Today, Menkes Developments celebrated the start of construction for its Waterfront Innovation Centre on Queens Quay just east of Jarvis Street in Toronto's transforming East Bayfront area. The 400,000 square foot, 10-storey high office and retail building designed by Sweeny &Co Architects will house the future Canadian head offices of WPP, a multinational eCommerce, advertising, online media, public relations, communications, and branding services giant with many subsidiaries. WPP will take approximately 260,000 square feet of the total, moving 19 offices scattered across Toronto under one roof.

Execs from Menkes, Waterfront Toronto, George Brown College, and Alcion Ventures gather to break ground, image by Craig White

On hand for the ground breaking ceremony were (from left to right, above), Steven Menkes, President Low-Rise Division of Menkes Developments; Monte McNaughton, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure; Helen Burstyn, Chair of Waterfront Toronto; Peter Menkes, President Commercial Division of Menkes Developments; Anne Sado, President of George Brown College; Alan Menkes, President High-Rise Division of Menkes Developments; and Kris Galletta, Partner at Alcion Ventures.

Looking northwest to the Waterfront Innovation Centre site, image by Craig White

While ground breaking ceremonies are often simply that—ceremonial—and do not necessarily mark the actual start of construction work on new developments, in this case drilling rigs to create the shoring for the project were operating within minutes of the end of the event. To house at least 2,000 workers, the building is targeted for completion in 2021.

Looking south to the Waterfront Innovation Centre site, image by Craig White

The Waterfront Innovation Centre is coming to an area of Toronto which was mostly rundown industrial up to a decade ago. Since that time, the Corus Quay building directly to the south began a regeneration of the area overseen by Waterfront Toronto. Immediately to its east, George Brown College's Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Centre was the second building to open in the area. Both it and Corus Quay enjoy major the new public realm improvements brought by the waterfront parks Canada's Sugar Beach, the Waterfront Promenade, and Sherbourne Common. 

Looking southeast over the future Waterfront Innovation Centre, rendering courtesy of Menkes Developments

Residential developments from Tridel and Hines, Great Gulf, and The Daniels Corporation are now under construction or already opening in the area, while Greenland Group is in sales on another one. The Daniels Corporation is also currently in the process of opening its 130 QQE office building across Queens Quay. George Brown College is expanding its presence in the area with plans for a mid-rise CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber Structure) called The Arbour in the works immediately east of the Waterfront Innovation Centre.

George Brown College's The Arbour, designed by Moriyama & Teshima and Acton Ostry Architects

Hines is also marketing a two-building office complex to the east, while the City of Toronto has long-range plans to provide LRT service to the stretch of Queens Quay to boost the capacity of the current TTC bus service to the area.

You can get more information about and see more renderings of the Waterfront Innovation Centre in our database file, linked below. You can get in on the discussion in our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  GFL Environmental Inc., Menkes Developments, Stephenson Engineering, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc., The Mitchell Partnership Inc., Waterfront Toronto