Every day, the character of Toronto’s skyline changes; a new floor is added to a building under construction, recently installed windows send reflected light in new directions, and the silhouette of thousands of co-existing buildings remains a dynamic and changing work of built art. But while most projects can only hope to be noticed among the masses, Toronto’s largest private construction project demands more attention, and earns it in plenty. The Well has been under construction since 2018, and as the seven major component buildings encompassed in the project take form, the development’s enormous presence is felt more every day. 

Looking southwest at the 36-storey office building designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor ProjectEnd

To provide a comprehensive update on everything that is happening in the construction of The Well, UrbanToronto will be covering the project all week in a series that breaks down different areas of progress in detail. The series begins today, with an update on the building that has led the way in the construction of The Well, the 36-storey Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed office tower at 8 Spadina Avenue. 

Looking north at the 7-building mixed-use development The Well, image from submission to City of Toronto

Developed collaboratively by RioCan REIT and Allied Properties REIT, the office tower delivers over 1,000,000 ft² of commercial office area to the future mixed-use community within a staircase-like mass that climbs from east to west with two step-backs, and is The Well’s tallest building, at a height of 174m. While construction continues on the various residential buildings to the west, other than some current fixes on the "X-braces" on its exterior, the office tower has appeared complete from the outside since the early summer. Work continues on the fitting out of various office floors, the bulk of interior finishings of its public spaces are in place. Tenants began to occupy as early as July, and along with continuing fit-outs, provided an illuminated silhouette against the backdrop of the darkening late evening sky.

Looking northwest at the now occupied office building with lights on inside, image by UT Forum contributor AlbertC

The latest news in the progress of the office tower comes from ground level, where the building’s Spadina Avenue entrance has now been opened to tenants. The doors provide the primary access point to the office lobby area, and are contained within a dark stone frame that provides a narrow canopy of protection from the elements while featuring the development’s logo.

The recently opened Spadina Avenue entrance to the office lobby, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor generalcanada

The lobby enjoys a grand ceiling height equivalent to about three storeys, and is soaked in natural light through floor to ceiling windows on the west and south walls during the daytime, while lighting picks out design details at night. The space itself is clad with panels of marble around the front desk, while polished concrete columns and wood paneling around the staircase and on parts of the ceiling add plenty of warmth through texture and tone.    

Looking into the office lobby from Spadina Avenue, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

The completion of the tower’s exterior has been an exciting story to follow, but hasn’t provided much in terms of new developments lately, aside from tracking the progress of the X-brace fixes on the north and south elevations. At the end of August, the image below shows where several pieces of the purely ornamental "bracing" were removed from the top of the tower’s north elevation so that those windows which were damaged during construction could be replaced. Those X-brace pieces have since been re-installed, while the fixes on the south elevation are still ongoing, delayed by supply chain issues. 

Looking up at the cross bracing on the tower's north elevation, image by UT Forum contributor skycandy

Now late in November, we can see that the building is getting comfortable in its daily operations. Looking up from the southeast corner, we can see from its arm that the Building Maintenance Unit (BMU), has been installed on the roof. The BMU allows workers access to the various elevations to carry out tasks like window washing, but the platform it holds will also be used by workers to replace the last broken windows and missing X-braces. 

Looking northwest at the office building with the BMU pictured on the roof, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

UrbanToronto's coverage of The Well continues tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can learn more about the project from our Database file, 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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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  Adamson Associates Architects, ANTAMEX, architects—Alliance, BDP Quadrangle, BVGlazing Systems, CCxA, Doka Canada Ltd./Ltee, EQ Building Performance Inc., Figure3, Hariri Pontarini Architects, II BY IV DESIGN, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Knightsbridge, Kramer Design Associates Limited, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, LRI Engineering Inc., Ontario Panelization, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., Precise ParkLink, Rebar Enterprises Inc, RioCan REIT, RWDI Consulting Engineers and Scientists, Tridel, Trillium Architectural Products, Unilux HVAC Industries Inc., Urban Strategies Inc., VDF Vertical, Vortex Fire Consulting Inc.