This is the second of a two-part article covering Urban Toronto's exclusive update tour of The One. Today we will be stepping into the shell of future residential units, mechanical levels, exterior glazing, checking out the views from its current height of 148m, as well as a construction overview and update from Sam Mizrahi from inside the building's soaring ground floor retail space. 

Looking south through a doorway into a future residential unit of The One, image by Jack Neal

Residential Units

We left yesterday's article in the underground levels of The One, and today we begin near the current top of the poured structure — floor 34 — checking out some of the future residential units. We toured through a number of unit shells with views in all directions. The ceiling heights on these floors are currently 10ft but will be about 9ft upon completion, reduced due to ceiling and floor finishes and HVAC systems.

Standing inside one of the south-facing units on the 34th floor of The One, image by Jack Neal

One unit in particular that stood out was a design in which an owner purchased two units, one above the other, and arranged for them to be converted into a single unit connected via a staircase. This design request can be seen in the image below with a temporary staircase providing access between the two floors:

A requested staircase connecting a multi-level unit on the 34th and 35th floors at The One, image by Jack Neal

The overall layout of the floors varies depending on where you are within the structure — the residential component of the tower is split up into five sections: Low-Rise (floors 19-36); Mid-Rise (floors 49-56); High-Rise (floors 62-84); Penthouse (floors 85-87); and Grand Penthouse (floors 88-91). The Mid-Rise section consists of two and three-bedroom units ranging from 1,352 ft² to 1,502 ft², while the Grand Penthouse section sees the floor-plate split into four 6,000 ft² units, each of which occupy an entire corner of the building's top four floors, culminating in private 1,025ft² rooftop terraces for each unit at the 91st level. 

Penthouse 01 floorpan on level 85 of The One, image by Mizrahi Developments prepared by Foster + Partners

Meanwhile, the Penthouse levels (floors 85-87 - see above image) are occupied by the largest single-floor units (4,351ft²) — each unit occupies half of the building's floor plate for a total of 6 'Penthouse' units over the three floors. 

Views

At this point it makes sense to take in some of the views from the building's current height. As mentioned in yesterday's article, the tower is currently 148.55m tall — just shy of the official 'skyscraper' status it will pass next week — and less than half of its final approved height of 328m. While the structure stands at 41-storeys, we made it up to the 37th storey, and the majority of the below 'view' shots are taken from the 36th floor. Just for context, level 36 is considered in the 'Low-Rise' section of the tower, with levels 37 & 38 being mechanical, before the 'Mid Rise' section begins at level 39. 

View south towards downtown from the 35th floor of The One, image by Jack Neal

Above is the coveted south-facing view — even at this 'Low-Rise' height the views south and southeast are already commanding. Directly south is the view down the Yonge Street, an ever-increasing canyon of skyscrapers that will only get more interesting and full if applications such as 475 Yonge, 645 Yonge, 646 Yonge are approved and built as currently proposed. While the view from this floor will be looking across at versus down on these potential redevelopments, it will provide a great vantage point nonetheless. 

Looking southeast from the 35th floor of The One, image by Jack Neal

Looking southeast, above, you can see the cluster of skyscrapers along Charles Street East (including the under-construction 55 Charles Condos) as well as the lake, while looking southwest (not pictured) you can see new developments such as TD Terrace and The Well. 

Looking west from The One, image by Jack Neal

Above is the view looking west along Bloor Street West, Yorkville, the University of Toronto campus, and towards Etobicoke and Mississauga. Of course, this view could be altered quite dramatically due to the proposal for 19 Bloor West, which currently proposes a 301m-tall tower with a separation distance of just 15m from The One… the City has refused that application, though, so this is a question as to the next move for the owners of that site.

View northwest from the 35th floor of The One, image by Jack Neal

At this height, the view looking directly north from the 37th floor is still facing 2 Bloor Street West, as that building stands at 149m tall. However, looking northwest (above) you get a view over Yorkville and The Annex, with the excavation hole for The Pemberton at 33 Yorkville Avenue featuring in the foreground. And once The One rises beyond 182m (e.g. the height of 1 Yorkville Avenue), north-facing units will have uninhibited views north towards midtown and beyond... (that is until such a time that the tallest of the Cumberland Square towers is potentially built, which would stand at 253m). 

View looking east from the 35th floor of The One towards One Bloor East, image by Jack Neal

The views east from this height are interesting, as you are approximately 60% of the way up The One's easterly neighbour, One Bloor East (257m, above). This is the point in that building's design where the balconies are at their most curvaceous, and since the two towers are separated by a distance of approximately 35m, you are still able to look north and south to see around the respective masses - northeast to Rosedale and southeast to the lake.

Internal Hallways

We also had the opportunity to walk through the spaces that will become the circulation corridors for the residential units. Each floor we visited had construction crew members, some working on concrete pouring, others on glazing, others on welding, all keeping the building rising one way or another. 

Looking north down one of the corridors on the 34th floor of The One, image by Jack Neal

Like the residential units, the internal hallways will also have a finished ceiling height of 9ft, and will include emergency stairwells behind elevator banks. 

Looking north from one of the future residential units to the 36th floor corridor, image by Jack Neal

Mechanical Levels

The One incorporates a series of mechanical levels throughout the design - levels 17-18, 37-38, 57-58, and 77-78. These floors are each taller in height (14ft) than a regular residential floor, and are identifiable on the exterior by their louvres, and by their inset octagonal shape rather the square shape that comprises the majority of the tower.

View looking south on Mechanical Level #37 of The One, image by Jack Neal

The two mechanical levels we toured (floors 37 and 38) provided the opportunity to view the internal core shaft that we covered yesterday, but also to understand how these floors are formed. Prior to the pouring of the floor, equipment is brought up to the respective mechanical level, placed on a floating floor, before being lowered onto the newly-poured concrete floor once set.  

View west from Mechanical Level #37 of the One, image by Jack Neal

Glazing Installation

Residential unit at the southeast corner of floor 13 with newly-installed glazing, The One, image by Jack Neal

On the way down we stopped at the 13th-level, the floor at which the glazing is currently being installed. This also provided the chance to see a residential unit complete with this glazing - quite a difference visually than a concrete shell open to the elements. Jane McGrath (Coordinator at Mizrahi Developments), explained that depending on the number of crew working, it takes between two-to-four days to complete the glazing for a single floor. 

A window pane waiting for installation at The One, image by Jack Neal

The crew have installed a protective barrier, the RCS or Rail Climbing System — four storeys in height — that provides weather protection while the windows are installed. This is the black ribbed structure that currently encases floors 10-14 and is very obvious when viewed from the street. This structure will rise up the building as the glazing is completed floor-by-floor and is seen from the inside of the building in the image below. 

Close-up of the angled window panes around the exoskeleton of The One, image by Jack Neal

While the majority of the window panels are standard (rectangular) in shape, due to The One's design, which sees the exoskeleton criss-cross the exterior of the building, various pieces of glazing are angled to accommodate these structural members.

Ground Floor Retail

View looking southwest towards The One from just inside the construction site, image by Jack Neal

The sheer size of The One's structural elements, which are hard to appreciate from the other side of the construction fencing, feel massive when up close. The exoskeleton support columns that carry the majority of the buildings weight are deceiving in size until compared to the size of a person, seen in the image above. Each of these eight massive columns are 8 ft in width and 5 ft in depth, and run the entire height of the building (328m), where they converge to form a cross-brace structure which will create a distinctive silhouette when viewed from afar. From the ground, The One's support columns visually emulate the base of the Citigroup Center in Manhattan, which itself stands on four super columns that raise the building 10 storeys above ground level. Once construction is complete, at-grade will be the same level as the top of the concrete wall seen in the lower-right of the above image.

Looking up towards to ceiling of the ground floor retail space at The One, image by Jack Neal

This sense of scale is continued through into the ground floor retail space, which boasts 40 ft ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows (currently covered in protective paper), manufactured in Germany. This space is 7,000 ft², and again it is hard to describe just how huge it feels when standing in its centre. It was in this space we met with Sam Mizrahi, who provided an overview of the project's key components, unique construction method, and timeline. 

Sam Mizrahi of Mizrahi Developments explaining the complex design of the ground floor retail space at The One, image by Jack Neal

Mizrahi walked us through the ground floor retail space, outlining a number of highly-specific and complex structural components that were designed multiple years ago and installed specifically at the request of the retailer who will no longer be occupying the space. While we are not able to go into details on exactly what those design specifications were, a number of other design features will continue to be optimized and utilized by a new retail tenant. These include a 35 ft-wide LED screen system positioned on the south wall of the retail space which will easily be viewable from pedestrians passing by on Bloor or Yonge streets. The space was also designed to incorporate an irrigation system to allow for live trees and plantings for enhanced greenery in the space. 

The cavernous ground floor retail space at The One has 40ft ceilings, image by Jack Neal

Mizrahi also discussed the receivership, delineating the difference between it and bankruptcy, and that from his perspective it is business as usual in regards to construction continuing, and that cost overruns are a part of the construction industry. In terms of the oft-discussed project delays, he pointed to a number of site constraints that prolonged work — especially during the excavation phase — including its tight site area (28,000 ft²), adjacency to two subway lines and stations (and therefore the TTC's zone of influence), and location at the intersection of two major streets. He explained that in order to provide sufficient foundation for The One's exoskeleton design, they were required to dig down a distance equivalent of eight levels, while the underground parking garage only consists of four (extra height) levels. He remains passionate and optimistic about the project. 

Lower-level space proposed to connect with the TTC at The One, image by Jack Neal

At the southwest corner of the retail space is an opening for a future staircase and elevator that leads down to a lower level space underneath the ground floor retail. This area will house various back-of-house support spaces, access to the underground loading and garage, and a possible future pedestrian connection to the TTC via the local PATH network. Despite being below grade, the ceilings are 14ft in height, important given the potential for high-traffic pedestrian flow through the space. 

Looking up at The One from Bloor Street West, image by Jack Neal

While there is speculation over the projects future, stepping into a vacuum and ignoring the news articles over the last few weeks: The One remains impressive in its vision and engineering — particularly for a building in Toronto. Scheduled to rise beyond the 150m mark and officially into skyscraper territory next week, it will (hopefully) only be a matter of time before it crosses the 300m-threshold that no building in Canada has yet broken, and become the country's first (or second...) 'supertall'.

That concludes our October 2023 hardhat tour of The One. Our coverage of the project will continue with more images of the building’s evolving exterior and updates on the progress of construction. Until then, you can learn more about The One 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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