The intersection of Bathurst and Lake Shore is perhaps one of the best concentrations of Art Deco architecture in the Toronto. The northeast corner is home to the former Loblaws Groceterias warehouse, built in 1928 and recently redeveloped with retail and offices which retained and reconstructed the heritage facade. The southwest corner is home to the iconic Tip Top Tailors Lofts, a 1929-built factory and warehouse for its namesake, which has since been converted into luxury residences. The final Art Deco building of the intersection is the Crosse and Blackwell Building on the southeast corner, built in 1927 and currently home to a Rogers warehouse and offices, and which is the subject of a development application first submitted in 2018.

View of the property at 545 Lake Shore West, image via Google Maps.

Located at 545 Lake Shore West, the Crosse and Blackwell Building and its adjacent surface parking lot represent the last developable block in the immediate vicinity, and is located at an important terminal viewpoint along both Queens Quay and the waterfront windmill line. The project is led by Canderel, with Sweeny &Co Architects working with Graziani + Corazza Architects on the design.

Rendering of the southwest corner, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The 2018 proposal involved three towers of 10, 15, and 39 storeys that contained offices, a market hall, and 508 residential units. The hexagonal pavilion at the corner of the intersection would have been preserved, while the remainder of the Crosse and Blackwell Building would have been demolished save for a portion of the heritage facades. The original proposal did not win over City staff nor the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel, and so the proponents went back to the drawing board and revised the development, which was resubmitted for rezoning in 2021.

Massing model of the previous 2018 proposal, image via submission to the City of Toronto.

The new version of the proposal splits the development into two buildings. The Crosse and Blackwell Building would now be preserved in its entirety and would be repurposed into office space, while a separate 21-storey tower containing residential and retail uses would be built on the existing surface parking lot. The heritage building and new tower are separated by a pedestrian laneway that leads to a courtyard at the centre of the site.

Ground floor plan, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The Crosse and Blackwell Building would be preserved and renovated, with two additional storeys added on top of the building — one office floor and one mechanical floor — and a new consolidated elevator and service core at the south end of the building. In total, the building would house almost 9,000m² office space. The hexagonal pavilion would serve as an entry to at least one of the office units, depending on how many tenants the building is leased to, but the main entrance would be at the south end to give direct access to the new elevator core.

Rendering of the north elevation along Lake Shore, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The tower would contain 412 residential units in a variety of sizes, including two-storey units facing the water, with just over 800m² of retail space on the ground floor fronting onto Queens Quay and Bathurst. The building is U-shaped around the central courtyard, with the 21-storey portion located along the Bathurst frontage, stepping down to 13 storeys along Queens Quay and the east laneway.

Rendering of the east elevation, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The architecture of the new tower has several motifs, with a restrained rectilinear form on the lower portion of the building, which gives way to a more dynamic wave pattern on the upper few floors.

Rendering of the south elevation along Queens Quay, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

Wanting to place emphasis on the intersection of Bathurst and Queens Quay, the southwest corner of the building is pulled back to provide a new POPS, and features two signature angled columns that converge where they meet the ground.

Rendering of the POPS at the southwest corner, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

The property, described by the proponents as currently being very hostile, is also slated for some significant public realm upgrades. A shared pedestrian and vehicular laneway is proposed along the eastern boundary of the site, providing an important through-block connection between Lake Shore and Queens Quay while also providing access to the loading and parking garage.

Rendering of the east laneway, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

Bisecting the site east-west and connecting Bathurst to the laneway is a new pedestrian walkway that leads to the central courtyard, which is envisioned as a quieter space of refuge, protected from the harsh elements of the lake and the busy waterfront. The sidewalks around the site would also be landscaped with trees and paving that matches the waterfront promenade, while the building is stepped back from the property line to ensure generous sidewalk widths.

Rendering of the courtyard, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

At its presentation to the Waterfront Design Review Panel in December, 2021, the proponent team had indicated that the City was generally in favour of this current proposal and that they were hopeful for a speedy approval of their rezoning application in the first half of 2022. Note that the rezoning application only approves the massing of the building, so the design and finishes of the building may still change.

West elevation along Bathurst, image via submission to Waterfront Toronto.

We will keep you updated as 545 Lake Shore West continues to evolve, but in the meantime, you can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like, 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:  Gradient Wind Engineers & Scientists, Graziani + Corazza Architects, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc., Terraprobe Inc