Leon's furniture store which closed in 2016. Cineplex is opening an entertainment facility this summer named The Rec Room, which, as it is going into an historic structure, will be treading lightly upon the building, adding nothing that cannot be removed without leaving the timbers intact. Immediately next door though, Toronto Hydro is closing in on completion of their new Downtown Toronto substation to be known as the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station. The new facility will alleviate the strain on the current Windsor substation at Wellington and John streets, and allow Hydro to cope with the new residential growth. Designed by the IBI Group, completion of the station is slated for 2018, two years after its original completion target.
Continuing west on Bremner we enter the Concord CityPlace area, and we soon arrive at Spadina, where on the northeast corner, Concord Adex is planning to replace their presentation centre with a high-rise development. Known as Block 22, a settlement between the City and developers was reached last year. The Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects-designed towers were initially proposed at heights of 79 and 68 storeys, though negotiations resulted in a decrease to 59 for east building, and an increase to 69 storeys high for the west. The two towers—which Concord Alex has not begun to market yet—will sit on a shared 10-storey podium, adding over 1,360 residential units to the centre of the CityPlace neighbourhood.
Continuing west, Bremner become Fort York Boulevard, and we find ourselves at the southwest corner with Brunel Court. While Block 22 will be the final residential development at CityPlace, Block 31 is also yet to be developed, but its start date is approaching. The site will be the future home to Public elementary and Catholic elementary schools, each benefitting from the facilities of a conjoined community centre also to be built on the site, all designed by ZAS Architects and The Planning Partnership. The building's roof will be used for programming, blending in spots into the landscape, including into Canoe Landing Park to the immediate west. Work is expected to begin shortly, with the Fall 2018 school year targeted for opening. Once Blocks 22 and 31 are complete, the entire site of CityPlace will be built out, about two decades after construction first began.
Back on Fort York Boulevard, we're continuing further west. On the south side past Queens Wharf Road a trio of condos are under construction. All designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, we first see Exchange Condos. This eight-storey building topped off last year, and cladding is now underway. Expected to open later this year, Exchange will house 84 residential units.
To the south of Exchange, Forward Condos is rising closer to its final height of 30 storeys just north of the Gardiner. Once complete, it will house 352 condominium units. At the west end of the block is Newton. This building has now topped-off at 18 storeys, and the 189-unit condo is expected to begin occupancy in late 2017. Cladding is rising up both towers.
Across Fort York Boulevard to the north is Toronto' 99th public library. North of it, landscape architects Public Work have designed a community green space to be named Mouth of the Creek Park, recalling the site being the former location of Garrison Creek's entry into Lake Ontario. No news has surfaced in over a year regarding the status, but if construction were to begin this year, it would coincide with the Garrison Crossing bridge construction to the west of Fort York. Completing this park as well would close a gap in pedestrian and cycle path connections between parks to the west and CityPlace's North Linear Park. Given Mouth of the Creek Park's adjacency to the proposed Rail Deck Park, it will be interesting to see how the two parks interface in the future.
To the east of the proposed park, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has plans for a building with 80 affordable rental homes on what is known as Block 36 North. Last year Dominus Capital won the contract to build the Zeidler Partnership Architects-designed building, which is anticipated to begin construction later this year.
Following Fort York Boulevard further west, we come to where it crosses under the Gardiner Expressway. It was near the end of 2015 when a proposal to activate the land under the Gardiner here—turning it into a unique urban park—was made public. In the time since, planning for The Bentway has progressed, and construction work is slated to begin on April 6th. The much anticipated project will reclaim 1.75 kilometres of space beneath the elevated highway, spanning from Strachan Avenue initially to Bathurst. A collaboration of the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, and with $25 million seed money from philanthropists Judy & Wil Matthews, the space is being designed by Public Work and Greenberg Consultants. The intention is to have the first phase of it open on June 5th, 2018.
Moving north across the historic grounds at Fort York and Garrison Common, we come to where phase two is set to begin in a few days on Garrison Crossing. Construction here will run through July, and will include installation of bridge structures, steel assembly, and pouring of the bridge deck. Phase three will run from August to September, completing South Stanley Park, as well as the trail systems. Teams involved in the project include engineering firms Pedelta and AECOM, while DTAH are the landscape architects. Once open, the new trails will connect from Wellington Street south across two sets of tracks and through parks to Fort York Boulevard, and on to the Waterfront Trail.
Just south of the Gardiner here, sales are underway for the IBI Group-designed Fortune at Fort York. The Onni Group and the City reached a settlement for a 24-storey condo here at the OMB, reduced eight storeys from the initial ask of 32. Once complete, the 459 residential units here will be the last to join the Fort York neighbourhood west of Bathurst.
A block to the east across Bathurst Street, excavation is nearing completion for West Block Est. 1928, a mixed-use development of retail and offices with a pari of condominium towers dubbed The Lakeshore, and The Lakefront. Being built by a partnership of Loblaws, Choice Properties REIT, Whittington Properties Limited, and Concord Adex, the project will include the reconstruction of the 1928 Loblaws Building walls, while adding three storeys to the top, space intended as a headquarters for Joe Fresh. On the first two levels of the building will be a 50,000 square foot Loblaws grocery store, and addition retail. The residential towers by Concord will reach 37 and 41 storeys with a total of 840 residential units. Construction will be ongoing throughout 2017 and 2018, with an expected completion in 2019 for the Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, architectsAlliance and ERA Architects-designed project.
From here we head south on Bathurst, cross Lake Shore Boulevard, and turn east at Queens Quay. If Toronto's Waterfront Trail cyclists are lucky, this will be the year that the end of the Portland Slip will be rebuilt to provide both a full-width Waterfront Trail and pedestrian walkway through an area which is currently a pinch point on the popular trail.
Further east, it's east of Spadina where we run into our next development. Retirement Concepts' The Quay, Tower Three is currently at the OMB arguing for a 29-storey Quadrangle Architects-designed rental tower between the existing east and west 21-storey towers. The City believes the proposal is "too-big, too-tall," and that it will block some important views to the 553 metre CN Tower. Plans for The Quay also include an improvement to the ground realm and the water's edge here.
Continuing our trip east, we move one block north to Lake Shore Blvd, where pillars for the new Lower Simcoe ramp have been under construction since July 2016. Part of a larger undertaking, the full job includes the removal of the York/Bay/Yonge off ramps from the Gardiner, and their replacement with a new shorter ramp. Closure of the ramps will begin on April 17th. Through July and August, the bulk of the replacement ramp will be set up. A new park where the spiral ramp is currently to the southeast of Harbour and York Streets, will begin construction in the beginning of 2018. Along with the shorter ramp, Harbour Street will be rebuilt to accommodate more traffic, including bicycle traffic is separated lanes. This project will cap off the urban renewal transformation within the SouthCore neighbourhood.
Situated kitty corner from the new park, Tridel's Ten York is making an ever-greater impact on the SouthCore skyline. Designed by Wallman Architects, the building is about three quarters of the way to its final height, with the installation of a combination of curtain wall, aluminum panel, and window wall sections trailing behind by a dozen floors. Targeted for completion in 2018, the development will add 725 residential units to the burgeoning SouthCore, while reaching 65 storeys and 224 metres (735 feet), similar in height to its neighbours to the north and east.
Directly across York Street is the Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences from Menkes and HOOPP. Office tenants have been filing the recently completed Sweeny &Co-designed office tower, while construction is still ongoing for the retail podium, and for the architectsAlliance-designed residential towers. Having been topped-out for a few months now, cladding of the buildings' envelopes has reached completion, while only a few levels of the white perforated aluminum balcony guards remain to the installed. The staggered balconies have been a particular favourite of UrbanToronto photographers and readers over the last year. With completion targeted for late 2017, the project will add 1,313 residential units to the area. Announcements regarding the retail are promised in the next few months. It is known that a food hall and a gym will be going into much of the space that was originally intended for a Target store.
Immediately east of Harbour Plaza, Oxford Properties has plans for a 45-storey office tower at 30 Bay Street. While only an early concept rendering was ever been released of a Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates designed tower, a 2016 report stated that Oxford is studying the capital required to construct the office tower. Just to the northeast across the Gardiner, the south tower at the Bay Park Centre did not require rezoning, suggesting that only a Site Plan application may be necessary here too, but the key will be securing tenants: 30 Bay is among several towers poised to rise into the skyline once tenants are found. Any development here will have to take into account the heritage Toronto Harbour Commission Building on the southwest corner of the site, home to Ports Toronto. The six-storey building is celebrating its centennial this year.
To the south of the Bay Street terminus, Waterfront Toronto is currently looking for funding options while the design for the new Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park continues to evolve through planning. Current funding will allow the first stage of upgrades to the walkway from Queens Quay to the ferry terminal to be constructed this year.
Immediately north of the ferry terminal, the site of the Westin Harbour Castle was put on the market last Summer at a price in the $350-400 million range. The sale includes the attached convention centre on the north side of Queens Quay. There has been much speculation as to how the sites might be redeveloped should the sale go through.
A block to the east, we arrive at the Toronto Star office building. The property, famously at 1 Yonge Street, was bought several years ago by Pinnacle International, and they have been negotiating with the City since to come to a final plan for the site. A settlement hearing with the OMB was scheduled for yesterday, March 30th, so we expect to be reporting on a positive outcome shortly, all "t"s crossed and "i"s dotted. Planned here is a mixed-use community, with five new towers designed by Hairiri Pontarini Architects and ranging in height from 39 storeys to a supertall 96-storey "signature tower." The project includes a wide range of uses including office space, hotel, retail, affordable rentals, condominiums, and new community centre. The new public facilities are coming, as thousands of new residents will call this area home in a decade's time: 2,171 residential units are proposed for the site, with more close by. Harbour Street will extended to the east through the site.
Just across Queens Quay to the south, excavation has begun at Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group's Tower at Pier 27. The second phase of the architectsAlliance-designed Pier 27 development, construction will continue throughout the next two years. Once complete, the 35-storey condo with markedly angled balconies will feature retail at grade, while 336 residential units will be placed above. Completing this tower will allow the City to then complete the park along the east side of the Yonge Street Slip, adding to Toronto's growing network of waterfront green spaces.
Just to the northeast are the 7.5 acre LCBO lands. Purchased from the Ontario Government in May 2016, Menkes has filed for Zoning Bylaw Amendments for the whole site, and Site Plan Approval for two of the four blocks, being the northeast quadrant at 95 Lake Shore Boulevard East with 79 and 80-storey residential towers, and the southeast quadrant at 100 Queens Quay East with a 24-storey office tower which will serve as the new headquarters of the LCBO. Both blocks will have retail at ground level, including a flagship LCBO store, and be connected to the PATH system. B+H Architects is the designer of the LCBO Tower, while architectsAlliance is designing the rest of the buildings on the site. The LCBO Tower will be the first building to be constructed, as its completion will allow the existing buildings on the west side of the site to be vacated, then variously demolished or modified for redevelopment of the following phases.
The following phases on the west side include three towers proposed on the northwest block—two of them 89-storey supertalls along with a 75-storey condo, and a new public park taking up most of the southwest block, its north side lined with a low-rise retail building, aiming to put patios along the park edge. In the podium levels of the northwest block, a new public school is proposed, in addition to retail and a fitness facility. The whole of the development would be connected to the PATH system, while the extension of Harbour Street through the Pinnacle lands to the west would continue through the entirety of this site.
The next property to the east is the Queens Quay Loblaws. It will very likely remain in place for several more years, but is anticipated to eventually be redeveloped as well.
Located across Lower Jarvis Street from Loblaws is the Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts site, now well into construction. A mixed-use complex consisting of retail, office, residential, and institutional space for George Brown College (OCAD U is also expected to finalize plans here shortly), The Daniels Corporation is transforming the former site of the Guvernment and Kool Haus dance clubs. Divided by a pedestrian retail mews, construction has reached the eighth level of the south phase, a commercial office and institutional block which will rise to 14 storeys on the west and 11 storeys on the east. Installation of red brick panel cladding has begun on the lower levels. The phase north of the pedestrian retail mews is to be a pair residential towers of 48 and 36 storeys and 867 suites, rising from a podium with more institutional uses. This side is currently being excavated. Architects working on the project include RAW Design, Giannone Petricone Associates, and Rafael + Bigauskas.
Across Queens Quay to the south, Menkes won a Waterfront Toronto (WT) competition to develop the an office complex aimed at attracting high tech firms. To be knows as the Waterfront Innovation Centre, it will replace the parking lot between Queens Quay and the Corus Quay office building to the south. An initial design was unveiled just over two years ago, though it underwent a drastic redesign after being deemed too similar to Ryerson's Student Learning Centre by the WT Design Review Panel. Subsequently, Sweeny &Co Architects have presented a simplified design for the 350,000 square foot facility, proposing to split in two buildings joined by an overhead walkway, with retail situated at street level. The new design is up for further revision and is looking for tenants.
East of the Daniels Waterfront site, and north of the Waterfront Innovation Centre site is the block bounded by Richardson Street, Queens Quay, Lower Sherbourne Street, and Lake Shore Boulevard East. The northern two-thirds of the block is currently a FedEx facility, and FedEx are preparing to move east in Toronto's Port Lands later this year. Major Chinese developer the Greenland Group has purchased the FedEx site for just over $166 million. Given the price, it is likely we will see a mixed-use residential development proposed—similar in scope to the adjacent Daniels project—later this year. The three properties of the southern third of the block fronting Queens Quay remain quiet for the time being.
East of Lower Sherbourne Street, things are hopping.
Bordering Sherbourne Common on the north side is Monde, by Great Gulf Homes, on its way to 44 storeys, and set to be home to 552 residential units, with retail at grade. Construction on the mixed-use condo designed by Moshe Safdie and Quadrangle Architects has recently progressed beyond the nine-storey podium to the tower floor plates, while the first pieces of precast cladding have also recently appeared on the lower levels. This project is targeted to open in 2018.
To the south of Queens Quay is a trio of developments by Tridel and Hines that are making an impact at the water's edge. First up, cladding has reached substantial completion on Aqualina at Bayside, immediately south of Monde. Designed by Arquitectonica and Kirkor Architects, the 13-storey condo will bring 363 residential units to the area, with retail at grade, and a opening through the building linking Sherbourne Common with the new Bayside neighbourhood to the east.
Right beside Aqualina, Aquavista at Bayside is another 13-storey building by the same team as the first phase. Aquavista has just begun to rise above ground level, concrete columns now visible along the west side of the site, while workers are are busy getting the east side ready to rise into the sky. Retail will be found at grade level along the waterfront promenade, while 228 market residential condos will be found above. The building will also be home to 80 affordable rental units. The project is seeking LEED Platinum certification, anticipating a 2018 completion.
Separating the third phase of the Bayside development from the second is Aitken Place Park. The subject of a design competition, the winning team of landscape architects were Scott Torrance of Toronto and Thomas Balsley Associates of New York have created a programmed space for neighbourhood use. In December 2016, a large scale LED lighting display by Caitlind Brown, North Studio, and Wayne Garrett was also announced for the park. The project is anticipated to begin construction later this year, and open in time for Spring 2018.
The third phase of Tridel and Hines' projects along the East Bayfront Waterfront has been dubbed AQUABELLA at Bayside. Designed by Copenhagen-based architects 3XN, the 14-storey condo will feature 173 residential units, and retail at grade. Currently in sales and beginning construction this year, the development is anticipating completion in 2020.
Proposed just north of these buildings between Edgewater Dr and Queen's Quay is Hines' Queens Quay Place at Bayside. Here, two nine-storey office buildings are seeking tenants. Designed by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects with Adamson Associates Architects, the office buildings will provide 430,000 square feet of space, lined with active retail at ground level. No announcement has been made on when construction might begin for the complex, which is designed to meet LEED Gold status.
Continuing east past Parliament Street to 351 Lake Shore Boulevard East, Great Gulf and Dream have partnered to redevelop the site of the former Victory Soya Mills silos. While no formal plan has been submitted to the City yet, the project anticipates to incorporate the silo into the new development as an architectural feature. A concept rendering is included below of a previous proposal from when the land was own by Castlepoint Numa; it does not represent Great Gulf and Dream's plans for the site.
Immediately to the east, a massive redevelopment is currently in the works for another industrial brownfield site. The project, with the working title 3C Waterfront, is from a partnership of Castlepoint Numa, Continental Ventures Realty, and Cityzen Development Group, the three of them forming 3C Lakeshore Inc. The site will include an extension of Queens Quay East past the Parliament Street Slip, necessitating the infilling of some of the Parliament Street Slip. A plan of subdivision to create a new network of streets and pedestrian paths was submitted to the City in December. About 2.4 million square feet of residential, retail, and office space is proposed to be developed here, along with new public space. Architects involved on the project include London's world-renowned Foster + Partners, with Toronto's KPMB Architects and architectsAlliance, and Montréal's Claude Cormier + Associés. A very high quality public realm is promised. A public consultation will likely be scheduled for later this year.
At Cherry Street we turn south and head into Toronto's vast Port Lands. A huge industrial area now under the auspices of Waterfront Toronto, much of the area is in the flood plain of the Don River, and redevelopment cannot take place here until measures have been taken to prevent flooding and remediate any contaminated soils.
Developer Castlepoint Numa submitted an application in 2016 to redevelop 309 Cherry at Commissioners Street. Designed by SvN Architects + Planners, the proposal seeks 11 and 52-storey condo towers with 1,013 residential units and retail at the base. The City's preliminary report states that they consider the proposal premature, and not in line with what is foreseen by the Port Lands Planning Framework study, the Villiers Island Precinct Plan, and the Lower Don Lands EA. Beyond concerns over massing and density, the City does not believe that detailed planning should proceed here until the flood plain issue is dealt with by Waterfront Toronto,
To the east and beyond the flood plain, lower scale industrial is still the order of the day. First up, one of the busiest sites in recent years in this area is Pinewood Studios Toronto, formerly known as Filmport. Now with several stages to shoot films and series, Pinewood is expanding again with a 6,700 square metre production support facility designed by HOK.
On the north side of the street, a five-storey self storage building is proposed at 300 Commissioners. Designed by Quadrangle Architects, an SPA was submitted to the City in 2015, with a resubmission posted in early March 2017. Brightly coloured windows are proposed to be cut into the building's skin.
Finally, further east, at 475 Commissioners Street, construction is wrapping up on the new facility for FedEx that was mentioned earlier in this article.
While those three projects bolster employment on the east side of the Port Lands, Waterfront Toronto is continuing to work towards making the bulk of the area viable for redevelopment. The plans are complex, and beyond the ability of a Growth To Watch For article to encapsulate sufficiently, so UrbanToronto will delve more deeply into them in the near future. Suffice it to say that Toronto will have a lot more space by the lake to grow into starting in the 2020s.
And that brings us to the end of our Growth To Watch For series for 2017. After reporting on hundreds of projects across the City, our 2018 edition is just a mere nine months away, just around the corner. During the year, it will be fun to see how all the plans play out, and especially fun when we're surprised by something new. All that said and done, additional information and renderings can be found in our associated dataBases, linked below. Want to share your thoughts on the projects discussed in this instalment? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided below, or join in the ongoing conversations in the associated Forum threads.