Before its pair of artificial glass-block-clad mountainous forms can redefine a stretch of King Street West, excavation is underway at the site of Westbank Corp and Allied Properties REIT's KING Toronto project. The 16-storey luxury condominium complex marks the first Toronto project by acclaimed Danish 'starchitects' Bjarke Ingels Group, who are working with Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects. We last checked in on the project this summer: four months later, various aspects of the project have advanced, with a large pit now forming.

Panorama looking north over KING Toronto site, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The site has been active since late 2019, when demolition began to clear away existing buildings, followed by the start of retention work for the project's heritage components. Actual construction activity commenced this past June with the arrival of drilling rigs to begin work on the site's shoring system, the drilling for which has since wrapped up along the site's west end, and portions of the north and south ends, allowing excavation to begin in these areas.

Looking east across KING Toronto site, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

Digging has progressed the furthest in the southwest corner of the site, eventually to reach down four levels below grade, carving out space for the complex's foundations, three levels of garage, and one retail level. To the immediate north of this growing pit, the west end of the site's King Street West frontage is now home to a staging platform, seen with the shadowed strip below it. With the platform now created and held aloft by concrete columns that extend down into the ground below the eventual depth of the excavation, digging can proceed under the platform. The platform will provide space for materials deliveries, reducing the need for costly lane closures as work advances. 

Staging platform and excavation at west end of site, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

That staging platform at the west end of the site will soon be joined by one on the other side of the retained heritage frontages to the east. A shallow initial excavation below the platform's future footprint shows the structural columns that will support the platform.

Site of future staging platform along King at east end of site, image by Forum contributor AHK

Meanwhile, demolition and preservation work continues on the site's heritage buildings, with partial demolition happening alongside the installation of structural bracing for the in-situ retentions. Partial retentions include four-storey heritage buildings at 489 and 511-529 King West, and a three-storey factory building set back from the street at 495 King West, which will also include demolition and partial reconstruction. Additional details on which elements are being retained and demolished were covered in our previous article discussing the start of construction.

Looking north over KING Toronto site, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The complex's "mountains" will have a combined gross floor area of 54,709 m², to be built in a mix of 35,637 m² of residential space, 9,472 m² of retail space, and 9,600 m² of office space. Cladding of walls other than areas for windows will be in glass block.

Looking southeast to KING Toronto, image via submission to City of Toronto

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Allied Properties REIT, Claude Cormier + Associés, Diamond Schmitt Architects, Grounded Engineering Inc., RJC Engineers, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc.