Over the course of the last five years, the east side of Downtown Toronto has seen the activation of a transformative city building project, redeveloping the area's largest remaining surface parking lot with an area of nearly 1 Hectare (about 100,000 ft²) into a high density multi-tower community.
Located at 88 Queen Street East, the project is a collaborative development effort between St Thomas Developments Inc. and Fitzrovia, and encompasses a pair of towers from each developer across an entire city block, delivering a mix of rental and condominium units, retail spaces, offices, and new public realm. St Thomas's 88 North was completed in mid-2020 as the first phase, a condo with retail at the base and a new parkette to one side. Since then, three years of construction on three more towers has advanced the project into the late stages of concrete work, with two of the towers approaching structural completion.
Located in the centre of the rectangular site, bound by Queen, Mutual, Dalhousie, and Shuter Streets, are the two Fitzrovia luxury rental towers, which have been branded The Elm and The Ledbury. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects with Turner Fleischer Architects serving as the architects of record, the towers have made significant progress towards their final counts of 27 and 28 storeys. Referring to the image below, we can see that the rooftop mechanical facilities of the western tower are in the process of being formed, while fly forms are still in use on its sibling tower to the east, as the final residential floors are formed there.
While forming work continued over the last few months, the construction crew was also able to begin the process of installing the cladding on the Fitzrovia towers, starting with windows on the podium levels in the early Fall. Since that time, the exterior has come a long way, with cladding and windows installed over half way up both towers. The image below captures the mix of materials, which features brick panelling for the podium levels and a metal cladding treatment for the towers, with a dark finish applied to the west tower (right) and a lighter grey on the east (left).
At the south end, St Thomas’s second tower, 88 Queen, enjoys a prominent frontage along Queen Street East. Also designed by Harriri Pontarini, the tower is growing steadily towards its eventual height of 51 storeys, and will soon claim the title of the tallest tower in the development. Pictured below a few weeks ago, we can see that the tower is formed up to the mid 20s, standing just shy of the halfway mark in its vertical climb. The image also shows how the detailing of the podium levels on the southern elevation will come together, with a curved recess splitting the elevation down the middle.
The most recent development on this tower is the appearance of the first glazing and cladding panels, which are now being installed across the second level of the podium. Pictured below on the tower’s west elevation, the unitized curtain wall panels can be installed quickly through a simple mounting system on the edge of the floor slab. The panels offer the first glimpse of the textured motif that will define the building’s podium, as well as the bronze-tinted colouration that deviates from the more common greys of the surrounding context.
With forming work nearly complete at The Elm & The Ledbury, the towers will see extensive progress on their exteriors in the coming months, while work at 88 Queen will be more focussed on continuing its vertical climb.
UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it 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.
* * *
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.