Just west of Cloud Gardens, another Downtown Toronto office tower is in the works. Planned as the final element of the Bay Adelaide Centre, plans for a 32-storey tower tentatively known as Bay Adelaide North are ramping up, with a new Site Plan Approval (SPA) submitted to the City of Toronto this month, and rumours of a pending start of construction.
With zoning approved, plans for the north tower have been underway for several years. The relatively gradual progress is fairly common for major office developments, which generally seek an anchor tenant before going under construction. Whereas residential condominiums typically require 75-80% of units to be sold to secure construction financing, larger and more complex commercial tenancies often mean that office tower construction is normally contingent on a single major tenant taking significant space.
Although developers Brookfield Property Partners—who were contacted to comment for this story, but could not be reached—have not yet announced an anchor tenant, planning for the tower has accelerated in recent months. In mid-April, we profiled new renderings of the KPMB Architects and Adamson Associates-designed tower, which was then planned as a 31-storey, 843,000 ft² building. This month, newly re-submitted site plan documents introduced some changes to the plans, which could be indicative of a tenancy agreement in the making. Posting to our Forum on June 23, UT contributor @jcam claims to have received an email stating that half of the existing food court below Bay Adelaide North's footprint will close at the end of June, with the other half closing at the end of July, in order to make way for Bay Adelaide North construction. If true, the content of the email may have been an accidental leak of plans prior to a public announcement from Brookfield.
The new plans call for a 32-storey tower, with a height of 140.2 metres (460 feet). On the ground floor, the elevator banks have been expanded, meaning that the retail area at the west end of the podium (potentially replacing some lost food court space on the level below) becomes slightly smaller. The project's GFA now comes in at just under 1 million ft² (92,628 m²), with the over 97,600 ft² (90,697 m²) devoted to Class AAA office space, and just under 20,800 ft² (1,931 m²) metres earmarked for street-level and below-grade retail.
Integrating the parking garage entrance that has long been an inelegant neighbour for Cloud Gardens—itself set to be improved with funds from the Bay Adelaide Centre's development—the highly rectilinear office tower would add another major project to Toronto's commercial construction boom.
Bolstered by strong demand and a historically low commercial vacancy rate in the Downtown submarket, a number of major office projects are already underway. With CIBC secured as an anchor tenant, the 2.9 million ft² 'CIBC Square' (formerly known as the Bay Park Centre) celebrated its groundbreaking last week, joining upcoming Downtown projects like The Well and Cadillac Fairview's 16 York Street. Reflecting CF's bullishness on the Toronto's office market, construction of the 16 York tower is—ostensibly at least—proceeding 'on spec,' without an anchor tenant formally announced.
In a city where residential condominiums have dominated the last decade's construction boom, the recent influx of commercial office projects has shifted the development landscape. What all of that means for Bay Adelaide North's immediate future remains uncertain, though we will make sure to keep you updated as more information becomes available. in the meantime, you can learn more by checking out our updated Database file. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was amended to reflect the fact that the parking garage entrance will not be replaced, as previously noted.