Over the last month, the conversation on Toronto’s housing crisis has seen the volume turned up as candidates for the municipal election outlined platforms to address one of the City’s preeminent issues. As an eyebrow-raising new housing plan from the Provincial Government to create 1.5 million homes is tabled, high prices and now high mortgages rates are creating barriers to many for house or condo ownership. Tricon Residential is a multi-family development company that has sought to ease the housing crisis by delivering rental housing in the form of high-rise condo style developments, and their most recent downtown project, The Taylor, provides some insights into how their process works.
Located at 57 Spadina Ave, in the King West area of Downtown Toronto, The Taylor is a 36-storey tower designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects that reaches a height of 121m, boasting a total of 286 market-rate rental units. Excavation of the site began in mid-2018, construction of the project began a year later, and now, in October of 2022, the building is just steps away from occupancy.
The building enjoys a slender mass that features stepbacks on both west and east elevations that separate the tower from the podium at differing heights. Along the Spadina Avenue frontage, the west elevation features a gridded design that creates large sections of window wall making visual reference to the design character of the historic brick-and-beam buildings that populate the area. A stepback then introduces the tower above, which is designed to be visually distinct from the lower levels while reducing the verticality of the streetwall. Exterior finishes see a dark tri-colour brick paneling used to frame balconies and windows of clear glass and dark grey spandrel.
The internal systems of The Taylor demonstrate a focus on sustainability and efficiency in terms of power consumption. Most notably, air and water temperatures in the building are controlled not through electricity, but through an innovative infrastructure system called Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC). Similar to geo-exchange, DLWC takes in cool water through pipes laid 83m below the surface of Lake Ontario, where the temperature remains at a constant 4 degrees. The cool water is then pumped to different buildings in the Downtown that are connected to the system (including the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Scotia Bank Arena) where the heat transfer takes place, and the building is heated or cooled. Since becoming operational in 2004, Enwave's DLWC has seen a steady increase in clients in Toronto, largely because it has been recorded to reduce electricity consumption by 70%.
Along with creating buildings that operate in an environmentally conscious manner, Tricon’s projects also demonstrate a high valuation of the services that residents can expect in a rental situation, and this is particularly true of The Taylor. Tricon has a number of partnerships that allow them to deliver unique services across their developments. The concierge at The Taylor, for example, exercises Tricon’s partnership with Toronto Life Magazine to provide each resident with a monthly ‘hot sheet’ of events in the area and provides membership access. Other partnerships offer such things as moving, laundry, and cleaning services.
The Taylor also reflects Tricon’s efforts to be leaders in resident wellness that go beyond the building itself. Not only does the Taylor enjoy one of Tricon’s signature fitness centres, the development also recognizes the role that cultural engagement plays in the wellness of its residents, and strives to meet those needs in interesting ways. A demonstration kitchen is included in the building for events like classes and even competitions, ultimately working to foster a community around food. As well, the common spaces are decorated with art, and residents are encouraged to engage with the different arts offerings available in the City through partnerships with storied venues like Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.
Looking past the Taylor, Tricon is hardly slowing down now that the project is so close to completion. With seven more projects active in Toronto alone from now until 2026, the company will be delivering new homes on a yearly basis, all benefiting from the elevated services and resident-first design approach that Tricon has come to be known for; it even shows in the stats, with units that are 10% larger than the market averages. Tricon’s next project, the Ivy, is progressing swiftly, and is expecting occupancy in the first quarter of 2023.
UrbanToronto will continue to follow updates for this development, 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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