| Follow Us:





Development News

730 Articles | Page: | Show All

It's official: Toronto is Skyscraper City

The city has more than doubled its stock of tall buildings, generally defined as buildings of 25 storeys or higher. There are twice as many under construction now as in New York.

And all this, declares the city’s manager of economic research Peter Viducis, officially makes Toronto skyscraper city.

"I've looked at the tall buildings that are under construction, completed between 2008 and 2012, and the buildings completed up to 2007," he says. "There are 40 buildings built before 2007, 27 completed in the last five years, and 25 currently under construction."

Viducis reported these findings as part of his regular “economic dashboard” updates to the city. He also found that though the city's economy is growing less quickly than it was 10 years ago, it is still quite handily outstripping European growth rates.

"Ten years ago," he says, "the city accounted for 25 per cent of the housing starts in the GTA. We’re now up to 50 per cent.

"The exciting thing is that even young families with children are less inclined to move to the 905 than they once were."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Peter Viducis

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

U of T releases new design for architecture school at One Spadina Crescent

It turns out, One Spadina Crescent, the big 19th-century building Spadina curves around just north of College, was never completed.

The University of Toronto School of Architecture is going to change that.

The school's Dean, Richard Sommer, announced this morning that U.S. architect Nader Tehrani has designed an addition to the north side of the building, which will be built in conjunction with thoroughgoing renovations to prepare the building to be the new premises for the expanding architecture school, the country’s oldest.

"It's one of those early buildings in the history of the city, like Upper Canada College or the provincial legislature, that was a kind of a frontal building, positioned to face the lake," Sommer says.

"It was a U-shaped building, what we call in architecture single-loaded. The north end of the site was never developed, and over time it just got filled in with stuff. Before it was even [the] Knox Theological Seminary and later college, it was built as a prospect for wealthy landowners. That was the original function of that circle. Then the seminary took over and had a building facing south."

Sommer says there have been a number of additions added haphazardly to the north of the building over the years, which will be demolished.

"The project is part of making design and city-building front-and-centre for the city of Toronto," he says.

John Daniels, of developer the Daniels Corporation, and his wife Myrna have given another $10 million towards the project, in addition to the $14 million the couple gave in 2008 that triggered the renaming of the architecture school in his name.

Daniels graduated from the school of architecture in 1950.

"I would compare the Daniels benefaction to what Alfred Taubman gave to the University of Michigan more than a decade ago, and which completely transformed its prospects," Sommer says.

Some excavation of hazardous materials has already been done, and Sommer hopes that if the rest of the fundraising goes well, the entire project will be completed within three years.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Richard Sommer

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Fire forces Home Ownership Alternatives to temporarily relocate

A fire ejected Home Ownership Alternatives, along with its newly appointed CEO, from their Queen Street East offices over the Victoria Day weekend.

They’ve since relocated to 2300 Yonge Street until their old offices can be rehabilitated from the water damage. It’s an extra challenge for their newly appointed CEO, Jens Lohmueller, the Hamburg native and graduate of the University of Western Ontario who just took over the organization.

It’s a relatively small one compared to his larger brief, which is to expand HOA out of Ontario and into Vancouver and even Africa.

"We've already had to make little tweaks to accommodate partners -- cities, towns and regions -- so I think there will be an ability to change as we go along," he says. 

It will be a massive change for the organization, which has a staff of, in Lohmueller’s words, "four or five."

Though their focus will remain on families, Lohmueller says that could change in the future, implying that they might take up the Artscape model and get into making office and studio space affordable in similar ways to their current down payment-loan system for homeowners across southern Ontario.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jens Lohmueller

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

South Rosedale gets its own gateposts

South Rosedale is a little more of its own neighbourhood now thanks to a gift from longtime resident Ray Cowling.

Though many outside of the Rosedale area think of it as all of a piece, residents of South Rosedale, the area than runs from Yonge to the Bayview extension, north Sherbourne to Roxborough Drive, have long thought of themselves as distinct from the rest of Rosedale and Moore park to the north. And now, on Crescent Road just east of the bridge that runs over the subway tracks at Rosedale station, there are gateposts to mark the entry to the neighbourhood.

"It's been a wish of his to leave a legacy for the local neighbourhood that he cherishes so much," says Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, "and I know there have been plans for some sort of iconic gateway marker for some time."

The pre-cast column markers were designed by fellow South Rosedale resident Joe Brennan, and was executed by the South Rosedale Residents' Association.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Kristyn Wong-Tam

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Waterfront's Name That Park contest winner announced

Waterfront’s contest to name its newest park was won by a recent immigrant to Toronto who has taken the city’s history to heart.

Tedd Konya, a research technician at the University of Toronto working on infant health, moved to Toronto from Pittsburgh to marry his Canadian husband. He came up with the winning name, Corktown Common, for the 7.3 hectare park formerly known as Don River Park.

"I moved to Toronto five years ago and have lived in Corktown a little over two years," he says. "Most of what I learned about Corktown's history came from the CRBA's corktown.ca website and other posts on the web from Toronto blogs. I've always had an interest in history, especially where I live, so I like to read anything that I come across.

"One of the sites had maps that showed the neighborhood over the last 100+ years and it was clear how much the neighbourhood was broken up with rail lines, then highway ramps. Since this piece of land is finally coming back to the community I thought it was appropriate that the park should be named for the neighbourhood."

Konya won a competition that consisted of 450 entrants, with 1,500 people voting online for their favourite among them. He’ll be presented with a rendering of the park and will be a guest at the opening of the park later this summer.

The name must be accepted by city council at their June 18 meeting to become official.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tedd Konya

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Lower Yonge Precinct to avoid 'wall of condos'

Waterfront convened the first of several public planning and design meetings to let local residents and the general public in on what's in store for the area surrounding the foot of Yonge Street.

"The concept of the first meeting was to introduce people to the concept that we are doing an area plan for the area we are calling the Lower Yonge Precinct, which stretches from Yonge to Jarvis, and the Gardiner Expressway to Queens Quay," says Waterfront Toronto’s vice president of planning and design Christopher Glaisek.

"One Yonge is a public proposal so it's gotten some attention," Glaisek says, "but there’s also the LCBO lands with the warehouse and store, but it's mostly a big parking lot and that’s also a potential development site and it's actually bigger than the One Yonge site. Then there's a Loblaws site, which while they have no plans to develop it in the near term, will one day become a development site."

After discussing the extent of the area, which covers nine hectares, the convenors listened to public input on the subject of future development, which they will incorporate into two studies, Lower Yonge Precinct Area: Urban Design Guidelines and a transportation master plan environmental assessment

Glaisek was able to reveal one design principle immediately, however. "We’re trying not to build a wall of condos on the waterfront," he says.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Christopher Glaisek

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

YMCA names new Canary District development after major donors

At a ceremony marking construction reaching the top floor, organizers announced that the city's newest YMCA would be formally known as the Cooper Koo YMCA in honour of Michael Cooper and Krystal Koo, who donated $2 million toward the $20 million Canary District project.

Cooper, the vice chair and CEO of Canary District developer Dundee REIT, and Koo, a marketing manager at the company, contributed the money needed to finish the project after the province kicked in $8 million and the YMCA the remaining $10 million.

The 82,000 square foot Y, which is being built by Ellis Don, will first be used as part of the Pan Am/Para Pan Games in 2015 before opening to the public as a community centre and athletic facility.

"We had been looking at different neigbourhoods and were very excited about the possibility of having this building built," says Judy McLeod, Greater Toronto’s chief development officer for the YMCA. "When the Pan Am games are over, it's an opportunity for us to help in the building of a community."

The last Y in the GTA was built in Markham in 2007.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Judy McLeod

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Port Authority releases video highlighting airport's economic importance

Just as Billy Bishop Airport is in the news again, with a proposal from Porter to expand the island airport’s repertoire to jets, the Toronto Port Authority has released a video highlighting the airport’s economic contributions to the city.

The video, which was released on Thursday, is based on an economic impact study done last October, and it’s the first new video the TPA, which runs the airport, has done in more than two years.


"The impact study really is about what the airport contributes to the city and how we want to work with the city in partnership," says TPA president Geoff Wilson. "It’s a very important theme: successful cities embrace their airport infrastructure and understand its role in stabilizing and growing, in our case, the downtown core and bring prosperity in the form of business, commerce and tourism."

He says this airport embrace is a form of natural civic evolution.

"Great cities embrace their ports, then their railroads, then build their highway systems, and the ones that did it well prospered and had strong economies." Airports, he says, are the next historical step.

According to the study, the airport creates 5,700 jobs, of which 1,700 are directly linked to airport operations, handling the 2 million passengers that came through in 2012, a figure that's expected to rise in 2013. The airport has also been calculated to add $640 million in gross domestic product, and $2 billion in total economic activity.

Though Wilson did not want to comment directly on Porter's proposal, the TPA has agreed to fund the first phase of a feasibility study. Wilson would go so far as to say that if Porter's projections of increased passenger traffic are correct, it would increase the airport’s overall economic contribution to the city.

Wilson says the timing of the video has nothing to do with Porter's proposal.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Geoff Wilson

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Metrolinx listens to community, reverts to old plan

You may wonder, reading about all the public consultations covered in this space week after week, what it's all for.

On Friday, we found out.

Metrolinx, which has been holding consultations on its LRT line, announced Friday that it was changing gears based entirely on the public’s reaction to its revised Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown line plan.

After initially proposing to include stations at Leslie and Laird, Metrolinx proposed beginning to tunnel at Brentcliffe Road and ending at Don Mills Road, a plan that would have eliminated those two stops.

"Metrolinx had identified some potential issues with the Brentcliffe Road launch site," says Metrolinx’s director of community relaitons and communications Jamie Robinson. "It investigated different options and engaged the community, including convening three public meeting. We believed that our proposals would result in significant improvements to construction staging, schedule and traffic impacts. However, in discussions with the local community and with local community organizations it was clear that there was a strong preference for a stop at Leslie Street and for a station at Laird."

Asked if there were other reasons, perhaps economic, to revert back to the original scheme, Robinson says that "There’s no economic advantage either way," and that the decision was made entirely as the result of the public's expressed preference.

The Eglinton-Crosstown LRT will run from Black Creek to Kennedy station and is expected to be completed by 2020.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Jamie Robinson

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Diamond and Schmitt architects take home three OAA Awards

Diamond and Schmitt--the architecture firm behind such diverse buildings as Toronto's Four Seasons Centre, the New Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Montreal’s La Maison Symphonique and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs--has won three awards from the Ontario Association of Architects.

"They just did a lot of great work this year," says OAA president Bill Birdsell of the firm, which won more OAA Awards than any other this year.

They firm took home design awards for the Centre for Green Cities at the Evergreen Brickworks and the Ryerson Image Centre, and Jack Diamond was recognized for his lifetime's achievement.

"The Evergreen Brickworks is just an amazing re-use," Birdsell says. “It hits all the good things: good design, good business, it’s sustainable, it’s very clear. It’s a legacy building, it celebrates the past. It just hits the things the profession is trying to highlight."

Both Evergreen Brickworks and the Ryerson Image Centre, he says, also have "the ability to invite and engage the public."

The OAA awards are decided by juries made up mostly of community members, though they include architects.

Though there were awards given out to residential projects this year, it may be read as significant to some that, unlike past years, no condominium tower was recognized.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Bill Birdsell

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Tommy Thompson Park gets three new buildings

Three small buildings opened on Leslie Spit last week, giving an air of permanence and purpose to what’s been called an accidental urban wilderness.

According to James Roche, director of parks, design and construction at Waterfront Toronto, the spit was created as a breakwater for the outer harbour, part of a shipping plan for the Port of Toronto that was made obsolete before it was completed by the development of container ships.

Since the 1950s, it has been a dumping ground for building materials, and has grown into a multi-armed agglomeration that over the years has cultivated its own ecosystem.

"A lot of different species of animals live there now," Roche says, "and it’s a very important flyover stop for birds going to South America."

The three buildings -- a staff booth, an environmental shelter and a bird-banding hut -- are an attempt to make official the casual uses it's been put to. The staff booth will serve as a monitored entryway, enforcing the park's hours. The environmental hut will be a sort of interpretive centre, with information about the spit and its species, that also serves as a way to get out of the sun, rain or snow. The bird-banding hut will centralize the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s efforts in that area, just in time for the Tommy Thompson Spring Bird Festival on Saturday.

Work started on the project in the fall of 2010, and Roche says the entire project, including a spiffing up of several kilometres of walking and bike paths, cost $8 million.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: James Roche

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Tridel wins Home Builder of the Year

Tridel has won the Home Builder of the Year award for the second time.

The award, handed out by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), is the result of professional adjudication as well as a survey BILD conducts among homebuyers.

"Home Builder of the Year is an all-encompassing award," says BILD’s vice president of membership, Helen Batista. "It includes charitable work, the professional development of staff, and it very much takes into account the opinion of their actual clients, the people who buy and live in their homes."

Batista also cites the developer, which sold 1,109 condos in 2012, for its green building practices, its youth program, known as BOLT, particularly as conducted through Northview Heights Secondary School.

Tridel won the award once before, in 2004, when there were separate awards for high-rise and low-rise builders. This year's prize covers all homebuilders.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Helen Batista

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Developer and builder named for 20-year Lawrence Heights overhaul

One of the most significant development projects in the city was announced on Monday when it was revealed that developer Context and builder Metropia will be working with Toronto Community Housing to overhaul Lawrence Heights.

The 100-acre neighbourhood, completed in 1962, is a suburban version of Regent Park tucked just south of Yorkdale Mall, and all three partners have expressed the intention of making the revitalization at least as successful as the much-lauded downtown Regent Park project.

"At this point in my career, it’s very important to do something that has social significance," says 30-year veteran and Metropia president Howard Sokolowski.

The entire project is expected to take 20 years, encompassing more than 1,000 low-cost units and more than 4,000 market-price units. Context and Metropia have been given the contract for the first phase, 25 acres on which they will build 225 rental homes and 950 condos and townhouses. Construction will begin next spring.

Sokolowski emphasizes the importance of community consultation as the project moves forward, sensitive perhaps to the initial opposition from residents.

"We’re not about to do anything until people know exactly what’s happening and have input into acceptable architecture, acceptable street furniture," he says. "That’s number one."

The plan has been a long time coming. It was first announced in 2007 by then city councilor Howard Moscoe.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Howard Sokolowski

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Artscape nears completion of $16-million school renovation

Artscape has a novel way of getting artists into studio spaces.

With its latest project, Young Place, 80 per cent of the 75,000 square feet of disused schoolhouse will be rented, and 20 per cent of it will be sold according to a scheme based on the Options for Homes model.

"The spaces were valued at $430 a square foot by an appraiser, and we provide prospective owners with a 25 per cent down payment interest- and payment-free," says Tim Jones, Artscape’s president and CEO. But unlike Options for Homes, Artscape retains that 25 per cent ownership, so when the original buyer sells, the next buyer will get the same deal.

When it opens in September, Young Place, located at 180 Shaw Street between Dundas and Queen, will be Artscape’s biggest, though at $16 million to renovate that old Givens Shaw Public School, it is only roughly half as expensive as the Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park.

Young Place, named for funder the Michael Young Family Foundation, will open on the old school’s centenary. Getting such an old building into shape to be a modern arts space has been difficult.

"It really is an overhaul of the building," Jones says, "bringing it up to building code, with all its mechanical, electrical and structural issues. It’s an old school, and there’s a reason the school board has such a challenge with all this aging infrastructure."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tim Jones

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.


New French school officially opens in the Junction Triangle

The École élémentaire Charles-Sauriol officially opened last week, the latest in the expanding French-language shool board.

The school will be the 14th elementary school in Toronto for the Conseil scolaire Viamonde, which also operates four secondary schools in the city.

"The school board started working on this project a little more than three years ago," says Claire Francoeur, the board’s director of communications. Francoeur says that the École Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau is operating at capacity, which is what necessitated Viamonde’s purchase of the disused Catholic school formerly known as St. Josaphat at 55 Pelham Avenue in the Junction Triangle.

The school was shared this year with students from St. John the Evangelist school, some of whom learned in portables outside, until places could be found for them. There were 175 French students at Charles-Sauriol this year, and Francoeur expects that number to rise to 200 in September, and to get up to 400 within four years.

After some general clean-up before opening last September, the school is now beginning some renovations for a daycare space, to be completed before the beginning of the next school year.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Claire Francoeur

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or being renovated, a park in the works or even a new house being built in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to bert@yongestreetmedia.ca.

730 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts