Located just west of Spadina Avenue at 489 King Street West in a teeming area of the city, KING Toronto will offer a distinctive addition to Toronto's cityscape, blending avant garde modern architecture with several heritage components. Designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for Westbank Corp and Allied Properties REIT, the development started construction in 2020 and is ascending towards its final height of 16 storeys or 57.6m.

Looking southeast to KING Toronto, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for Westbank Corp and Allied Properties REIT

When we last checked in this past July, the project had made notable progress throughout the previous year. Work has continued throughout the late summer and early fall, and the building has continued its slow vertical ascent (there's such a large footprint here, and every floor is different, so growing upwards is naturally going to be slow), but the bigger news here is that the first installations of KING Toronto's unique glass block wall is now occurring.

Looking southeast to the glass block wall installation, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars


KING Toronto's exterior walls will be glass, but in areas that are not meant to be windows, not the back-painted glass spandrel that we often see, and they underscore the unique engineering and design prowess behind this development. As one stands looking southeast from the King Street sidewalk at one of the gates, floor-to-ceiling glass block walls are beginning to emerge. UrbanToronto Forum contributors were quick to note the commencement of curtainwall installation, pointing out details such as the pockets for the curtainwall anchors which were visible right on the edge of the slab. The panels are crafted with rows of blocks with sealed airspaces that provide insulation while boasting an elegant translucence. 

Close-up view of the glass block wall installation, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

Two more recent changes are of note on the King Street side of the site. Backing up from the sidewalk somewhat, a cantilevered segment of the fourth floor jumps to the forefront: while the diagonals behind the straight street frontages are fairly regular, the pattern morphs in places, and where this cantilevered section juts out, comes from to the street. Meanwhile, with the new structure basically complete behind the heritage facades, the robust steel frame that was holding the walls in place has nw been removed over the sidewalk, even as some steel brackets remain, holding the old walls back against the new structure until all new supporting connections are made.

Looking north to the building's staggered box pattern, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor rdaner

An aerial perspective provides a more overall vantage point over the King Street expanse. With The Well on the skyline behind, KING Toronto dominates the middle ground, its heritage walls, mostly free of the steel scaffold, glowing in late day sun, while the new floor grow behind them.

An aerial view looking southeast, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor thecharioteer

Over the past three years, the construction site of KING Toronto has been providing a window into how complicated the choreography of urban development can be. As this unique structure continues to rise, its eventual contribution of 440 units plus new retail and public realm space to the King Street West landscape inches closer to completion.

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.

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