Just over four months have passed since 8 Elm applied for a building alteration permit that would allow the painstaking disassembly of the site’s existing heritage buildings to begin. Checking in on what has changed since that time; two of the buildings have now been completely removed. 

The 69-storey luxury development from the team of Reserve Properties and Capital Developments is demonstrating its ability to work at a fast pace, seeing a highly successful opening period of sales, during which over 500 units were sold in less than a month, and now making quick work of the early site prep. The work that has taken place over the last few months is part of the project’s heritage preservation plan, and will position the construction process to begin once the built heritage structures have been dealt with effectively.

Looking northwest at the heritage facades incorporated into the podium design of 8 Elm, image courtesy of Reserve Properties and Capital Developments

The scope of the heritage work outlined by the project aims to preserve the character of Elm Street’s historic built form through a mix of restoration and replacement, taking place both on and off site. The facades of all three buildings occupying the site, pictured below, will be incorporated into the final design, but only 8 Elm will be restored on site.

As for the two buildings fronting Yonge Street (348 and 352 Yonge Street), it was determined that their condition was too poor to allow for restoration in situ, so a plan was made to remove them altogether and refurbish them safely off site. Some elements however, like the grade level facade treatments, have been altered beyond recognition over time compared to their original state, and full reconstruction will be required to restore their original heritage character.  

Looking northwest at heritage buildings occupying the site of 8 Elm, image from submission to City of Toronto

While demolition work was reported to be getting underway as early as December of last year, things started picking up on site by mid-January, by which time hoardings had been set up around the building occupying the corner of Yonge and Elm Street. Jumping ahead to early March, work was in full swing as workers began to disassemble the facade of 348 Yonge Street, beginning with the southern elevation. The facade was taken down was through a process called panelization, which was captured in a video by the project’s construction managers, Clark Construction Management. The process involves dividing the facade into smaller panels, in this case roughly 10 by 15 feet, and removing those panels one at a time. 

Looking north at panelization of 348 Yonge Street's southern facade, image from LinkedIn @Clack Construction Managment

The full video, linked here, shows how the panels are lifted from the wall by a mobile crane, and carefully lowered onto a truck with a special metal framed truss on the bed to support the fragile chunks of the heritage building. The panel is then transported to a facility where they will be refurbished, strengthened, and stored until they are reintroduced to the site in the final stages. 

By the end of March, the facades of both 348 and 352 Yonge Street had been successfully panelized, allowing the crew to proceed with the full scale demolition of the remainder of both buildings. Referring to the image below, we can see that the site has been thoroughly cleared. 

Looking west at the cleared site after the Yonge Street buildings were removed, image by UT Forum contributor DarwinP

The next steps for the project will be to secure the primary (southern) facade of 8 Elm in order to allow demolition to advance on the northern portion of the building. Meanwhile, work will continue on the east side of the site, with grading and shoring both on the horizon before excavation can get underway.  

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.

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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:  Aercoustics Engineering Ltd, Arcadis, Capital Developments, Cecconi Simone, Clark Construction Management Inc, Crozier & Associates Consulting Engineers, Goldberg Group, Grounded Engineering Inc., NAK Design Strategies, Rebar Enterprises Inc, Reserve Properties, Sysconverge Inc, The Fence People