For today’s instalment of our weeklong series catching up with the construction of The Well, we are taking a look at the action happening on and around ground level with a report on the latest progress of the development’s multi-level, open air retail galleria. Offering 350,000 ft² of retail space across three levels, the BDP-designed galleria weaves between the podiums of The Well’s seven buildings to create a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly hub that ties the mixed-use community together. 

Interior view of the the 3-level retail galleria covered by the steel and glass canopy, image courtesy of Diamond Corp

The big story at the centre of The Well’s retail component thus far has been the construction of the undulating steel and glass canopy that shelters the open air space from the elements while also delivering a major feature of stimulating design. Bringing the 35,000 ft² Gartner-designed canopy to life has been no small feat, but with sophisticated procedures, the structure is essentially complete at this time, and is already stylishly filling its role as protector from the weather, with the mid-November snows held at bay by the structure’s glass ceiling. 

Looking south from Wellington Street, snow blankets the roof of the canopy, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

At the time of our last report in May, the canopy’s steel frame had been completed, and the remainder of the glass tiles comprising the roof were being installed. With a total of nearly 2,000 glass tiles required to close all the gaps and complete the roof, crews were seen in August working above and also using extensive scaffolding to assist with the installation of the glass from below. The removal of the scaffolding in the Fall marked the completion of the glass work. 

Looking down at the glass tiles being installed on the canopy, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor ProjectEnd

Beneath the canopy, crews have been working extensively to complete the various levels of the retail galleria: the lower ground floor, the ground floor, and the terrace level (second floor). Based on what we can see in the most current photography from inside the site, the bridges that offer connections across the galleria have been formed, but we are still a ways away from seeing the finished flooring and railings. 

View from under the canopy, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor ProjectEnd

In the next two photos by BDP Principal Adrian Price of the company's London UK office, we can also see the exterior finishings of the various podiums and how they add more visual diversity to the space. In the below image, the mixture of brick and terracotta is just one example of the interplay between textures and colours that will bring life to the retail galleria. (More on terracotta tomorrow!)

View from under the canopy shows different materials, image by Adrian Price of BDP via Linked-in

Looking at the lower ground floor, the image below gives us the first look at how the pedestrian entrance from Wellington Street is shaping up. The concrete slab at the lowest level has been poured and the stairs that direct users down to the lower level are being readied for finishing, to provide a stepped field from which four steel arches rise to form a focal point feature for the canopy above. 

Looking north at the Wellington Street entrance from inside, image by Adrian Price of BDP via Linked-in

Meanwhile, over at Spadina and Front, one of the other access points to the retail galleria is looking quite advanced compared to when we last checked in. Occupying the southeast corner of the podium of the 36-storey office building, this corner of the galleria is sheltered under the office building above, rather than by the canopy here, but reaches to the west to bring people towards the centre of the site. Exterior finishing of a ground level Adidas Store and Warner Music Canada offices above (behind the digital ad board; Simons is not opening within The Well) has progressed with extensive aluminum cladding panels having been applied, with windows also installed to seal the indoor spaces. 

Looking southwest at the southeast entrance to the retail galleria, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

Looking back towards the previous viewing point from a floor up further into the pedestrian spine, we can see that stairs and escalators are installed and waiting for opening, while lighting is now active in the roof of the space. The flooring is still relying heavily on temporary protective materials ahead of the final installations, but the feel of finished space is becoming more palpable. 

Looking east towards Spadina Ave from inside the retail galleria, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor ProjectEnd

With a total of 350,000 ft² of retail space made available for leasing, many retailers have snapped up spots in the shopping hub, with over 200,000 ft² already leased. A substantial amount of that allotment, 78,000 ft², has been leased to restauranteurs Oliver & Bonacini who intend to open a number of restaurants, four of them occupying 2-storey units fronting Wellington Street West, each with a different theme and menu. Another 70,000 ft² of space on the lower ground floor are reserved for dining options with the Wellington Market slated to house over 50 different food vendors with seating for 900. 

Interior view of the Wellington Market food hall, image courtesy of Diamond Corp

The Well is aiming to open its retail offerings in the Spring of 2023.

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.

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