East of Yonge Street in Downtown Toronto, a high-rise project among the ever-growing array of towers south of Dundas is approaching the end of its second year of active construction. From the development duo of CentreCourt and Parallax Investment Corporation, 199 Church is well on its way towards a final count of 39 storeys, as concrete work continues to raise the IBI Group-designed tower above Church Street. In recent weeks, the project has also seen its exterior envelope make significant progress, with the growing installation of the tower’s black cladding delivering a more complete impression of the interaction between the tower and the preserved heritage facades at ground level. 

Looking northeast at the frame of 199 Church rising above Church Street, image by UT Forum contributor insertnamehere

The timeline of activity on the Church Street site dates back to April of 2021, when demolition work began. The property at 197 Church, a substantial surviving portion of an 1848-built row housing building, has been listed on Toronto’s Heritage Register for decades, prompting the developers to create a strategy to incorporate heritage elements through facade retention on site. While the majority at the back of the 3-storey building was demolished, the entirety of the northernmost property, which was not a registered heritage building, was completely removed. 

Looking east at demolition getting underway in summer 2021, image by UT Forum contributor Benito

With demolition wrapping up by July of 2021, shoring was able to begin promptly afterwards, and was followed by excavation, which was underway by the Fall of that same year. Right before the end of 2021, the pit bottomed out at four storeys below grade, and a crane was installed to assist with the start of concrete work to complete the tower’s foundations. 

The following months would be spent forming the tower’s four levels of parking as well as the four mixed-use podium levels built behind the preserved heritage facades. The image below pictures the site in November of 2022, with the forming of the podium completed and the first tower levels rising above. 

The building frame emerges above the retained facades in Fall 2022, image by UT Forum contributor Justelena

Directly above the heritage facade, the tower steps back to create an outdoor amenity terrace as well as a point of visual separation between the two volumes. We can also see that the first residential level of the tower, at level five, is supported above the podium by a thicker concrete transfer slab, while precast concrete panels with a brick finish have been applied to the northern portion of the concrete frame to resemble the streetwall condition of the heritage buildings. 

Moving ahead to view the project as it stood in late March, the tower has grown notably over the last few months while the installation of the building envelope is making equally significant progress as well. The tower has now surpassed the halfway mark of its vertical climb as forming work continues, revealing the defining elements of the building’s massing, like the increasing floor-plate area at level 10, which creates an overhang on the western elevation. Another floor-plate increase also occurs at level 19, creating an overhang on the eastern elevation as well. 

Looking up at the tower, now standing beyond half of its final height, image by UT Forum contributor Northern Light

With exterior finishes installed up to the tower’s 12th storey, we can begin to visualize how the simple matte-black finish of the metal cladding relates to the materials of the podium section below. The tower’s industrial character responds well to the historic brickwork, creating two visually distinct volumes. Still to come is the wood panelling that will finish the underside of the overhang sections at the podium level and the 10th level. 

With less than 20 floors remaining, 199 Church is on pace to meet its target of completing above grade formwork before the end of 2023, while interior finishes are targeting completion in 2024. The building will offer a total of 484 units with office uses and grade level retail programmed within the podium levels. 

Looking east to 199 Church, image from submission to City of Toronto

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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